The Islanders By Choice Alliance (IBCA) was created in 2010 as an attempt to break down perceived walls between those who were born and raised here and those who moved here from other places. Anyone who chooses to live on PEI is an “Islander by choice” so let’s all celebrate living in this fantastic province!
Where did this group come from?
Well, funny enough, the IBCA started because of a discussion on Twitter regarding people who move to PEI from other places and how they are welcomed. Some of us who have lived here our whole lives wanted to change a growing perception that Islanders are not friendly or welcoming to those from “away.” And some of us who had moved here from other places wanted to help too! From that Twitter discussion came a group of people willing to volunteer, and before we knew it, a newly formed Board of Directions was meeting in person.
What is the status of this group?
As of July 2011, we are just steps away from being a fully recognized non-profit organization (we’ve already incorporated). We want to do this by the book and make it all official like (people appreciate that).
Why do you need to be a non-profit organization? Can’t a group of people just hang out?
A group of people are always welcome to hang out, yes. It gets a little more complicated when hundreds of people want to hang out and there needs to be some group organization of an event.
There was never any intention of turning this group into a business (and a few of the Directors have actually sponsored a few things out-of-pocket themselves!), so we’re clearly not a for-profit group.
Registering as a non-profit allows us to have access to certain kinds of start-up funding, and various rates on things like insurance and bank accounts.
But . . . I’m still confused. Why do you need money if people are just wanting to get together and be social?
To date, we’ve hosted several meet and greet socials where we’ve had 20-200+ people attend. We’ve been lucky to have had a couple of sponsors for these past events that allowed us to provide some munchies for people (food always puts people at ease!).
Our members tell us that they are very interested in having a variety of events (not just socials held at restaurants/bars), and to do this, we need insurance. Insurance costs money. Hence, we need to fundraise to purchase said insurance so we can, again, be all legal and by the book like.
Other costs associated with running a non-profit organization include:
- website maintenance
- incorporation (paid for out-of-pocket ourselves)
- costs associated with hosting larger-scale events (venue, food, music, etc.)
- costs associated with having smaller-scale events (food, entertainment, etc.)
We’re not asking for thousands of dollars here (although, that would be mighty nice!)—just enough to get us off-the-ground officially so we can focus on the mandate of the IBCA—connecting all Islanders By Choice and facilitating social interaction.
You seem to be using a lot of ways to communicate. Can you remind me what the best way is to stay in touch?
We sure do like to ensure people get the word about everything it is we’re doing! So, to that end, we have a Facebook Group (with over 500 members to date) and a Twitter handle, but we also have this handy dandy website. We realize not everyone is active online, so we also try to use traditional media whenever we can to publicize our events. And, of course never underestimate word-of-mouth on PEI!
What if I don’t live on PEI?
You know what? You’re still welcome! We have many active members on our Facebook Group who don’t live on PEI. Most hope to move here someday, and some are also summer residents. Anyone and everyone who loves PEI is welcome.
So, I was born here and grew up here. Why should I be part of your group?
Many people, regardless of where they were born, realize the importance of being more social. Someone who grew up here has the added benefit of maybe helping those out new to the province. But, really, our group is about forming connections . . . and the fact is, it simply doesn’t matter where you are from: we could all use more friends in our lives.