Discussions about closing down a program or charity have always been tough, but a new workbook released today by The Muttart Foundation may help organizations better understand the many considerations that go into a decision.
The workbook was written by four students from Carleton University as their capstone project to obtain their Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership degree. Carleton is the only university in the country to offer such a Master’s level program.
It’s Time to Go is a self-guided workbook. Directors and staff of a charity or other nonprofit can use the insights and checklists to ensure they fully understand what is involved in their decision and what to do if they decide to end a program or close the entire agency. The workbook combines learnings from research and lessons from Canadian nonprofit leaders who have faced this type of difficult decision.
The workbook can be freely downloaded here.
In their introduction, Foundation president Malcolm Burrows and executive director Bob Wyatt praised the four students — Uzma Gilani, Praan Misir, Shane Norris and Ellie Sabourin – for the quality of their work.
Burrows and Wyatt wrote:
Closing a charity or nonprofit is not a simple exercise. Financial realities butt up against deeply held values. The “can do” spirit that is at the heart of charities must be balanced with the truth that “doing more with less” is, more often than not, an empty phrase that seeks to hide disaster for clients, staff and communities. If a charity or nonprofit makes the difficult decision to close, it must strive for excellence in that, as it has over the life of its existence. This workbook will help them do just that.
Around the world, leading charitable-sector organizations and researchers have predicted that tens of thousands of charities may decide to close, largely as a result of their inability to survive the results of the pandemic.
“While we hope these predictions are overstated, we fear they may not be,” says the introduction to the workbook.
Carleton University annually invites charities and others to submit projects to be considered as possible capstone projects for the MPNL program. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the students and an important contribution to Canada’s charitable sector,” said Wyatt.