A Rising Tide

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I spent time this month at a conference hosted by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Council on Foundations. 1800 attendees! Who says professional development budgets are dead?!

I was struck by the realization that I am a conference lover. Now I know some of you are not, and with reason, but I heart conferences. Not for the crappy food or overly long and useless awards ceremonies, but for the time to sit back and actually think. The opportunity to learn from others.

Sadly, in the not-for-profit sector, I think there is too little of this happening. Think about it - is it common or rare that you sit down with peers of your work (outside your workplace) to share ideas, methods and information? It's certainly rare for me. Actually, it's almost exclusively limited to conferences. Hence my love. But does it need to be that way?

Some, I think, consider too much sharing as something that helps the "competition" for donor dollars, public opinion, etc. But seriously, how many organizations do we "compete" with directly - if at all? And anyway, isn't it about the community and not about us?!

So I'm glad to say that I'm a firm believer in JFK's theory that "a rising tide lifts all boats". Let's all be better and then we'll all be better. Right? And in that vein, Vantage Point is now sharing more intentionally than previously. We've updated our resources pages to include our favourite sector books, blog posts and more. Even better, we've started to use a relatively new online information sharing tool - IdeaEncore. On this site, not-for-profits can share - for free or for sale - any and all materials that might help other organizations save time, save money, plan better and more.

The site isn't just for your published research or pretty templates. It's also for the planning documents you regularly rely on with poor formatting and excellent content. It's also not just for documents related to your core expertise area. Your budgeting process outline will be just as helpful for some of us as your thought piece on microfinance is to others.

So check out Vantage Point's materials on IdeaEncore by searching for our group. And while you're at it - why don't you share some of your materials with the rest of us, too? Let's commit to raising that tide for our sector by helping each other. Don't we like us best anyway?


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Vancouver, BC V6E 2X5


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