One Year In and ABNN is Proving Just How Much a Network can Accomplish

November 15, 2019 4:44 PM | Anonymous

It was little less than a year ago that ABNN officially launched our website – rallying nonprofits to join a network committed to advancing the sector.  It is amazing what can be accomplished in a year!

ABNN now has more than 800 newsletter subscribers, over 500 social media followers, and we’ve engaged with hundreds of nonprofits through our surveys, policy sessions, gatherings and committee work.

“As the 2019 draws to a close, I am inspired by the progress we’ve made in a single year,” says Robyn Blackadar, ABNN Network Steward and President & CEO of PolicyWise for Children & Families. “We’ve been involved in supporting the sector with timely information and opportunities to connect and we’re making great strides towards implementing action on the needs of the sector.”

Four priority sector-wide concerns were identified at our ABNN Gatherings, and ABNN committees and task teams have been hard at work exploring how ABNN and our partners can address these issues:

1. Strengthening Sector Identity and Value.

The Identity and Value Steering Committee is developing foundational documents that will serve as a starting point for how the sector can position itself as a strategic partner with both the public and private sectors. In 2020, the team will be mapping out communication pathways and identifying opportunities to meet with cross-sector groups throughout Alberta.  

2. Creating a Sector-level Data Strategy.

The Data Strategy Steering Committee is examining how the sector can improve how it measures, analyzes and uses data. They spent 2019 conducting stakeholder interviews and will be convening three Task Teams in the new year. 

3. Enhancing Workforce Development in the nonprofit sector.

The Workforce Development Committee focuses on supporting and amplifying the efforts of individuals and groups of organizations to make nonprofit work rewarding, fairly compensated and sustainable, as well as addressing issues that require sector-wide approaches. A Task Team is currently exploring a sector-wide Pension Plan as an opportunity to improve retention and support the nonprofit workforce. They will be seeking specific sector input in the new year.

4. Supporting sector Government Relations.

ABNN is looking at how the network can leverage existing resources, where we should advocate for change and how we can foster stronger relationships with government. In the last year, ABNN has held policy workshops, developed a draft policy agenda and pull together public policy and election resources for our sector. We are currently exploring next steps.

Focus on Representation

One of ABNN’s priorities is to make sure our work is driven by the needs of the sector and that we are representing all parts of the sector. We are being deliberate in seeking out the voices that might not always be represented, including regional organizations, small nonprofits and various sub-sectors. We have work to do to find the best ways to listen and engage, but we know it’s important in accomplishing meaningful sector-wide change.

We always welcome ideas and perspectives. We will be sharing opportunities for further engagement (surveys, focus groups, events) in the coming months, but you can always email us at or engage with us on social media.  

And please, share the ABNN newsletter subscription link with your colleagues in the sector – the more voices the better!

As we close out a very successful year, we want to thank everyone who has followed, engaged with and supported ABNN over the last year. We believe a network approach will help us make meaningful change for the sector and we can’t do our work without you!

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