Get Adobe Flash player

Strategic Plan


The Compassionate Friends of Canada

National Board

Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018

  1. Introduction
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Vision Statement
  4. Mission Statement
  5. Guiding Principles
  6. Strategic Direction
  7. Goals and Objectives
  8. Strategic Action Plan


The Compassionate Friends of Canada National Board (TCF National Board) values the strategic planning process and wants to be intentional in the inclusion of chapters to shape the content of the plan. Through a well thought out planning model, the National Board was able to gather information from all chapters who will be the main beneficiaries of the outcomes of the plan.

Executive Summary

The Compassionate Friends is an international, non-profit, non-denominational, self-help organization, offering friendship, understanding, grief education and hope for the future to all families who have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any cause.

The first chapter in Canada was established in Winnipeg, MB, January, 1977. There are approximately 50 Canadian chapters from Victoria, BC to St. John’s NL, including the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.  These chapters fall under the umbrella of TCF National Board.

TCF National Board is committed and passionate about providing leadership and support to the chapters through a variety of services.  These services include pamphlets, Chapter development, Chapter support, and as the board continues to grow and develop there are plans to expand the organization in areas of programs and services available to bereaved parents.

The Compassionate Friends Credo

We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends.
We reach out to each other with love, with understanding, and with hope.
Our children have died at all ages and from many different causes,
but our love for our children unites us. Your pain becomes my pain just as your hope becomes my hope.

We come together from all walks of life, from many different circumstances.
We are a unique family because we represent many races and creeds.
We are young, and we are old. Some of us are far along in our grief,
but others still feel a grief so fresh and so intensely painful that we feel helpless and see no hope.

Some of us have found our faith to be a source of strength; some of us are struggling to find answers. Some of us are angry, filled with guilt, or in deep depression; others radiate an inner peace. But whatever pain we bring to this gathering of The Compassionate Friends, it is pain we will share, just as we share with each other our love for our children.

We are all seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves,
but we are committed to building that future together,
as we reach out to each other in love and share the pain as well as the joy,
share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts,
and help each other to grieve as well as to grow.

We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends!

Mission Statement

The Compassionate Friends of Canada exists to aid in the positive reconciliation of grief and foster the physical and emotional health of parents and their surviving children.

Vision Statement

“Transforming the pain of grief into the elixir of hope.”  

     ~ Rev. Simon Stephens, Founder

Guiding Principles

  1. TCF offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents.
  2. TCF believes that bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents can help each other toward a positive resolution of grief.
  3. TCF reaches out across society’s barriers to all bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
  4. TCF understands that every member has individual needs and rights.
  5. TCF reaches out to the bereaved primarily through our community of local chapters and secondarily by website, social media, and conferences.
  6. TCF Chapters belong to their members.
  7. TCF is coordinated nationally in its support to its chapters, bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Strategic Direction

This plan will take the National Board on a journey that will focus the organization and strengthen the support to bereaved parents through improving the communication and support to Chapters, raising the profile of The Compassionate Friends of Canada, and building capacity in all areas of operation and administration through the increase of directors to the Board.

This direction will fall under the following three pillars of strategy:

Community and Chapter Strategy

TCF National is committed to developing and enhancing its chapters and community focus through the investment of time and effort to build awareness, programs and services.  This strategy anticipates, identifies, responds to, and satisfies the needs and expectations of chapters and their communities.  TCF National is committed to understand those needs and responds through the quality of programs and services offered.  TCF National is intentional in providing excellent services that assist chapters in meeting their individual goals.  To ensure the TCF National remains relevant and valued by chapters and within the community, TCF National must be aware of and respond to evolving and changing chapter and community needs. This strategy requires collaboration amongst chapters, helping professions, directors, and volunteers who must work closely with other stakeholders to meet the TCF National’s vision and mission. The success of this strategy will be seen when chapter and community expectations are met or exceeded, and when communities’ needs are met and gaps are reduced.  In order to deliver excellent services, TCF National must be aware of the needs of chapters and communities, and respond to them in innovative, compassionate, and respectful ways.

People Strategy

TCF National vision statement centers on the concept of helping bereaved parents who find us. While the community and chapter strategy specifically focuses on a collaborative approach to identify and address the needs of chapters and their communities, the people strategy focuses on those people who are responsible for meeting the TCF National vision and mission – directors, chapters, and volunteers. An effective people strategy seeks to balance meeting the vision and mission of TCF National with supporting directors, chapters, and volunteers responsible for contributing to the vision and mission.

Financial Sustainability Strategy

To support the vision and mission, TCF National requires consistently good financial support over long periods of time. Positive income enables TCF National to invest in programs, services, chapter development, and the sustainability of the National Office. Appropriate and ongoing fund development, sponsorship, and grant contributions will help ensure that TCF National has sufficient capacity to support its vision and mission.

Goals and Objectives

In order to pursue the strategic direction, TCF National Board will fulfill the following goals and objectives:

Community and Chapter Strategy

Goal:  To provide quality support, programs and services to chapters and communities.


  • Improve the quality of support, programs and services to chapters and communities.
  • Increase the programs and services offered through TCF National.
  • Build supportive communities by promoting awareness of TCF National.
  • Establish a framework that supports the work of chapters.
  • Align the vision and mission across the organization
  • Chapter and community needs are met and chapters are satisfied with support, programs and services provided through TCF National.
  • Strengthen partnerships with chapters and community through establishing a partnership forum to discuss key issues in providing programs and services to bereaved parents.

People Strategy

Goal: Broad depth of capacity in board, chapters and volunteer complement


  • Board members have increased knowledge and confidence in governing the organization
  • All chapters understand their roles in relation to the vision, mission and value statements
  • A leadership development program is created and implemented to strengthen and expand the competence of board members, chapter leaders and volunteers.
  • Clear role descriptions of board executive are developed and understood.
  • Clear framework is established for the current and future operation of the National Office.
  • Succession plan in place for each key position on the board of directors.
  • Volunteers have capacity to participate in selected areas of programs and services.
  • Build a performance oriented culture through clearly communicating the strategic objectives to chapters to ensure focus and alignment of the core activities.
  • Develop a clear communication plan as part of the implementation process.

Financial Sustainability Strategy

Goal: Strengthen resource management


  • Track purchase and disposal of all TCF National owned assets
  • Fund Development plan is designed and implemented
  • Flow of revenue and expenses is consistent with best practices and legislation
  • Financial statements are provided to board members on a monthly basis
  • TCF National is meeting all national legislation that governs not-for-profit organizations in Canada