Looking beyond fundraising

The West Kootenay Women’s Association explores ways to stabilize its finances

The West Kootenay Women’s Association is revising its financial model so it can spend more time delivering benefits to the community. From left to right: Community Threads Project Coordinator Penny Stephenson

(Columbia Basin) – Fundraising is a familiar activity for non-profit organizations, but the West Kootenay Women’s Association is hoping to find a way to spend less time seeking money and more time delivering benefits to the community.

For over 40 years, the association has been serving women throughout the West Kootenay through services like peer counselling and free food and clothing. With over $2,500 in support from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), the association has hired a consultant for a one-day workshop and six months of follow-up support in order to explore alternative sources of revenue and create a more stable long-term financial model.

“Our current model was created when there was provincial funding for women’s centres,” said Tasha Bassingthwaighte, Executive Director, West Kootenay Women’s Association. “Since this funding was cut eight years ago, we’ve been having a hard time filling the gap.”

The goal is to find a new approach that will allow the association to continue to provide supports to women without relying on core funding from government.

“By working toward a more sustainable financial model,” said Bassingthwaighte, “we’ll be able to shift staff time and energy away from our bank account and toward the community.”

“This is a unique approach to addressing an issue that affects so many of our region’s non-profit organizations,” said Rona Park, CBT Community Liaison. “The women’s association is to be commended on this initiative to deepen their understanding of their finances.”

The association runs the Nelson and District Women’s Centre—the oldest rural women’s centre in Canada—which is located in Nelson and serves the whole West Kootenay region. To learn more about the association and the centre, visit www.nelsonwomenscentre.com.

CBT supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about CBT programs and initiatives, visit www.cbt.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

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