The Mikuska Group  

The Gay Sweater: Language matters

A brilliant campaign has just launched by The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity called The Gay Sweater.

It’s the world’s only 100% gay object. Truly. Watch the video.

It’s cheeky and bit gross, but it makes us think about language and how using the word “gay” to describe objects is hurtful. And that it’s not OK even if “everybody” says it.

Humour + creativity = got my attention. Language matters.

Julie Mikuska



Why nonprofits should join a Chamber of Commerce

One of our clients, Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) has been a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce member for the last four years. Scott Angus, Community Engagement Coordinator, explains why nonprofits should join the chamber:

“As a not-for-profit agency it is crucial to continually streamline your development and marketing initiatives to maximize reach while allowing more resources to be allocated to your cause. However, streamlining does not necessarily mean diminishing or banishing investments to your organization’s development and marketing functions. Rather, it means striving for optimal return from the promotional investments that are a fit for your organization.

At Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) we have invested in a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce membership for four years running now. As a development investment, our Chamber membership is only as valuable as the commitment we allocate to it. Making a membership to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce a part of your overall organizational and marketing strategies is critical to getting optimal return out of the membership.

This membership has provided many opportunities and benefits to RaY that have increased our brand awareness and led to support that directly impacts marginalized youth in our city.

The Chamber will hold 125 events in 2015, and by continually attending as many as possible, RaY has increased our ability to not only engage with a network of over 2,060 organizations but also stay up to date on current issues that affect our organization, the business climate, and professional development opportunities.

You may not get to the ‘finish line’ by attending one event. But by consistently attending and learning about new ways to further use your Chamber membership, that’s when results become evident. Over four years of membership, RaY has been able to engage individuals and organizations to support our organization and collaborate with us. It is a work in progress, but RaY has introduced itself to the business community and will continue to foster those relationships. A significant part of that has been possible by consistently utilizing our Chamber membership.

Each organization’s development and marketing strategy is unique in its own right, depending on organizational values and priorities. But all not-for-profits should consider a membership to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce because by committing to it, access to an entirely new and influential audience is realized.”

In addition to Scott attending events, he also holds a leadership position as co-chair of the Chamber’s South Chapter, and is a Chamber Ambassador, positions which provide even more visibility for him and RaY.

Shouldn’t you be at the Chamber?

Laura Mikuska


Navigating charity rules

You’re passionate about your mission and you’re operating as a registered charitable organization in Canada. In addition to fulfilling your mission (feeding kittens, housing street youth, saving the planet), you issue donation receipts, hold fundraising events, send direct mail appeals, send a call to action to your supporters to take the government to task for policies and laws you feel should be changed – the list goes on.

Do you know what a qualified donee is? Do you know the definition of a gift? Do you understand split-receipting? Can you define “advantage”? How does it affect your receipting? Do you know the definition of “political activity” and how much you can do? Are your by-laws up to date?

The rules around operating a charitable organization are vast and at times complex. But fear not, there are excellent resources available to help you navigate these particular waters:

  • Canada Revenue Agency’s Guidance Fundraising by Registered Charities – this is a must-read by the people in your organization who are fundraising.
  • Canadian Charity Legal Checklist – compiled by Mark Blumberg at An excellent overview of activities with links to more detailed information.
  • Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities and Giving website – detailed information and guidance on any topic you can imagine (including answers to the questions in paragraph #2!).

You’ll also need to consult with your legal counsel in the event of a complicated situation, for example, updating your by-laws, gift agreements and filing your charitable tax return.

It’s your responsibility to be in the know – ignorance is not a defence!

Laura Mikuska


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