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Have quality content that relates to the Volunteer Engagement field? Submit to pavro@pavro.on.ca. 

  • February 05, 2024 8:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introduction

    Ontario’s nonprofits are the critical frontline of community support, and communities need more support than ever. Integral to the success of the entire nonprofit sector are leaders of volunteers, individuals tasked with ensuring that citizens who wish to volunteer connect the organizations who need them. The Provincial Association of Volunteer Leaders-Ontario (PAVRO) promotes the profession of Volunteer Administration by advocating for understanding of its value to civic engagement, its requirements for success, and appropriate recognition (including compensation) for the individual professional.

    For over 25 years, PAVRO members have been on the frontlines of the nonprofit sector, using their unique skill set to bring together the expertise of millions of volunteers and employee building strong social capital to develop and deliver innovative solutions for the public good. Leaders of volunteers are leaving the profession, driven by a lack of sustainable funding that is impacting the retention and recruitment of staff across the sector. Our ability and capacity to serve communities is tied to our resources (both finances and people). If one or both are not healthy, we cannot support communities. The nonprofit sector is at a tipping point, and it is time to invest in Ontario’s social infrastructure with investments that reflect the actual cost of service delivery that includes appropriate wages and benefits for current and future sector employees.

    Summary

    Ontario’s voluntary sector is:

    • An economic driver, contributing to 8% of the provincial GDP.
    • Provides over 50% of the human resources for the nonprofit sector or the work contribution equivalent to 2.6% of the provincial GDP.
    • A relied upon system for essential program delivery, meeting the needs of community, and providing millions of dollars in labour alleviation for frontline services.
    •  An access point to increased opportunity and skills for youth, newcomers, jobseekers, and other vulnerable positions.

    The PAVRO is:

    • An established association of volunteer engagement professionals with decades of experience and presence across the province.
    •  A ready ally to the government on the ground, supporting leaders of volunteers and their nonprofit organizations who steward millions of volunteers annually·
    •  Subject matter experts with ability to consult, deliver, and drive impact that achieves the province’s goals.
    • Ready for government investments to directly strengthen leaders of volunteers, the communities they serve, and address pandemic-drive disruption to the voluntary sector.

    In advance of the 2024 Provincial budget, the PAVRO would like to support the Ontario Nonprofit Network’spre-budget submissions and expand on their recommendations to reinforce the role of volunteerism in our Province.  We urge you to:

    1.    Fund a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism led by Volunteer Canada
    2.    Address the nonprofit human resource crisis.
    3.    Future-proof Ontarians’ social infrastructure with investments that reflect the true costs of service delivery.
    4.  Enable a whole-of-government approach for Ontario’s 58,000 nonprofits and charities by creating a “home in government” for the sector including a secretariate for volunteerism.

    Context

    Pre-pandemic, leaders of volunteers engaged with and empowered Ontario citizens to volunteer with the nonprofit sector, supplying just over 50% of the sector’s human resources. Recent numbers out of the Ontario Nonprofit Network report that a quarter of nonprofits in Ontario have multiple concerns related to volunteer engagement, including safety, and just over a third report concerns with loss of volunteers and recruitment new volunteers. Many nonprofits are expressing the need for volunteerism modernization where a strategy would reflect the way people of all ages and communities connect to causes and volunteerism.

    Non-profit across Ontario face a loss of volunteer program infrastructure due to mass layoffs of volunteer engagement professionals. PAVRO membership is down 36% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Organizations continue to experience challenges in recruiting volunteers while at the same time experiencing hiring challenges to bring qualified volunteer engagement professional back into their programs.

    In 2024, more than at any other time in the recent past, investment in the nonprofit sector and in volunteerism in particular is paramount.

    Detailed Recommendations

    1.    Fund a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism led by Volunteer Centres

    Pandemic-related restrictions have severely disrupted the system of volunteer engagement, leaving many volunteers hesitant to return to their roles, and, as a result, nonprofits representing both urban and rural areas are reporting volunteer shortages. This means programs are shutting down/scaling back programs delivered by volunteers, despite increased needs or readiness to ramp up programming.

    To address this disruption, PAVRO recommends investment in a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism which should include: 1). Delivering capacity building for nonprofits and new volunteer leaders aligned with the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement and the Ontario Human Right Code in partnership with the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN), and 2). Intensifying public engagement to ensure older adults, employee-groups, newcomers, and other key demographics have increased access points to re-engage in volunteer services with less barriers.

     We call on the Government of Ontario to:

    • Rehabilitate the systems of volunteerism through a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism delivering capacity building for nonprofits and leaders of volunteers in alignment with the Canadian Code of Volunteer Involvement and the Ontario Human Rights code in partnership with PAVRO and the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN).
    • Build on the recent removal of fees for Criminal Records Check and Judicial Matters Check by removing fees for vulnerable sector police records checks to expedite volunteer deployment.
    2.    Address the nonprofit human resource crisis

    We cannot keep doing more with less. Future forecasting reveals the collapse of the sector is looming. As a sector, nonprofits receive less than half of their revenue from government, which we leverage with private grants and donations, the sale of goods and services, and volunteer efforts to create additional value for the communities we serve.

    We call on the Government of Ontario to:

    • Allocate funds to support the development of a sector-wide labour force strategy and workforce development plan. The strategy would include promoting careers in nonprofits and creating opportunities for workers to attain in-demand skills, like volunteer management.
    • Provide core-funding for nonprofit organizations to support the re-engagement of dedicated volunteer leaders who were dismissed during the pandemic.
    3.  Future-proof Ontarians’ social infrastructure with investments that reflect the true costs of service delivery

    The nonprofit sector contributes $65 billion to our province’s GDP, employing 844,000 people.  With $1.00 of investment, nonprofits generate up to $2.18 in GDP impact, $1.76 in employment income impact, and create 1.5 jobs with every million dollars in output. And it does all this with unstable, and inadequate funding, often obtained in competitive ‘contests’ with funders.

    We call on the Government of Ontario to:

    • Transition to stable, adequate, long-term, and flexible operational funding for nonprofits that reflects the true cost of delivering services and programs, keeps paces with inflation, responds to emerging needs, is on par with the public sector delivering similar services, and reduces administrative burden. This is particularly important for transfer payment agreements involving nonprofits serving equity-deserving groups, including Black and other racialized communities; First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and urban Indigenous communities and organizations; and person with disabilities, women, 2SLGBTQIA+ people, youth, newcomers, and low-income individuals and households. 
    4.  Enable a whole-of-government approach for Ontario’s 58,000 nonprofits and charities by creating a “home in government” for the sector including a Secretariate for Volunteerism

    Mandates for volunteerism are held by multiple ministries, including Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Ontario Health, Emergency Management Ontario, Seniors and Accessibility, Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, and Children, Community and Social Services.

    Even as government after government relies on the sector to deliver critical services, no entity exists to ensure the health of charities and nonprofits as a sector, and many measures in the last few years initially did not include the nonprofit sector or consider their unique characteristics and revenue models. A host of other issues, ranging from inefficient and ineffective funding practices to a lack of access to support for social enterprise activities, also continue to impact the sector in chronic ways, with no end in sight. While individual mandates have enabled targeted voluntary sector programming, the siloed approach to volunteerism means the sector is underappreciated for the potential it has to impact all Ontarians and nonprofit groups serving diverse community needs.

    We call on the Government of Ontario to:

    • Create a home in government for nonprofits, and more specifically, a secretariate for volunteerism that will leverage the potential for engaging, recognizing, and mobilizing volunteers for cross- ministerial functions.

    Conclusion

    The nonprofit sector, and specifically, volunteer engagement professionals, are vital partners for the province during these turbulent times. It is essential and urgent that the government made the investments needed to shore up our vibrant nonprofit sector so every Ontario can access the critical programs and services they need now, and in the future. The nonprofit sector and the voluntary sector stand ready to partner with the province as we move towards progress. We look forward to building Ontario’s future together.

    About PAVRO

    The Provincial Association of Volunteer Leaders-Ontario (PAVRO) is an association of leaders of volunteers – paid and unpaid – which builds individual, organizational, and community capacity to effectively engage volunteers through the professional management of volunteer resources. Guided by the core competencies of volunteer engagement, PAVRO empowers our members to employ the best practices in the management of volunteer resources. We promote the profession of Volunteer Administration by advocating for understanding of its value to civic engagement, its requirements for success, and appropriate recognition (including compensation) for the individual professional.

    For more information:
    Heather Johnson, President
    Tel: 416-258-5495 Email: president@pavro.on.ca

  • February 14, 2023 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introduction 

    Ontario’s nonprofit sector is a significant job creator, a strong enabler of volunteer engagement, and a critical program and service delivery partner to the government. Employing over 844,000 workers1in Ontario and contributing $65 billion to the economy2, Ontario’s nonprofit sector has never been more critical for Ontarians. Integral to the success of the entire nonprofit sector are leaders of volunteers, individuals tasked with ensuring that citizens who wish to volunteer are connected with the organizations who need them. The Provincial Association of Volunteer Leaders-Ontario (PAVRO) promotes the profession of Volunteer Administration by advocating for understanding of its value to civic engagement, its requirements for success, and appropriate recognition (including compensation) for the individual professional.

    The very purpose of our sector is to confront immense challenges, but our strength, capacity, and capability to do so are not drawn solely from within. The support of others, especially government, is so paramount. We have worked hard to deliver on basic needs and maintain a quality of life during the greatest health and economic crisis in generations. There is, however, pandemic fatigue. Volunteer motivations are changing. The sector is dealing with the biggest loss of volunteer management expertise in living memory. Recovery is occurring, but it has not followed a linear trajectory, and our sector continues to struggle.

    Summary 

    Ontario’s voluntary sector is: 

    • An economic driver, contributing to 8% of the provincial GDP.

    • Provides over 50% of the human resources for the nonprofit sector or the work contribution equivalent to 2.6% of the provincial GDP.

    • As relied upon system for essential program delivery, meeting the needs of community, and providing millions of dollars in labour alleviation for frontline services.

    • An access point to increased opportunity and skills for youth, newcomers, jobseekers, and other vulnerable positions.

    The PAVRO is: 

    • An established association of volunteer engagement professionals with decades of experience and presence across the province.

    • A ready ally to the government on the ground, supporting leaders of volunteers and their nonprofit organizations who steward millions of volunteers annually.

    • Subject matter experts with ability to consult, deliver, and drive impact that achieves the province’s goals.

    • Ready for government investments to directly strengthen leaders of volunteers, the communities they serve, and address pandemic-drive disruption to the voluntary sector.

    In advance of the 2023 Provincial budget, the PAVRO would like to support the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network’s and the Ontario Nonprofit Network’s pre-budget submissions and expand on their recommendations to reinforce the role of volunteerism in our Province. We urge you to: 

    1. Establish a minimum core funding threshold that invests in quality services and decent work.

    2. Enable a whole-of-government approach for Ontario’s 58,000 nonprofits and charities by creating a “home in government” for the sector including a secretariate for volunteerism.

    3. Develop and deliver a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism.

    Context 

    Pre-pandemic, leaders of volunteers engaged with and empowered Ontario citizens to volunteer with the nonprofit sector, supplying just over 50% of the sector’s human resources. Recent numbers from Statistics Canada and Volunteer Canada report that 65% of community benefit organizations are having difficulty recruiting volunteers, 50% report challenges with volunteer retention, and 42% are reporting that volunteers are not able to commit to long term volunteer roles.

    Pandemic-related restrictions severely disrupted the system of volunteer engagement. One in two leaders of volunteers were let go or redeployed from nonprofits, and hundreds of thousands of volunteers were dismissed from their roles in 2020. PAVRO membership dropped by over 50% in 2020/21 and today, membership is down 36% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Organizations continue to experience challenges in recruiting volunteers while at the same time experiencing hiring challenges to bring qualified volunteer engagement professional back into their programs. 

    In 2023, more than at any other time in the recent past, a need for a strategy to support volunteerism is paramount. 

    Detailed Recommendations 

    1. Establish a minimum core funding threshold that invests in quality services and decent work

    Essential charitable and nonprofit sector organizations have the same needs as organizations in the public and private sphere. They must focus on organizational health, resilience, and preparedness. To do this, they must invest in staffing, governance, financial management, communications, revenue generation, training, technology and overhead. Many of these basic activities are ineligible to be covered by current government projects funds or the percentage allotted falls far short of comparable budgets in the private and public sectors. 

    For many volunteer-led organizations, the pandemic was the straw that broke their funding model. The pandemic restrictions increased their operational costs, strangled their fundraising, and, in many cases, reduced their staff and volunteers. Many carved into their long-term sustainability to meet the increased need for services. Even with the wage subsidy, many volunteer-led organizations had to let go of staff. The pandemic restrictions shut down many volunteer programs, so the groups could not afford to keep their “volunteer managers”. In Toronto, half of volunteer managers were laid off, redeployed, or had their positions eliminated. This cascaded down to fewer volunteers being recruited. Now organizations are scrambling to fill these manager positions with limited success.

    The sector workforce is diverse, made up of 77% women, 47% immigrants, and 35% Indigenous and racialized people3. These groups are often the most negatively impacted by the working conditions created by project-based funding which include but are not limited to lower wages, lack of benefits, little or no professional development opportunities, and precarious, short-term contract work. 

    We call on the Government of Ontario to:

    • Provide core funding for nonprofit organizations to support the re-engagement of dedicated volunteer engagement professionals who were dismissed during the pandemic.

    • Take an equity approach to the provision of core funding to address historical inequities.

    2. Enable a whole-of-government approach for Ontario’s 58,000 nonprofits and charities by creating a “home in government” for the sector including a secretariate for volunteerism 

    Ontario nonprofits deal with more than 16 ministries for policy planning, program delivery, regulatory compliance, and transfer payment agreements administration. While nonprofits often have great relationships with their most immediate ministries, more complex and collaborative innovative work requires a minister-level appointment and office to lead, listen, and enable innovation without red tape. Currently, no such mechanism exists, creating a myriad of inefficiencies and lost opportunities.  

    Even as government after government relies on the sector to deliver critical services, no entity exists to ensure the health of charities and nonprofits as a sector, and many measures in the last few years initially failed to include the nonprofit sector or take into account their unique characteristics and revenue models. A host of other issues, ranging from inefficient and ineffective funding practices to a lack of access to support for social enterprise activities, also continue to impact the sector in chronic ways, with no end in sight. While individual mandates have enabled targeted voluntary sector programming, the siloed approach to volunteerism means, as a whole, the sector is underappreciated for the potential it has to impact all Ontarians and nonprofit groups serving diverse community needs.

    We call on the Government of Ontario to: 

    • Create an Associate Minister-level appointment within the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, supported by a Deputy or Assistant Deputy Minister in an Office representing nonprofits, charities, and social innovation. 

    • Create a secretariate for volunteerism that will leverage the potential for engaging, recognizing, and mobilizing volunteers for cross-ministerial functions. 

    3. Develop and deliver a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism 

    The loss of volunteer engagement professionals has severely disrupted the system of volunteer engagement. Whereas volunteers provide a diverse range of skills, contribute their time, and have tremendous impact on the lives of Ontarians, this vast human resource does require coordination, guidance, and oversight. The lack of dedicated volunteer engagement

    professionals to restart and revitalize volunteer programs means that 65% of nonprofits representing both urban and rural areas are reporting volunteer shortages as of late 2022. 

    We call on the Government of Ontario to: 

    • Rehabilitate the systems of volunteerism through a Provincial Action Strategy for Volunteerism delivering capacity building for nonprofits and leaders of volunteers in alignment with the Canadian Code of Volunteer Involvement and the Ontario Human Rights code in partnership with PAVRO and the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN). 

    Conclusion 

    The current context highlights the need for a provincial strategy on volunteerism in Ontario. A home for the sector with a secretariate for volunteerism will provide a focal centre for this strategy. The nonprofit sector and the voluntary sector stand ready to partner with the province as we move towards progress. We look forward to building Ontario’s future together. 

    About PAVRO

    The Provincial Association of Volunteer Leaders-Ontario (PAVRO) is an association of leaders of volunteers – paid and unpaid – which builds individual, organizational, and community capacity to effectively engage volunteers through the professional management of volunteer resources.

    Guided by the core competencies of volunteer engagement, PAVRO empowers our members to employ the best practices in the management of volunteer resources. We promote the profession of Volunteer Administration by advocating for understanding of its value to civic engagement, its requirements for success, and appropriate recognition (including compensation) for the individual professional.

    For more information:

    Heather Johnson, President
    Tel: 416-258-5495 Email: president@pavro.on.ca

     

    1 Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0617-01 Employment in non-profit institutions by sub-sector (x 1,000)
    2Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0616-01 Gross domestic product (GDP) of non-profit institutions by sub-sector (x 1,000,000)
    3Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0650-01 Employment 

  • May 12, 2022 12:35 PM | Anonymous

    In the midst of COVID’s sixth wave, Canada’s nonprofit sector continues to struggle with uncertainty and increased demand on services. While we don’t have exact percentages on how many volunteer engagement (VE) professionals (often referred to as Managers or Coordinators of Volunteers) were laid off, we can only surmise that between the reduction in volunteer engagement and reduction in nonprofit staffing in general, VE professionals were likely hard hit either through layoffs or redeployment. In fact, according to this blog piece by Volunteer Toronto, potentially 1 in 2 employed volunteer managers were dismissed or reassigned. With this reduced capacity to engage volunteers and a burgeoning interest from the public in grassroots and community involvement, established nonprofits may struggle to rebuild the volunteer base necessary to meet service demand as we enter the “new normal” of the endemic phase of COVID-19.

    Beyond the effective management of volunteers and volunteer programs, the lack of dedicated VE staff can impact organizations in a number of ways, some of which may not be apparent to those of us outside the profession. A number of US studies have shown the connection between volunteering and giving and I would expect a similar correlation in Canada. Having a dedicated VE professional on staff enhances the organization’s capacity to translate volunteer engagement into financial contributions. Beyond this purely transactional opportunity, I believe VE staff have an undervalued and oversized contribution to building social capital both within and outside the organization.

    As our article Why Hire a Volunteer Engagement Professional? Top 10 Reasons suggests, one of the benefits of having dedicated VE professionals on staff is that they can help increase organizational cross-functionality. In our capacity of engaging the community to best serve the mission, we are in communication with just about every department and/or program area of the organization, including fundraising, frontline programs, marketing, and communications. VE staff cannot do their jobs without having a strong understanding of both the organization as a whole and the goals and needs of the individual departments within the organization and the people who work in them. We tend to act as informal connectors, enhancing the flow of information through the organization. As this Harvard Business Review article explains ”connectors, who link most people in an informal network with one another….aren’t usually the formal leaders within a unit or department, but they know who can provide critical information or expertise that the entire network draws on to get work done.” At the same time, connectors “…are often invisible to senior managers. Because senior executives rely on gut feel, gossip, or formal reporting structures for their information about their managers and employees, they often misunderstand the links between people, especially in large organizations.” 

    Layer on a crisis like a pandemic and it is easy to see why VE professionals are either first on the chopping block or likely to be redeployed. Many of my colleagues who kept their jobs expressed considerable concern about going back to their VE responsibilities while still juggling the work they were assigned during the height of the pandemic (see The Volunteer Lens of COVID 19: Fall Survey 2020).

    Externally, as Volunteer Canada notes, “volunteer management opens an organization to the community and allows citizens to get involved.” This is not just individual citizens, but includes all types of other organizations, from businesses to schools to clubs and grassroots organizations. As a VE professional, I’ve been on the receiving end of calls from newcomers looking to build their resumes through volunteering, as well as professionals looking to provide pro bono services or serve on a board or committee. Calls about in-kind donations also are typically directed to VE staff, as are calls from businesses offering free services to clients. When you list a Coordinator or Manager of Volunteers on your About Us page, you signal to the broader community that the organization is “open for business” and is as focused on connecting with external constituents as on internal ones. In addition, the rapport built with these valuable external contacts often travels with the VE professionals when they leave the organization.

    There is a considerable opportunity cost on the social capital side of the ledger if we do not fully re-engage (or not engage at all) VE professionals. It’s also important to note that the complex and diverse skill sets that VE professionals bring to the table are not necessarily going to magically appear if VE responsibilities are simply hoisted onto another staff person. Volunteer engagement is a growing profession, with a clearly defined occupational profile (see the National Occupation Standards), an internationally recognized credential offered by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA) and the associated ethical standards that are key to the profession. The provincial professional association that I serve with, PAVRO, recently voted to partner with the CCVA in offering the CVA exam to our members while at the same time, continuing to recertify our members that hold our own certification, the Certificate in Volunteer Resources Management, which we established over 20 years ago in the absence of a commonly recognized credential. Our profession has come a long way indeed.

    Ethical decision-making will be a central theme to PAVRO’s annual conference this year and we invite both VE and non-VE staff to join us for Deeply Rooted in Ethical Leadership: Integrity to Do the Right Thing on May 17th and 19th.

    As an association, we strongly believe that VE professionals are key to helping the Canadian nonprofit sector recover from the pandemic and leverage the enormous goodwill and enthusiasm that Canadians have demonstrated to each other during these challenging times. As the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week says, volunteering is truly empathy in action but the action depends on dedicated work behind the scenes provided by the often unsung heroes of volunteerism, the VE professional.

    Aleksandra Vasic, CVA (She/her) is the President of PAVRO and the Director of Volunteerism of Volunteer Success, a Canadian not-for-profit organization committed to improving community volunteerism through a digital platform that connects volunteers to meaningful opportunities offered by a wide range of organizations from different sectors. Connect with her through LinkedIn.

    https://charityvillage.com/why-nonprofit-organizations-should-rehire-volunteer-engagement-professionals/

     


  • October 13, 2020 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    In this incredible year of crisis and change, and in honour of International Volunteer Managers’ Day (IVMD) on November 5th, I wanted to send my personal thanks to all of my colleagues working in the field of volunteer engagement for their tremendous contribution. 

    Thank you to you, your profession, your organizations and society as a whole!

    The theme of this year’s IVM Day is “What’s Next?” and I can’t imagine a more fitting theme. As noted on the 
    IVMD website“the pandemic has created challenges on many levels and those of us leading volunteer efforts have found ourselves in positions we never imagined. It’s our hope that… we will continue to have time to reflect on the lessons, challenges and most importantly opportunities that confront us.”

    PAVRO has certainly faced its share of challenges this year, including the postponement of our annual conference. But one wonderful possibility has opened up with this delay, it is the opportunity to present our Awards Ceremony virtually this year on November 5th. 

    I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate International Volunteer Managers Day than to announce this year’s winners of the 
    Linda Buchanan Award and the newly renamed Alison Caird Young Leader Award. Please stay tuned for more details on joining us for this virtual celebration. 

    In the day-to-day trenches of our work, we often forget that what we do has such a far-reaching impact, on volunteers, on those served by our organizations, and on our communities. Thank you once again for your dedication and commitment.

    In advance, I wish you all a Happy International Volunteer Managers Day on November 5th!

    Aleksandra Vasic, PAVRO President

  • July 14, 2020 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The PAVRO Annual General Meeting (AGM), for 2019, held on June 18th 2020 was an unforgettable one for me, for so many reasons. Firstly is that it was held virtually for the first time ever. Secondly, it was my first time running PAVRO’s AGM. Thank you to Past President Kathleen Douglass for her guidance in helping me navigate the learning curve. And finally, the level of positive engagement we received in the chat feature was incredibly affirming to all of us. PAVRO Members are truly amazing and graciously patient with the inevitable small technical glitches we encountered running the polling feature in Zoom. And to cap it all off, we got hacked! Next time we will follow member Kristen Loblaw’s advice to use the waiting room feature.

    We had well over 50 people on the Zoom: 53 members in attendance along with our two amazing independent contractors, Johanne Deschamps and Sharon Jones supporting the process. Nine members submitted proxies. We easily made our quorum of 10% of current membership, which currently stands at 231. In order to entice members to what the Board members thought would be a dull business meeting, we offered up a $25 Starbucks gift card to all members who attended and sent in proxies. Congratulations to Member Rodigo Konigs for having his name drawn at random!

    You can find the annual report slide deck and financial pages here: https://pavro.on.ca/annual-general-meeting (you will be required to log in). The year 2019 ended very positively for us financially. We finished with just over $25,000 in surplus from a combination of a successful conference in Ottawa, offering our Standardized Volunteer Opinion Survey, and tightening up on general administrative costs. 

    The second major order of business was to introduce a by-law change in the number of directors required for our Board. The Board recommended that we reduce the number of Board directors from a minimum of nine to seven members and a maximum of nine from fourteen. Our rationale for this change reflects the trend of smaller not-for-profit boards and it acknowledges the challenge of recruiting leaders. We felt that this change would also contribute to a more efficient governance system and to enhance our decision-making process. In fact, this past spring we had some serious concerns about recruiting the minimum nine Board members our by-laws require. 

    Members voted overwhelmingly for this motion, and it was carried, with much positive feedback from our members. A number noted that the motion was a very good move. And some felt that PAVRO’s challenge in recruiting leadership was reflected in their experience at the local AVA level.

    The final order of business was to elect the new slate of directors again to much support and appreciation from the membership. At this point, we have all but one Director position that of Vice President. Sadly for us, VP Kari Astles had to step down after one year in her role. Like  the majority of our Board members, Kari works for a hospital and, as many of our colleagues working in the hospital and healthcare sector, she was  redeployed and found her  workload overwhelming, to the point that she was  unable to fulfil her Board commitment. Our Secretary and 2019 Conference Co-Chair Sherri Daly also left her position earlier this year, in March. 

    It was under these difficult circumstances that we reached out to our list of Past Presidents seeking to fill a couple of vacancies: Past President and Vice President. Fortunately for us, Past President Kathleen Douglass stepped up to serve for one year as Past President once again! Our members were excited by the new Board composition, given that our new Board members come from a variety of organizations. The new Board looks forward to working together and in the process appointing a new Vice President within the next year.

    After the election, we thanked our outgoing Board members: Helena Finn-Vickers who is stepping down as Past President (and now assumes the role of Honorary Lifetime Member), Kari Astles and Sherri Daly, as mentioned previously, and Gillian Brunning and Vanessa Martinez as Directors of Communications and Marketing. 

    We also took advantage of this opportunity to thank the committees that served in both 2019 and 2020. Most of our services could not take place without the work of our essential committee members. 

    One omission that I would like to now redress: thank you to our long-served AVA Liaison Network Coordinator, Christine Rushton. Her name has now been added to the Annual Report found on this page: https://pavro.on.ca/annual-general-meeting

    We wrapped up the meeting by reviewing some of the highlights outlined in the Annual Report itself. 

    Helena Finn-Vickers then took a break from her role as the Motion and Chat Moderator to announce some tantalizing details about our fall 2020 virtual conference Creating Connections. While Helena is stepping down as VP, she has generously agreed to stay active as a Conference Co-Chair. More information about this innovative two half-day conference on October 1st and 8th is coming your way! 

    As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, PAVRO members were incredibly engaged and encouraging throughout the whole AGM, and provided us with lots of great comments and questions. We were so thrilled with the interaction, that we collected the questions and created a Q&A document and posted it online. Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support! We want to keep the dialogue going during these challenging times for our society as a whole and in particular for our profession. 

    Please stay in touch and email me at president@pavro.on.ca with your ideas, comments and questions. 

    Take care and stay safe!

    Aleks


  • April 13, 2020 7:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is a surreal atmosphere surrounding COVID19.

    Up till now, nations, corporations and organizations have believed that their institutions can foresee and manage calamity, arrest its impact and restore stability.  When the pandemic has passed, many institutions will be perceived as having failed. Fair or not, this perception is irrelevant. The reality is that the world, governments, institutions, civil-society and for-profit and non-profit organizations will never be the same after COVID19. 

    Reacting to the current emergency and arguing about the past will only make it harder to do what needs to be done. 

    So far, the COVID19 crisis has mainly been dealt with on a state/provincial or national basis. But the virus' society-dissolving do not respect borders, corporate structures or social constructs. While the assault on human health will – hopefully – be temporary, the political, economic and social impact could last for generations.

    There is a social theory called “Wicked-Problems." The term ‘wicked problem’ arises from the responses to significant human problems, such as the AIDS crisis, homelessness, poverty, when traditional answers seemed incapable of providing solutions … and if a 'solution' was found, it often made the original problem worse. Imagine the children’s song, ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a spider …’

    The challenge of using traditional problem solving to implement complex change is enormous. 'Change' is full of uncertainty and ambiguity. Therefore, we must learn to manage uncertainty rather than attempt to remove it.

    I was once given a lesson through a story by a Nakoda Elder, and I share it now with you.

    When the prairies were natural grasslands and full of life from the smallest creatures to the great Bison, the land would, from time to time, be whipped by massive storms. As the storm approached, most animals would flee in front of the crisis; they ran in the same direction the storm was moving.

    The Bison would not flee. They would turn headfirst into the storm, move against and through the winds and out the other side quickly. For the Bison, the storm would be over far more rapidly than for those who ran ahead. Those who ran to exhaustion trying to stay ahead of the wind and inevitably overtaken.

    The good news is that we will come through the pandemic. The choice you have is: will you try to outrun the storm or turn into it and prepare for coming out on the other side.

    Similarly, COVID19 will irrevocably change society. It will irrevocably change you as a leader and your organization. You may have lost people to the disease; systems, programs, business models may have proven themselves instantly outdates, people will expect to work from home and buildings, and facility space may seem redundant or surplus.

    When the pandemic is over, there is no way that you will be able to maintain yourself or business as you once were: You will survive, or you will have been run into exhaustion.

    To survive, you must:

    ·      Stop reacting to the day to day issues that the pandemic brings to your organizations. (appoint an operations manager to deal with these issues)

    ·      Start envisioning and planning what your organization may or could look like after the pandemic passes

    ·      Double down on developing your team and people to be ready to come out the other side

    ·      Replicate the best of how your team functions and stop focusing on efficiency and invest in being effective

    We must get back to basics and start considering simple, straightforward, grounded advice and answers and here are some things I am happy to do for you:

    ·     Facilitate a 1-hour Zoom exercise to build team cohesiveness

    ·     Help you develop a team rallying cry

    ·     An ear for coaching, problem-solving or to listen

    If you need more, we can discuss a couple of options that could include organizational coaching as you manage the COVID response and to consider your strategic positioning as you come through and out the other side of the pandemic.

    Steve A

    Steven D Armstrong
    www.StevenArmstrong.ca
    403.701.3752

    Struggling with how best to lead your team during the COVID19 pandemic?
    Click To Access the latest information on COVID-19
    Click To Access A Curated List of My Articles On Crisis Leadership
    Visit www.StevenArmstrong.ca for the latest links & information.

  • March 31, 2020 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Colleagues,

    As I sit down to write to you for this month’s ePowerline, I struggle with where to begin. The extent of global interdependence and interconnection is both a blessing and a curse, allowing this virus to spread at an unimaginable and relentless rate. To be depressed and anxious is frankly a rational response to what we are all experiencing.

    I am, at the same time, an optimist by nature, and much of what I’ve seen and read recently has fed the optimistic side of my mind. A crisis of these proportions throws everything that we have taken for granted into sharp relief and that insight creates possibilities for the way we might reconstruct our world post-pandemic. I can now really appreciate all those things that were practically invisible to all of us a few short weeks ago. Beyond having a robust healthcare system that is prepared to deal with a pandemic, I also see how important it is that we listen to our scientists and doctors, that we elect leaders who make decisions guided by evidence and not ideology. That governments, and government spending, matters. That the people working in our essential services matter, including those working in the grocery stores, or those gig workers we rely on to deliver online purchases to our doors. We need to thank them every time we purchase something; perhaps leave a note at the door if you are expecting a delivery. I truly hope that as a society we are starting to understand that precarious employment means a precarious economy when so many people get thrown out of work without access to income. 

    And of course, of particular interest to us, is that as a society we will all get to see what a world without formal volunteers looks like. A few years ago, PAVRO member and mentor (and all-around champion of our field), Faiza Venzant initiated a video project to demonstrate what a world without volunteers looks like. Unfortunately, it could not be completed but in many ways, we are now living out that thought experiment, as many of you have told us that your operations and volunteer programs, other than those deemed essential, have been shut down. So my other hope is that as a society we really do begin to appreciate how indispensable volunteers, and those of us working to engage them, are to a thriving civil society.

    The thing that gives me hope most of all is witnessing how all of us as individuals are stepping up and “volunteering” to do the right thing during this crisis in order to protect our most vulnerable, largely by staying home and physically distancing ourselves from each other, despite the enormous economic cost to society. Beyond staying home and distancing, we are all staying socially close through remote means and safely helping out those in our community who need it. I hear about people in neighbourhoods, condo buildings and online groups rallying to serve and help others in need; my vote for word of the year is “caremongering”. Such examples show us that the drive to help others is an innate human need, whether we call it volunteering or not, whether or not we formally engage, screen, onboard and recognize it. Along those lines, I am also incredibly grateful for the technology which allows us to stay socially close while physically apart.

    Finally, this crisis also makes me see how much our associations matter, especially now when we are all working solo in our home offices (and kitchens, in my case) and trying to understand the implications of this crisis on our volunteer programs, our organizations and ultimately, our jobs. The PAVRO board is committed to ensuring that we keep everyone connected, and we are doing that by creating online networking opportunities in the weeks and months to come. Our Webinar Committee is currently exploring ideas, and reaching out to potential speakers and we hope to make some announcements very soon.

    Stay tuned for dates announcing the online AGM and professional development/networking opportunity.  This will be a first for PAVRO, and I suspect we won’t be the only organization to host an online AGM.

    Finally we have rescheduled our in-person conference for October 8th and 9th and we are keeping registration open until March 31st in case you would like to spend your professional development dollars in this current fiscal year. Being able to host this event in-person would represent an enormous celebration for us - because it would mean that we’ve moved beyond the pandemic peak and beyond the need for physical distancing. I look forward to shaking your hands and even (gasp!) hugging some of you - yet other simple pleasures that we have all taken for granted.

    I will never take conversations with my peers and colleagues for granted. Contact me at president@pavro.on.ca and let me know what is on your mind, and what you would like to see from us as an association. I’m always open for a phone call and we welcome your ideas and questions.

    Stay in touch. Thank you for all that you do, both personally and professionally, and virtual hugs to all of you!

    Aleksandra Vasic

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