The Book: What’s It All About?

You are here

Last week more than 100 people cast their vote for their favorite title for our upcoming book (thank you!). You weighed in with such positive feedback and told us you appreciated being asked.

But like the lyrics of the classic Dionne Warwick song Alfie, many of you told us you’re still wondering “what’s it all about when you sort it out?”

The Book is about your organization REALLY recognizing the whole community as your potential workforce. It is about intentionally focusing on your people first (before money, before clients/customers, before stakeholders). Many very knowledgeable and skilled people are eager to lend their talent to your organization’s cause, if you have a culture that welcomes them. We call these talented people knowledge philanthropists. They will joyfully give you their time AND knowledge because they have love and passion for your cause. Like my favorite lyric goes: “I believe in love, Alfie.” That is where it all begins. That IS what it is all about.

So, “how do we sort it out, Alfie?”

The Book outlines five broad areas of focus for your organization, as you begin to welcome the whole community as your workforce. These are the (current) titles of the five “How-To” chapters:

  1. Build a People Culture
  2. Plan for the Future
  3. Educate the Board
  4. Ensure Excellent People Processes
  5. Focus on Leader Competencies

We know these five “buckets” are important in all strong organizations. And, when combined with our unique approach, they can create abundant not-for-profit organizations.

Now we wonder what content you would most like highlighted in each. What would you most want to know about each chapter? What do you see as our unique perspective in each area? Do you think we are missing a broad area essential to building a talent-inclusive organization? Do you have a story to share that would highlight any one of these areas?

Leave a comment or drop us a line at

PS – The Book is almost named, so stay tuned for our next BOOK blog post when we announce the title!

About the Author

No bio available.


Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified) on

We are currently seeking "knowledgable philanthropists" to assist as we transition and restructure our organization to focus more on how best to support our local voluntary sector membership in volunteer management, leadership and governance.  In particular we are interested in offering workshops that offer training in assisting sector organizations to be volunteer ready, providing training to staff and volunteers the benefits of being prepared and welcoming to those who wish to serve.  We are seeking workshop information to train the next generation of Board Members ie. Board and Governance 101 for example.  As a Baby Boomer who has worked in the sector for years I am at a loss when attending AGM's etc. to the protocols and language used at board meetings.  Responsiblities of Board Members, liabilities etc.  We are looking at creating a mentoring program where in local sector organizations are trained and provided with the tools to mentor youth through signed commitments to include them in board meetings, listen to their ideas and mentor them into future board members. 

Through a Job Creation Project we developed a wonderful resource, Your Community Volunteer Toolkit available in hardcopy and online to assist organizations in their efforts to become volunteer ready.  We have had some great feedback, particularly from fledgling Volunteer Coordinators who found the templates very useful in designing their own forms for volunteer management.  Plain Language is the buzz so why not include outline a typical Board Meeting with simple explanations on the meeting process, why's, accountablility as well as Board Liabilities which is of huge concern these days.  Good luck, I will be looking at your website more now that I see all of the information you are providing as well as how aligned we are in our goals to make a difference in our communities.

Colleen Kelly's picture
Colleen Kelly (not verified) on

Thanks for your comments! It is always interesting to look at new ways of working. Especially around board governance, as you know. Hope you'll stay in touch.

Arto Tienaho's picture
Arto Tienaho (not verified) on

Good afternoon,

I certainly am happy to be able to include some thoughts and perhaps some experience towards the things that I find interesting within the 5 buckets of the upcoming book, so here they are:

1. Build a people culture:

Certainly a key to attracting people to a cause or an organization, the reputation of an organization is built on the word of mouth of the employees and the conversations they have both at work and during time off as much as the advertising and promotional activities. I believe the organization should somehow reflect the population served or reached. Suggestions boxes are a relic and a sign of poor internal communications. Open, honest, frank and respectful communication should be built into the culture of an organization and actively maintained . This will help maintain a psychologically healthy workplace as all humans have a need to feel valued in both their work and opinions. Building teamwork and camaraderie will take time and is often the result of planned activities but can also be bolstered through group volunteering efforts like the shoreline cleanup or United way events. Understanding how each individual or department adds value or service towards the whole is also an important way to build a people culture. Take time to celebrate achieve and post them internally, we can all get caught up the hectic pace of a deadline and forget about everything else.

2. Plan for the future:

For an organizations growth and relevance it is important to be able to plan ahead. This doesn't only apply to the need to upgrade on facilities and equipment but also on major decisions that can effect the organizations ability to adapt to change. Change is certain and with technological advances happening daily it is having a profound effect on also changing peoples habits. How we communicate, how we access services, how we shop, how we raise funding, are all changing due to the advances we witness daily. Strategic planning is useful to look out as much as 5 years with the understanding that part of change is being able to evolve on an ongoing basis.

3. Educate the board:

Most boards are a group of people selected for their wisdom and expertise so it is also important that a board has a good cross section of expertise and not just a group of people with very similar backgrounds. Many organizations work in silos so good intention aside, it is difficult to make good decisions if the information being discussed does not reflect what is really going on within the organization. There again it is important to have those lines of communication so everyone can be on the same page especially with major decisions that can effect the direction of an organization. Having opportunities for board members to be able to show up at the office unscheduled and speak to people or clients/ consumers would be an effective means of educating them.

4. Ensure excellent people processes:

Fairness in hiring, good succession planning, posting positions internally, ongoing development planning for interested employees. Good training programs for internal operations such as dealing with people, communications. having purposeful meetings with real objectives and not just meetings for the sake of meeting.

These days there are so many great helpful resources for creating a solid framework for organizations to plan, train and problem solve, just don't forget to include an element of "fun" whenever possible.

5. Focus on leader competencies:

It has become more and more evident that effective leadership qualities start with great Emotional Intelligence. These are the people that can have the biggest effect on the culture of an organization. Common sense is also a great skill and isn't always so common. Good leaders don't need to be experts in everything but should be able to respond to specific needs and situations that can arise by including the right people to gather the most accurate information and then make the decision on how to proceed. From my years in the aerospace industry I have found the most effective leaders were the ones that asked allot of questions and enjoyed taking walks around the work environment to get a first hand impression of what was going on.

Colleen Kelly's picture
Colleen Kelly (not verified) on

Thank you so very much for your ideas! We really appreciate hearing from you, and I have noted a couple items you suggest we have maybe “skimmed” over in the book. I hadn’t used the words, “Emotional Intelligence” and I will absolutely include it now that you have mentioned it. You’re right it is a critical area - along with common sense that is not so common.

And – I spent some time “wandering” around your website and learning about Anxiety BC. Looks like a wonderful service for people. The community is fortunate to have you and your colleagues working in this area!


t: 604 875 9144
f: 604 875 0710
1183 Melville Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2X5


Donate to Vantage Point and transform the leadership competencies of British Columbia not-for-profit executive directors, board members, staff and volunteers

Facebook icon.Twitter icon. Twitter icon. Youtube icon.