Engineers Beyond Borders-Canada (EBB-Canada) was started by Parker Mitchell and George Roter, two engineering graduates from the University of Waterloo in the late 1990s. The non-profit organization partners with communities worldwide to improve their quality of life through the design and implementation of sustainable engineering projects. The organization also trains engineers to be responsible and responsive to the needs of the people in their communities. In line with this, the organization has established chapters in various Canadian Universities. EBB-Canada runs independently though it collaborates with Engineers Beyond Borders International (EBB-International) whose main role is to coordinate and oversee the work of EBB among member groups from different countries around the world. The success of EBB-Canada can be attributed to its adherence to important concepts about the establishment and the running of non-profit organizations.
One of the most important concepts in running a non-profit organization is the establishment of an achievable mission that aims at improving the quality of human life and God’s creation at large. Non-profit organizations face a myriad of challenges ranging from insufficient funding, competition from for-profit organizations, effectiveness and even technical challenges. A clear mission and vision for a non-profit organization should align with social and demographic shifts, policies by international human welfare organizations such as the UN, new philanthropies, as well as the potential to acquire sufficient resources to execute the mission (Herman & Heimovics, 2005). EBB-Canada’s mission is four-pronged: “Engaging Canadians to contribute and connect to Africa, Advocating for improved Canadian policies toward Africa, Supporting rural African capacity, and Helping the engineering profession serve global society.” Worth, (2012) asserts that a non-profit organization, whose mission and vision conforms to the aforementioned factors, draws in good will from the community and attracts adequate funding thereby enabling it implement its set goals.
The acquisition of resources is another key concept that non-profit organizations must consider. Resources are in the form of human resources and monetary resources. It is imperative that a non-profit organization establishes a reliable source of funding if it is to carry out sustainable development projects (Worth, 2012). Adequate funding enables organizations to acquire land or premises to set up operational base/offices, pay the employees, settle bills among other expenses. Most importantly adequate funds enable projects to fund its projects efficiently. Herman and Heimovics (2005) assert that the funding can influence the mission and vision of a non-profit organization and is indeed a major limiting factor as to the achievement of certain goals and strategies. The board of governors of EBB-Canada has established links with several corporate bodies, universities, the Canadian government as well as other non-governmental organizations. The organization through its senior management must organize for fund drives, endowment funds among other strategies to main relevant in improving human life across the world.
Leadership and governance of non-profit organizations affects their success to a great extent. The leadership challenge of non-profit organizations should be anchored on integrity and accountability. The boards of directors must be composed of people of unquestionable integrity and who are untainted by scandals particularly those involving the embezzlement of public funds. Such a leadership attracts the confidence and goodwill from the general public and donors. In addition the leadership must be composed of people with outstanding charisma who are able to negotiate for funding, conduct advocacy and lead teams. I other words, leaders of non-profit organizations ought to exude outstanding leadership skills. The leadership must also be adept in the core mission and vision of the non-profit organization EBB-Canada was for instance started by two engineering graduates Parker Mitchell and George Roter from the University of Waterloo. The organization’s leadership draws fro experienced engineers and has membership’s chapters in various Canadian universities. EBB-Canada’s effective leadership has seen the organization implement developments projects in agriculture, rural infrastructure, water/sanitation as well as educational programmes through public outreach.
Herman, R. D. & Heimovics, D. (2005). Executive Leadership. In R. D. Herman, TheJosseyBass
Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management (2nd Edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Worth, M. J. (2012). Nonprofit management: principles and practice(2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE.