Community-Based Self-Financing

Battleground: Our Own Neighborhood

In partnership with the City of Montreal and the Ministère de la Métropole (Ministry of the Metropolis), we at the Journal de la Rue organization have launched a self-financing project for community groups.

Every charitable organization and community group around has seen the same phenomenon: as needs grow the slice of the pie available to pay for worthwhile efforts is shrinking fast. As cash-strapped governments trim their budgets we who deliver services on the ground often pay the steepest price.

By Raymond Viger     File Community

Going hat-in-hand to politicians is no longer a workable solution. Let’s not blame governments altogether: they’re doing the best they can with reduced resources.

So the question for many smaller  locally-based associations and charities has become this: where can we tum, in order to stay alive?

It’s pretty audacious for a community group to announce not only that it’s succeeded in raising enough funds to keep itself going, but that it’s also going to help other cash­strapped groups to do the same.

Why This Approach?

Not only have governments started to withdraw from funding community-based organizations as well, private and semi-private fundraisers these days are overstretched with more demands on their own shrinking donor pool. The cupboards are bare.

We’re very aware that all community groups aren’t in a position to fundraise for themselves. That’s why we’ve decided to share our expertise, our techniques, and especially, our hard-won knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work developed over 25 long, turbulent years of operation.

True, there is some irony in that we as an unsubsidized community group hasaccepted subsidies to get this self-financing project off the ground. Indeed, our government subsidies cover 50% of the costs of operating this project for 1 year. But we had to accept help to pay for the initial materials and expenses: stationery, printing, travel costs…

Getting Going

We see this as a little snowball on top of a hill that will gain momentum and grow on its own energy. It may take a bit of a push at the top but by the time things are rolling. The helping hand we’ve received from the City of Montreal and the Ministère de la Métropole allows us to extend our reach. Our ambition is to take this on the road and help a number of groups across Quebec, and perhaps elsewhere.

We’re convinced that this approach will work. We can create a new socially conscious way for social work groups, literacy groups, suicide prevention outfits, counseling centres, youth intervention groups and others of like mind to pay their own freight. A fundraising event can also be a way to build community solidarity. It can serve as an impetus to unite community members; to meet people; to get volunteers involved and to get clients and interveners alike to work in harmony towards a common, valuable goal. A fundraising drive can in itself an engine for positive community change.

Pirate Logo

The project takes advantage of the resources of the Bistro le Ste-Cath. Now in its second year of operation, this restaurant/meeting place/ concert venue already attracts Quebec’s best musical and comedie talent. It is available for your group to use as a fundraising venue. True, the Pirate logo is different. But we’re different – and this is certainly a different way to solve a socially-conscious association’s budget woes. The Bistro is a pirate ship, ready to set sail to adventure to appropriating booty for a good cause – in perfectly legal ways, of course.

Join us in our quest to give back by helping those who give back…

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