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SCiP Success Stories

SCiP Success Profile: L’Arche Calgary       

SCiP internships produce many success stories for both organizations and students. One such story comes from L’Arche Calgary, which created a SCiP internship posting for a communications intern. After going through the interview process, they ultimately hired Gagan, a 21 year old Marketing major at Mount Royal University completing a Bachelor of Business Administration. Gagan’s role was optimizing the use of social media for organizational communications purposes and promoting special events.

L’Arche Communications Coordinator, Vern Begg, had only positive things to say about Gagan, remarking, “her enthusiasm for the project was evident in her initial interview and remained at a high level throughout her internship.” Gagan made a valuable contribution to L’Arche Calgary, introducing new methods of communicating the organization’s mission and story to internal and external stakeholders.

L’Arche Calgary found the process of creating the intern role description, and making the hire, to be a smooth process. According to Vern, “the forms that were provided streamlined the process and allowed us to focus on finding the right candidate.” Not only were the staff at L’Arche happy with their SCiP intern experience, they have already hired another SCiP intern!

 

SCiP Success Story: Calgary tour de nuit Society         

SCiP internships produce many success stories for both organizations and students. One great story comes from Calgary tour de nuit Society (CtndS) who have two SCiP marketing interns.

CtndS promotes cycling for both transportation and recreation – their mandate is ‘more people cycling more often’.  After posting the internships, Gary Beaton, Executive Director, hired SCiP students Mahsa Dokhani and Kristina Roberts. Their primary task at the beginning of the internship was evaluating a feasibility study conducted by the City of Calgary for a public bike rental system, a project with an estimated $3 million dollar price tag. The interns made a huge impact on both the CtdnS and Calgary as a whole.

The City of Calgary’s study recommended that the bike rental project should go ahead, but Mahsa and Kristina, after many hours of research and analysis, found the city did not yet have the sufficient infrastructure for the program to be successful. Mahsa and Kristina presented their findings to the City of Calgary`s Transportation and Transit Committee.

Their presentation proved to be very influential as council decided to shelve the report for another year, after they invested further in dedicated bike lanes. The presentation, in effect, saved the taxpayers of Calgary $3,000,000! Their findings had such a large impact that they have been invited to make their presentation at the ProWalk/ProBike conference in Long Beach California in September.

Mahsa and Kristina are still in the middle of their internship and are working on a number of other projects, including fundraising and promotion of the Ride the Road tour, the year’s largest event for CtndS. Both interns are receiving extremely valuable experience and found the process of applying for SCiP internships very easy and straightforward. Gary Beaton has nothing but glowing reviews of these students and the work they are doing for the organization and their community.

 

SCiP Interns a Big Help

If you, or someone in your organization, feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, why not post a SCiP internship? A few weeks back our Marketing and Communications Manager, Jenna, did just that! Jenna spends part of her day marketing SCiP so she thought, “why not hire an intern to both experience how the program works and to help me accomplish projects that have been on the backburner?”

Both of the projects she posted internships for had been in the back of her mind for a while so writing the role description was very easy. In writing the role descriptions, she tried to use language that post-secondary students would recognize from their classes – such as SWOT and PESTLE analysis – and tried to avoid words that we use in the sector like “capacity” or “knowledge transfer”. The most surprising thing the process though was that the bulk of applications were submitted on the first day the internships were posted. Even better than that, the applications she received were from high-quality candidates. The hardest part of the process was deciding who to hire for which internship!

With success stories like these, how can your organization afford not to have a SCiP intern? For more information on SCiP internships, please visit the SCiP website or contact Ellie at emcfarlane@volunteeralberta.ab.ca or 780.482.3300 ext. 232.

 

KnowledgeConnector Improves Your Access to Learning

In an increasingly complex world, organizations are established to develop and meet the needs of our communities. We are fortunate in Alberta, as there are over 19,000 nonprofit/voluntary organizations working to make Alberta a better place to live and work. These organizations have needs and need to develop as well. Like anyone else, the leaders and managers in those organizations are happy to receive support and guidance. ­­

You may already be aware of many of the capacity-building organizations in Alberta, such as Volunteer Alberta, Volunteer Centres, Community Learning Councils, colleges, and many others. In my experience, however, most organizations, especially those who do not have paid staff, are unaware of all of the learning opportunities, and resources available in their own communities or throughout Alberta. They may also find the learning opportunities and resources more difficult to access, or believe they are not able to access them, due to limited financial resources and time.

KnowledgeConnector, managed by Volunteer Alberta, helps connect leaders and managers – both volunteer and paid – in the nonprofit/voluntary sector with learning opportunities. This is exciting! With time at a premium, a “one-stop shop” to find the right learning opportunities at the right time is key – KnowledgeConnector is the answer.

So, how do you know which learning opportunities suit you at this point in time? The answer is a key feature of the KnowledgeConnector website – the A.S.K. Leadership Assessment tool. You can complete the assessment online to gain a better understanding of your growth areas, and then be matched with learning opportunities in your area to fill your learning gaps!

Another great opportunity is for an organization’s board (or an advisory committee) to schedule an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop from Volunteer Alberta! The benefits include identifying common areas for development for learning together, identifying gaps for recruiting purposes, building teamwork, and discovering untapped knowledge and skills!

Contact me to schedule an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshop, or discuss the many other opportunities provided by Volunteer Alberta!

Cheers,

Diana Bacon

Knowledge Exchange Coordinator (North Region)

 

P.S. – Until August 31st, it is free to register as a Learning Provider on KnowledgeConnector.ca, and you may post an unlimited number of learning opportunities – no matter what time of the year the opportunities take place!

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Home is where our hearts are, and happiness is where your friends are. But you know you are truly blessed when the two fall under the same roof.

I am pleased and proud to announce that I am back with Volunteer Alberta after a three-month absence.  Having spent a year as a Regional Capacity Coordinator in the Southern Alberta, I am familiar with the organization and the region. In my new role with Volunteer Alberta, I will be serving as a Knowledge Exchange Coordinator (KnEC).  My area will continue to be Southern Alberta with the addition of Hanna!

As before, I am dedicated to the success of the nonprofit/voluntary sector.  I am still involved with the KnowledgeConnector program; my duties include reaching out to learning providers and the ASK Workshop. However, I also support all the programs Volunteer Alberta has to offer!  I am very excited to spread my wings within Volunteer Alberta.

Here is a brief list of some of the programs that I support in my new role:

  • OASSIS employee benefits program
  • Intersections project, which provides information about engaging a culturally diverse base of volunteers
  • People Lens – an approach to engaging specifically-skilled volunteers
  • Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP) – post-secondary student internships in nonprofit/voluntary sector organizations
  • Volunteer Alberta Membership
  • Selling the Invisible workshops that provide information and methods to more effectively recruit and retain volunteers

I support these programs by sharing the information with you through workshops, brochures, and one on one meetings.  Each program can play a different role in the success of your organization.

My goal for the summer is to reintroduce myself to members of the nonprofit/voluntary sector and get to know each of you again and see how your needs have changed.  Volunteer Centres across the province have been key partners in getting the word out about what KnEcs have to offer each community – I would like to thank each and every Volunteer Centre for their continued support and dedication!

I am looking forward to this new role and continuing to make a positive impact on the sector!

See you soon,

Amanda Liepert

Knowledge Exchange Coordinator (South)

There are options! Nonprofit Sector Employee Benefits

On Tuesday, Volunteer Alberta hosted a two-hour interactive discussion on employee benefits in the nonprofit/voluntary sector! Mike Babichuk, our resident expert, answered questions about employee benefits. Here are the questions, and answers to what people wanted to know about employee benefits:

Q – Rachel McBeath Hi Mike! I just started with a small organization (6 People) and we don’t have any kind of benefit plan…Are we just too small to have benefits?

A – Mike Babichuk Not at all Rachel, OASSIS can provide benefits to even a single person organization. We of course can also provide those same benefits to 1000’s

Q – Rachel McBeath Are we limited in what we can get because we are smaller?? I hear that benefits can be really expensive for smaller places like the one I work with

A – Mike Babichuk Size for the most part is irrelevant. OASSIS offers 6 different plans with a number of options in each plan which can be tailored to everyone’s needs and budget. OASSIS is very competitive as we do not use brokers and all savings are passed on to our customers.

Q – Doray Veno Hello Mike, Would June 15th morning work for you to do a VC presentation to the Hanna Learning Centre Board? Thanks Doray

Q – Doray Veno What organizational information do you require to provide a quote?

A – Mike Babichuk June 15 is fine for me Doray, just confirm the logistics as soon as you can. As for a quote I actually don’t need any information as I would provide you a secure website location where you would answer just a few questions and you would receive a quote usually within 48 hours. I would of course be available to answer any questions during the process if you require.

Q – Rachel McBeath Not to ask you too many questions Mike…but in talking with the girls here, where do we begin with benefit plans? Like what are standard benefits that we should probably look at getting? Can they be set up to be different for different people in the organization?

A – Mike Babichuk Love the questions; very thoughtful and pertinent. Although I did say plans are highly customizable they are for the group as a whole not individually. So whatever is chosen for benefits is for everyone within the group. Having said that most plans cover the gambit of benefits most individuals require. There are a couple of ways of making choices; what can we as an organization afford or what benefits do we want to provide to retain our existing staff or recruit staff for future growth. Plans are very flexible so you can start for example with a Standard Plan that covers 80% of most prescription & dental services right up to 100% coverage. You also have choices on optional benefits like short & long term disability, dependent life, counselling services (EAP) and health spending accounts. Hope I answered your question.

Q – Maxine Charlton I have my own business; can I set up a benefit plan if it is a sole proprietorship?

A – Mike Babichuk To your question sorry we can’t provide benefits for self-employed persons just for paid staff. I know it may seem like splitting hairs but OASSIS was created to provide benefits for volunteer and not for profit organizations.

Thanks to everyone who posed some great questions about benefits. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Mike via email or by phone 780.482.3300 ext.238 or visit the OASSIS website at http://www.oassisplan.com/

Mike Babichuk
OASSIS Sales and Marketing Leader

Okotoks Engages in Knowledge Exchange

I was excited to have the opportunity to travel to the fine community of Okotoks to participate in the Selling the Invisible workshop presented by my fellow KnEC colleague, Diane Huston.  I was quite impressed with Diane’s ability to engage the audience with meaningful anecdotes, which supported learning opportunities and course content. Further, Diane’s very evident knowledge of the voluntary sector really added value to this workshop.

Audience participation/engagement can make or break a presentation, and the 12 participants who took time out of their very busy work schedule to attend Selling the Invisible, were so engaged that they stayed an additional 30 minutes to share their own knowledge and ask questions.  Seeing this kind of participation, I was once again reminded about the commitment and dedication of the countless individuals who participate in over 20,000 nonprofit/voluntary sector organizations in Alberta.

The essence of the Knowledge Exchange Coordinator position is “to engage nonprofit/voluntary sector organizations across Alberta to enhance organizations’ capacity to provide programs and service to communities.”  Further, I see the KnEC role as one being about gathering strategies and information on effective volunteer engagement from people in the nonprofit/voluntary sector and disseminating that knowledge to others around Alberta.

Of the many tips discussed at the workshop on volunteer engagement, one participant shared this strategy on volunteer recruitment: “When holding any kind of volunteer appreciation event, encourage your volunteers to bring a friend.”  By bringing friends to an appreciation party, the newcomers will get firsthand experience  on how volunteers are treated and recognized, what other community members are in attendance, the variety of ways an organization engages volunteers, and what the overall culture is within the organization.   In so many ways, this really makes sense to me. The likelihood of a “good” volunteer bringing someone who has the same core values and beliefs is, in my opinion, quite likely.

If you have any questions about the role of KnECs in your community or Volunteer Alberta, I would be very happy to answer your questions.  You can reach me at 780.482.3300 (toll free in Alberta 1.877.915.6336) ext. 231 or by email at aollivierre@volunteeralberta.ab.ca

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