Imagine a community service organization with no explicit policy manual on customer communications. Yet somehow, whenever the phone rings or someone walks in the front door, whichever staff member is in the office stops what they’re doing to provide immediate assistance, regardless of that person’s role in the organization. How does this happen? How does a particular pattern of behaviour become consistent across a diverse team?
In recognition of National Aboriginal History Month we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our reconciliation journey to date. Vantage Point recently established a Reconciliation Task Force with the goal to guide and support our efforts in reconciliation.
As a primary tool of communicating impact, your annual report tells an important story about your organization: who you are, what you value, how you impact the community, and who contributes to your success. So, it can serve you well to highlight the role of volunteers in your annual report.
Almost a year ago, staff and board at Vantage Point began to critically consider our organization’s Indigenous cultural competency. Our journey began with a (not so simple) question: why, when, and how would we acknowledge that our offices and training space are located on traditional Aboriginal territory? As we endeavoured to make space for this important conversation, we reached out to knowledge-keepers and more informed perspectives to provide guidance and support in the journey. Many talented people in our community responded from both within our own team and outside Vantage Point.
Some years ago I was going through a tough time personally and discovered the practice of gratitude. This involved intentionally writing in a journal what I was grateful for every day, and re-reading it every morning. I listed many things, from the mundane - “it was sunny today” to the emotional - “I am grateful for the love of my family.” I found that this deliberate focus on the positive improved my outlook and I felt happier.
I know that many of us in the not-for-profit sector can struggle with the enormity of the challenges facing us and the issues we are trying to solve. At times, our...
As 2013 winds down, we're reflecting on what an amazing year it has been.
In addition to engaging hundreds of not-for-profit professionals in our learning opportunities and distributing nearly 1,000 copies of The Abundant Not-for-Profit, we also welcomed four new employees – myself included! It’s been an inspiring and exhilarating few months of getting to know each other, planning for 2014, and of course engaging with many of you.
Thank you for being a part of our community. Whether we've connected with you as a knowledge philanthropist, a reader, a participant in a learning opportunity, a...
This week’s question comes from Sarah in Vancouver. She asks, “I’m intrigued by the concept of knowledge philanthropy. However, I feel a little concerned that it’s another way of using people for free labour.”
Thanks for the honest question, Sarah. We acknowledge that there is a real problem in the not-for-profit sector of people being underpaid and undervalued for their contributions. To be very clear, knowledge philanthropy is not about exploiting people in the name of ‘meaning’. Nor do we consider volunteers ‘free labour’.
Two weeks ago, our crew was buzzing about a potential knowledge philanthropist who’d left us a voice message. David is a self-described entrepreneur, innovator, and influencer. Soon after moving to Vancouver he wandered past Vantage Point’s offices, noticed a poster about our new book, went home and downloaded it, read it and called us to see how his skills could further our mission. Wow!
The theme of the upcoming BoardSource Leadership Forum is Bold Leadership: Taking Risks, Thinking Big! It has prompted me to think about the kinds of risk I take as a leader. Specifically, I’ve been...
In our sector many organizations use this term to describe all the voluntary roles that perform day to day operations (i.e. actual programs and services). Recruitment, onboarding, training, engagement, supervision and recognition of people in these roles are managed within the “volunteer program.”
If I asked you to list all the programs and services your organization operates, would “volunteer program” be among them? No. Because volunteers aren’t a program. They are the people who bring your programs, services and mission to life. Just the same as...