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I object to the term “volunteer program.”

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...

Are you proud of your board? Do the people around the table inspire you?  When recruiting, do you ask yourself: will this person bring greater pride and inspiration to the board?

Too many of us begin board recruitment with lofty goals and end up accepting “warm bodies.” We know these people are not a perfect fit. They are only “qualified” because they have the time and some interest.

Let’s stop this practice and start working with only the best. Period.

Your board composition is greater than the sum of its parts. One person has the potential to change the entire culture. When high performing...

Did you know… the first instant cake mix Betty Crocker developed did not sell very well? Initial product surveys indicated customers felt “just adding water” was too easy, and therefore the cake must not be worth eating. So Betty Crocker went back to the drawing board and added one more step – an egg. After 59 years I think it’s obvious how successful this change made Betty Crocker.

What does Betty Crocker cake mix have to do with your organization’s volunteer roles? Well – is it possible volunteers want a different experience than the one you’re offering?

One of the most common sentiments I...

The relationship between board chair and executive director is critical. Many of us know this, and yet it’s not always easy to figure out what to actively do as a result. 

I recently interviewed the board chairs of two different organizations; both alumni of our Governance Lab. From them, I learned there is a simple first step to building the relationship between an executive director and board chair. And that is – a commitment to make time and space to be together. Both board chairs felt their relationships with their executive directors had improved after spending regular time together...

In my last post I spoke about why delegation is important to develop others around you. 

Yet not all types of delegation develop leaders. To do this, you have to delegate projects and tasks that tap into people’s strengths AND into their intrinsic motivations.  

Fans of Daniel Pink’s bestselling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, know that money alone doesn’t motivate us. In fact, we are motivated by work that is purposeful (contributes to something greater than ourselves), provides autonomy (ability to choose how, when and with whom we get to work) and brings mastery...

“Martha has an infectious energy and is a joy to be around. She has an amazing ability to draw the best out of people, and challenge their thinking in a creative way.”

Martha Sales is an Executive Coach who first brought her time and talent to Vantage Point’s Executive Lab in 2012, providing coaching and development to the team of seasoned executive director mentors. Coming to us via referral from another knowledge philanthropist, Martha joined Vantage Point because it offered her the opportunity to connect her values of volunteering, community building and leadership development.

Since then...

Looking for a shared learning opportunity for their Executive Director and Board Members, Douglas College Foundation joined Leaders Lab Fraser Valley in 2011. With a primary goal to build common understanding and language around executive and board roles and responsibilities, one of the biggest “ah-ha” moments for Hazel Postma, the Foundation’s Executive Director, was learning not to assume board members have an in depth understanding of roles, responsibilities or Douglas College itself. She is now more aware of ensuring board members’ knowledge of good governance is continuously developed...


“There are no short-cuts to anyplace worth going”
          - Beverly Sills

Imagine you were gifted a map that charted your organization’s past, present and future growth – with the present as a big green dot on the map indicating: “you are here”. 

The Nonprofit Lifecycles approach created by Susan Kenny Stevens is a framework that provides just that. A lifecycle is a series of developmental stages – organizations live through stages, just as humans do.  In each stage there are common and predictable strengths and growing pains that are part of normal development. 

A child puts weekly allowance money in a...

Sitting in a coffee shop on a rainy June afternoon, I am sharing Vantage Point’s people engagement philosophy with someone who has never heard of us before. We are discussing why Vantage Point chooses to engage highly-skilled volunteers in its organizational model. It may seem like a simple question, but it’s really a big WHY.

Oh I get it” says my guest, “by engaging talented people you don’t require as much money to deliver your mission”. I hum and haw. This statement isn’t untrue, but it’s not accurate of WHY we engage talented volunteers.  I try and explain again. She thinks she...

January is almost over and my 2014 goals are written (that’s the first stage of success right?). I have to be honest - I have a love/hate relationship with goals. I like that goals provide me with clarity and focus. When I achieve them I feel great. Yet most of the time they hang over my head all year, feeling like a to-do list.

This year I found a new tactic. After my first draft of SMART goals I wasn’t feeling like I had hit the mark. Until I was encouraged to picture how things would be different after I achieve my goals.

Great goals have the potential to energize and inspire. Thinking...



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