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Heart and Head

Pick the issue you’re passionate about your heart and pick how to achieve the greatest impact with your head.   I heard something similar to this yesterday from a webinar hosted by Stanford Social Innovation Review and resonated with me. For some reason many treat charitable giving or philanthropy as more of an impulse buy…

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Summer school with promising results backed by Million Dollar Pledge

Summer school with promising results backed by Million Dollar Pledge A unique summer school quietly backed by a group of socially minded business leaders in New Brunswick is showing such promise in helping students in reading and math that officials are eyeing expansion to other areas of the province. As kids get ready to head…

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Say No To Say Yes

This is my favourite times of the year. The successes and stories from our funded partners are rolling in. For the 3rd straight year the results are not only impressive they are frankly awe inspiring! Sometimes I feel as though I spend more time saying no than saying yes. Here are three quick reasons why…

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Measure Twice, Cut Once

There are strong feelings in the community sector whether social improvements can or even should be subject to measurement. My preoccupation with this tension started in grad school learning program evaluation and then the first five years of my career as I helped charities in Saskatoon evaluate programs.  It was never straightforward or easy, but…

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Function Follows Form

Every single charity was created by someone with the passion to solve a problem they saw. Stretched to the point of breaking In my experience, far more new programs and charities begin than end. Donations to charity in Canada have flatlined. This creates a perfect storm and means more competition for human (e.g., board volunteers…

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What Does Risk Mean to You?

The board of directors of our United Way recently went through an exercise to develop a ‘risk strategy’, because that is what a responsible charity does. I know, yawn! But we challenged ourselves to think about risk differently. Of course, we need to consider risks to our revenues and operations and mitigate and prevent these…

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Have a Clear North Star

I work in the community sector because I want to help make the world a better place. I also have a graduate degree that focussed on program evaluation. Taken together, this means I realize that to create the best possible impact and outcomes, we have to make tough decisions.   Our United Way has undergone…

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2018 in The Rearview Mirror

Impact. “I am a single mother with two children who participate in the Summer Slide and after school programs at Blacks Harbour School. After my kids’ father died, I wouldn’t have had much of a chance to stay afloat let alone get ahead without these programs. While my kids are busy at these programs, I…

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Build Your Dream Team!

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. A little extreme, perhaps. Relevant to community organizations, unfortunately so. Everyone who works in the community sector does so because we care and want to make a difference. What separates good and great? Leadership. In our world, leadership comes in two flavours, staff and board. In…

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