Alliance Chorale du Québec: from a century to another, how to make your nonprofit timeless and relevant

Published May 16, 2017
Charles Decroix is the CEO of Alliance Chorale du Québec, a nonprofit founded in 1975 to promote the practice of choral singing in Quebec.

Alliance Chorale is first and foremost about the community. Initiated by young choir masters in the 70’s - a period very conducive to the launch of cultural organizations, the nonprofit addresses their need to share the passion of singing as well as unifying choirs across the province.

From a century to another - serving your community with a relevant mission

Alliance Chorale and is the hub of francophone choirs in Canada. In addition to supporting the practice of choral singing, it provides numerous services to its members, manages a catalogue of over 500 musical scores - the largest repertoire of francophone folkloric Canadian and Quebecois songs - and offers awards and bursaries. Therefore, Alliance Chorale is maintaining a unique legacy and creates relationships between generations to make sure it’s sustained.

“But the transition was not easy”, explains Charles, whom joined the nonprofit in March 2015. At the time, the nonprofit was facing a significant challenge that many others in the past had experienced: the founding generation left without transferring the legacy to the new one. Furthermore, it seemed that members were not so sure anymore about the “raison d’être” of their organism. Charles, drawing from his experience in the cultural sector, initiated then a process to freshen up the nonprofit. His team returned to what catalyzed the foundation of the nonprofit and its mission in the first place.That process helped them redefine the nonprofit’s branding: they launched a new logo, rethought the visual identity and improved the website. Then, they tackled content: the mission and services are finally updated, an ambitious strategic plan is created and new partnerships and projects are launched.

The right tools to scale

Once the strategy is taken care of, it’s time to materialize it through actions. Charles and his team gave themselves one objective: reinforce relationships with their members and reposition Alliance Chorale as the community’s hub. To reach their goal, the team leveraged social media, started a newsletter and launched a promotional campaign highlighting the value of choral singing. To build more personal relationships with members, despite the geographical constraint of the province, collaboration happened through emails, online surveys and by telephone; particularly in the decision making process of strategic decisions.Charles learned about memboGo when looking for a management software with online membership payments.The all-in-one solution (Newsletters, Donations, Accounting …) made it particularly attractive for him.The team now leverages the tool to centralize daily tasks management and therefore gets more time to focus on the nonprofit’s objectives and growth. Alliance Chorale also worked on improving their membership’s offer: new services were implemented and in consequence, the nonprofit’s revenues stabilized and diversified, allowing Charles to sustain his impact and the foundation to launch a funding campaign. Alliance Chorale is now booming.

Successfully managing a nonprofit despite constraints

The investments paid off: the legacy is preserved, the new initiatives show results and Charles is thinking of broadening the mission to francophone and francophile communities across the american continent. “Constantly reinventing oneself is key, and this is regardless of the scarcity of resources’’, shares Charles. In fact, the team is only composed of two to three employees, but it does not stop the nonprofit. Passion, excellence, and the will to empower choral singing transformed Charles and his team into jacks of all trades who leverage all opportunities - including technological ones - in order to achieve their goals. “The nonprofit sector can be tough, since often precarious, but it is nonetheless the source of numerous initiatives. This community embodies the endless energy of civil society and its search for progress!”


Charles' pro tip

‘’Stay curious and alway try to stretch the value of each dollar to maximize your capacities and your nonprofit’s range of action!’’ 


Alliance Chorale du Québec highlights the value of choral singing through promotional campaigns.
Picture: courtesy of Alliance Chorale du Québec.

Thank you to Charles for sharing his experience for this article!

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