Let’s Make It Official

Why Language Partners BC is becoming a registered organization

Photo by Thomas Park on Unplash

Change is scary! Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

But “If it ain’t broke”...

There’s an English expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The expression means that if something is working, leave it alone. Language Partners BC has been working for the last five years. It has been working well! As an all-volunteer team, with basically no budget, we have been helping people in British Columbia meet and learn languages in over 35 programs. So why would we go to the trouble of registering ourselves as an official organization? After all, change is scary.

Three reasons we are registering as an organization

  1. Shared ownership. I don’t want Language Partners BC to be my pet project, just because I was one of the founders and have been around the whole time. Other people can take the essential idea of language partnership in new and wonderful directions. To do so, they need an independent organization.
  2. Access to grants. Many institutions will only give money to registered organizations. We have survived with very low overhead – basically the costs of email, website, and Zoom – but we could do better work with sustained funding.
  3. Structure and accountability. As a grassroots group, I think that we treat each other with care and offer programs that people genuinely appreciate. But what happens when things go wrong? How do we respond and repair? Yes, organizations can be problematic, but at least they have roles and rules that can be explicitly addressed. The Tyranny of Structureless keeps me up at night.

Hopes going forward

After we complete the progress of registering as an official organization, you may not notice anything new.  We may look exactly the same from the outside, with one-to-one language exchange programs for people to sign up to. Alternatively, we may change a lot, to respond to social needs and to reflect expanded leadership. More than anything, I hope that people in British Columbia find joy and meaning through involvement with Language Partners BC. Change is scary, but I am glad we are doing it.