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When the days are longer and sunnier (I hope they still are when you're reading this), I find myself spending more time looking out the window than at my computer screen.

There — I admit it! And I think many would agree with me. Whether you are counting down to your time off or re-living your vacation memories, the summer can make it difficult to 'focus' on the work in front of you.

I wonder though, are we really not 'focused' when we shift our attention away from our usual work tasks? Do we find comfort in observing daily routines, or derive excitement from occurences that disturb them? And...

Today's guest blogger is John Trotter, an exceptional marketing & communications consultant that we've had the pleasure of working with over the past few months.   Read on for a glimpse of John's  personal experience as a skills-based volunteer.

A few months ago, I found myself temporarily between full-time employment gigs, with an opportunity to consider what I wanted to do with the next phase of my life.  It was time for a few changes, so to speak. Previously, I had enjoyed volunteering as a Big Brother and as a fundraiser for a friend's effort to end homelessness. So, I decided to do some...


 "The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting
for our wits to grow sharper."

- Eden Phillpotts

Spring. A time of plenty. 

"Sure — plenty of rain," I hear the British Columbians in the crowd saying.  True.  And the arrival of spring has meant plenty of other things too. This year at Vantage Point, it has delivered plenty of opportunity. A virtual plethora of possibility. And, most importantly, an abundance of people.

This hasn't come as a surprise to us. We know community members are generous with their time and talent. We teach others there are many people with skills and passions who...

Since hosting the 2010 Olympics, all levels of government have showed renewed interest in volunteerism. Locally and nationally, our elected representatives are convening conversations, seeking recommendations, and considering how to protect and encourage this valuable "natural resource."

We suggest they could begin by asking a fundamentally different question. It would be far more productive to consider "how can we increase the impact of volunteers, not-for-profit organizations, and the sector as a whole?" Not surprisingly, once we begin to consider the right question, the answer appears much...

If you're like me, and enjoy watching charming men with British accents cook, you've probably been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution — a weekly show following one man's relentless drive to change how America feeds its children.Watching Jamie's "revolution", I've been reminded of the struggles that leaders face when trying to make substantial change happen — both inside their organizations and out in the world.  For not-for-profits and their leaders, change is a double-edged sword.  It is our ultimate goal.  And yet we know it rarely happens quickly or easily — and it often makes people...

Apologies for the delay in transmission!   Between the Olympic festivities and some staff transitions, it has been a busy - and exciting - few months around here.   We're restarting the conversation with a first-person account of the Olympic volunteer experience.  Read on, and Olga Pazukha, one of our staff members, will take you behind the scenes of one of the largest and most-watched events in the world.  


**  Excerpted from the April 2010 issue of e-Volunteerism


 

This winter, British Columbia hosted the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  It was a magical, spectacular time.  People from all...

Ok, it's time. It's time to talk about volunteering.

For those of you who know Vantage Point well, you know that we've been students of volunteerism and the voluntary sector for more than 60 years. And in that time, we've dramatically changed the way we look at volunteer engagement.

Specifically, we've changed the way we approach inspiring volunteer engagement. We start with the organizations and not the volunteers. Think of this as supply and demand. If volunteers are the supply, many, including President Obama, seem to think we're lacking. "There aren't enough people volunteering" = "there...

Today's guest blogger, Jennifer Sweeney, is one of the most active and dedicated volunteers I've ever met.  She is a tireless community builder and a value to any organization with which she works. I asked Jennifer to talk about her experience attending our recent Leadership Series Workshop with author and management guru Peter Brinckerhoff. Jennifer shares the key points from Brinckerhoff's materials here. Certainly many great lessons were learned. And a reminder that we all need to start from mission - always - is a good one.

The Mission Statement - Your Most Valuable Resource
By Jennifer...

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...

So I have embarked on what is supposed to be a life-transforming health journey. Namely, a program at a gym where everyone is already totally fit and hot (that always kind of irks me) that requires I work out from 6-7 am SIX DAYS A WEEK! In addition, we get nutrition counseling and sign up to follow a relatively strict regimen of food. All of this for eight weeks.

If you know me, you're saying that I don't need to diet. And you're pretty much right. But I do need to change my eating habits. Ever met the kid that grew up on sugary cereal and no veggies? That's me. And now I'm just the adult...

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