Workshop Summary – Understanding the Mental Health and Well-Being Needs of Non-Profit Organizations on PEI

Read full summary Workshop Summary Report – Understanding the Mental Health and Well-Being Needs of Non-Profit Organizations

                                               

Background 

The Community Sector Network of PEI and the PEI Alliance for Mental Well-Being launched a survey in January 2023 with the aim of better understanding the mental heath and well-being needs of non-profit organizations on PEI. 84 respondents representing non-profit organizations answered questions about positive and negative factors, resources, and gaps that need to be addressed.

On May 12, 2023, over 40 people from non-profit organizations gathered at the Carriage House in Charlottetown to discuss the survey results and consider barriers and opportunities for advancing recommendations. This document was created to summarize the workshop.

Key Themes 

Training/Resources 

Subthemes: Training needs of non-profits, shared resources for PEI non-profits 

  • Participants discussed training needs they saw within their organizations and how employees could be best supported in receiving more education and professional development. 
  • Some ideas for specific resources and training, such as peer support workshops and a tool to assist with navigation, were discussed. 
  • Creating resources in a variety of languages was also brought up. 

Sector Collaboration 

Subthemes: Convening as non-profits, leadership oversight 

  • Participants indicated they would like more opportunity to network among other organizations, both professionally and personally. They also discussed what responsibilities the PEI Alliance for Mental Well-Being and the Community Sector Network may have in facilitating collaboration between non-profit organizations. 
  • Participants discussed the need for shared resources between organizations to reduce costs. 
  • The potential for a provincial “home” in government for the sector was discussed, similar to what Imagine Canada has proposed at a federal level. 
  • The concept of “community of practice” was raised by a number of individuals, but not formally defined. 
  • The concept of an annual conference where organizations could convene, share, and learn around important topics like mental health and well-being was proposed.

Supportive Work Environments 

Subthemes: Working conditions, inclusive culture 

  • Participants highlighted the importance of creating supportive environments for their staff, especially by establishing standards for non-profits employees to receive stable, livable wages comparable to other industries and having better access to benefits such as health insurance. 
  • Participants also discussed ways they could improve workplace culture within their organizations. The most frequently discussed method was ensuring employees, particularly front-line workers, have a voice within their organizations. There was also discussion of workplace practices like flexible hours, human resources (HR) support, board policies, and succession planning for leaders. 
  • The fact that the Understanding the Mental Health and Well-Being Needs of Non-Profit Organizations on PEI survey requested that respondents were “representatives” of a non-profit organization was discussed. This led to conversation around the importance of asking employees for their input and concerns around confidentiality in small organizations. A point about ensuring that survey results are connected to change was made. 

Funding and Other Supports 

Subthemes: Funding, core funding, non-cash resources 

  • Many discussions at the workshop focused on the importance of funding support for non-profits. More specifically, participants stressed the importance of having access to core funding in addition to funding for new projects and innovation. Core funding ensures the sustainability of non-profits and allows them to better support staff through job security, stable wages, and health benefits. 
  • Participants also discussed additional ways of engaging the support of funders, including providing access to HR and accounting professionals. 
  • A communications campaign portraying the complexity of non-profit organizations and the challenges they are facing was recommended. 

Research/Innovation 

Subthemes: Data, research, and innovation 

  • Several topics related to best practices for managing data and creating the capacity to conduct research were discussed. This included developing a baseline dataset for PEI and setting a clear standard for reporting and evaluation. 
  • Participants also discussed setting up systems to better share information and data between organizations. Along with finding opportunities to hire staff to conduct research, these systems can help strengthen the capacity of non-profit organizations to conduct their own research and explore options for bringing research into policy and practice.

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