I retired as executive producer at CBC Manitoba in 2013 and joined Bear Clan Patrol in 2014. For most of the past two years I have been on the board as the secretary treasurer and leader of our fund-raising efforts with institutional donors, such as foundations, corporations, family trusts, unions and government agencies.

In two years, revenue from this institutional funders has grown 300 per cent and now comprises about two thirds of our budget. However, almost all of this money comes in the form of one time grants often tied to specific programs. This past year I and others have spent hundreds of hours looking for potential donors, writing grant proposals and providing accountability reports, as well as responding to online donors with letters of appreciation.

We do this because each month Bear Clan Patrol needs to find another $45,000 to keep the lights on, pay its staff and run its programs.

For the last year the board’s priority has been to secure multi-year funding; it would liberate us from the hamster wheel of onetime grants and allow us to better plan for the future. This is crucial. Very many charities that lack long term funding eventually fail.

Achieving this will not be not easy. Multi-year donors set a high bar. They require boards to have a vision in the form of a strategic plan. They want to see a track record of financial accountability and they want to be assured that the charity is managing its staff, volunteers and clients according to the highest standards.

This is the challenge that awaits whomever you elect.

John Drabble