Volunteer Canada releases “The Screening Handbook”

This is a super comprehensive guide published by Volunteer Canada in March of 2012 (and I believe this is a major update of the already-existing handbook, last published in 1996). Titled The Screening Handbook (PDF) (found on their Volunteer Screening page), it is full of “tools and resources to better match people and organizations, improve the safety and quality of programs in communities, and reduce risks and liability.” They prepared it for Public Safety Canada, the Community Safety and Partnerships Branch. It includes information on social policy and regulatory framework, privacy, police checks, and even deals with volunteers as employees. There are tools for recruitment, interviewing, training, and supervision. You’ll also find a lot of checklists, and even a PowerPoint presentation on the guide itself, in case you want to present it to your staff or board. (Links updated November 2013)

Cultivating Good Governance and the People that Make It All Happen

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a keen interest in good governance, leadership, and the many people in an organization that make these possible. Mostly because I have found myself in leadership positions but not always knowing how to be a good leader, a good boss, or how to create structures that enable good governance. And working in the non-profit sector with other non-profits these kinds of issues come up. So here’s a few resources I’ve picked up over the last few months to help those of you struggling with these kinds of questions.

  • CharityVillage (one of my top faves!) added the following to their library: Building Community Vitality, a toolkit put together by the Community Foundations of Canada to help foundations be more effective community leaders. The toolkit provides information on how to improve strategic planning, review and assess the impact of grantmaking programs, review community leadership projects, organize meetings about community issues, work with partners on various initiatives, and explain your work to donors.
  • Orienting new directors or staff? Check out Welcome Aboard (from my hometown province!), a site with a number of bilingual resources to help individuals better understand the roles and responsibilities of board members, executive directors, and volunteers. Resources include pamphlets, a handbook for board members, and a downloadable video. (Thanks again to, yep, you guessed it, CharityVillage.)
  • They also added the NL HR Manager, a downloadable toolkit with a large variety of articles, tools, and resources on such topics as finding the right workers, managing diversity within the workplace, engaging young workers, compensation and benefits, and more.

Nonprofit Resources

Here is a short list of my own personal “best of”s from CharityVillage newsletters from the last few months.

Community Toolbox (National Park Service)
Published by the US-based National Parks Service, this tool box contains a variety of resources on topics for most nonprofits such as decision-making, event planning, written communications, outreach, facilitation, and more.

Mission Minded
This site contains a variety of downloadable fact sheets covering marketing and communications topics such as building your brand, creating communications plans, creating taglines, marketing for fundraisers, and more.

Legal checklist for 2010: Audio interview with Adam Aptowitzer and Nicole Zummach
January 4, 2010 (Link to a podcast in iTunes)
“Are you prepared to meet all your legal requirements in 2010? Find out the top three things you should be aware of for 2010, as well as other factors such as insurance, employment agreements, privacy policies. Additionally, this podcast covers a list of resources for organizations that find themselves missing something on the checklist.”

New Nonprofit Resource – Nonprofit Live TV
Welcome to Nonprofit Live TV, a site dedicated to showcasing insights and foresights of some of the top minds from both the nonprofit sector and technology on how the Internet has changed the nature of nonprofit fundraising, marketing and advocacy.

Collaborative Change: Rethinking how organizations can work together
If this quote speaks to you, you should check out this article on strategic restructuring of nonprofits. “Meanwhile, what started out as an internally focused exercise grew into something bigger. “We fundamentally believe that the voluntary sector needs to evolve and change,” MacDonald explains. Still reverberating from an economic shock to its system, the sector is searching for strategic implements to pull it out of the crisis-fuelled debris and help reestablish a sustainable terra firma upon which to move forward. It’s not easy. But like their for-profit neighbours, some in the voluntary sector are considering more innovative approaches, particularly collaborative ones.” You may also want to check out the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, a searchable database of successful nonprofit collaborations.

(Post and links updated November 2013)