Nonprofit Lifecycles Guides Organizations Through Renewal

By: Scott Stelmaschuk July, 2021

Cultural Areas

Cultural Industries


AR - 2020

This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the nonprofit lifecycle labs, offered by SaskCulture, to go online with all learning sessions and discussions offered virtually. Fortunately, the virtual format didn’t take away from the program’s impact. Many groups took the opportunity to take an honest assessment of their organizations and determine whether their programs, governance, management, business model and administrative systems would serve them well in the upcoming years.

Since 2017, SaskCulture has continued to offer the successful Nonprofit Lifecycles Capacity Building program to cultural organizations in the province. The Lifecycles approach, established by Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens, took shape at SaskCulture with Capacity Lab 1.0, which helped nonprofit organizations identify their current stage of development and plan accordingly for the future.

“Nonprofit Lifecycles training gives non-profits a way to understand where they are and why, without judgment. Perhaps most importantly, it provides the tools for non-profits to move forward on their own unique journeys that have the greatest impact in the communities they serve,” says Dawn Martin,

Certified Lifecycle Capacity Consultant and co-lead of the Lifecycles Lab 1.0. Dennis Garreck, outreach consultant, SaskCulture and certified Lifecycles Capacity Consultant, explains that, “It is a non-threatening way for organizations to do some self-reflection about their organization.”

The virtual format ended up having a positive effect on the program, eliminating the need for travel and increasing participation among attendees. “The virtual Lifecycles Lab provided an opportunity for more than 70 Lab participants, representing 15 cultural organizations, to participate from their homes or offices,” says Garreck. “We were able to offer seven learning sessions over about six months and without the travel cost and time if the program was in person, we had really strong participation throughout the program.”

SaskCulture has worked to build a Saskatchewan Lifecycle Ecosystem made up of volunteers and staff of non-profit cultural organizations, consultants and funders all linked to the Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute. More than 300 people have attended workshops and over 400 Nonprofit Lifecycles books by Dr. Stevens, have been distributed. Training has been offered to build a pool of consultants in Saskatchewan with an understanding of the Lifecycle approach.

Additionally, in early 2021, three Saskatchewan consultants completed a 14-month certification program through the Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute to become Certified Lifecycle Capacity Consultants (CLCC). Dawn Martin, Rose Gilks and Dennis Garreck are now part of group of about 25 CLCCs in North America.

SaskCulture’s commitment to providing this type of programming to its membership supports the building of strong cultural organizations across Saskatchewan that have the ability to provide impactful cultural programs, services and experiences.