The Value of Good Advice

by Yvonne Chenier, Charity Lawyer from

In just a couple of hours today all of the organizations that were represented at the Caterpillar to Butterfly: Turning Your Existing Non-profit Into a Registered Charity workshop a few weeks ago made some more progress on their transformative journey.  In one-on-one sessions with them today I rolled up my sleeves, drilled into the legal structures, and asked some pointed questions about why their non-profit caterpillar organization wanted to become a butterfly charity (it’s all about the money!).  Then I gave them some encouragement and tips and sent them on their way with homework to do to carry on their transformation. Most have to give serious thought to getting their members together for a special meeting to change their objects/purposes.  One organization has to make a decision as to how it will interact with and control (yes CRA will require that) its intermediary in a third world country.  Another has to highlight the education focus that it really does have.

I was happy to say to one organization that educating people about something near and dear to our community does not have to be so political after all.  They all have to change their bylaws and review their social media presence.

The transition stage is not painful but can be a challenge if you have left yourself exposed.  I hope to have one more visit with each of these organizations before they try to break out of the cocoon and apply to be that butterfly by filing that final application at CRA.  Stay tuned.

Sweet Way to Onboard!


As a Volunteer Coordinator, I am always looking for new ways to engage and recognize our amazing volunteers, and first impressions mean a lot.  I interview every candidate before they become volunteers, and during the interview I like to add a few fun questions like, ‘If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?’ as well as ‘What would you say is your all-time favourite chocolate bar?’.  I make note of the chocolate bar answer and when we onboard new volunteers, I make sure we have the paperwork, their nametags, and their favourite chocolate bar ready for them.  It is a fun and easy way to make new volunteers feel welcomed and appreciated right from the get-go.  I have gotten all kinds of positive responses from people when they see that we remembered their pick.  One of the best moments was over the summer, when we did a group onboarding for our Summer Camp volunteers.  The group of 19 youth walked into the room to see their welcome packages all made up, each with the chocolate bar of their choice.  I heard them talking to each other saying “they remembered!”, “that’s so nice!”, or “Remember when they asked us that question in the interviews?”.  It makes me smile every time.

  • Rachel Stelmach, Coordinator Volunteer Resources, Telus Spark

Evaluation is More Than Just Tracking. It Matters How We Use and Share It.

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Written by: Andrea N. Young, Evaluation Specialist

At the beginning of April, I released my masterpiece: the ‘2015 Annual Report on our Evaluation Findings.’ For most of you non-data-nerds, this 43-page document probably sounds like the utmost snoozefest. And often you’d be right: data reports can be oh-so-boring and pointless. I mean, who wants to read a jillion pages of technical jargon if it just ultimately makes you say “oh, that’s vaguely interesting” a couple of times, and then gets put on the shelf until you need some scrap doodle paper? Continue reading

We Are One

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Written by: Jennifer Sanford*, Propellus Consultant

Over the last few days, we have watched the wildfires in Fort McMurray gain international attention. The numbers are staggering: more than 80,000 people were evacuated, 1,600 homes and business have been destroyed, more than 50 million dollars in aid has been received by the Red Cross. And the true cost of this environmental event will take years to fully materialize. Continue reading

Big News: Crowdfunding Pilot Launched


A key barrier in creating strong non-profit organizations is access to donor dollars to improve the skill level and infrastructure in an organization. This collaboration between our founding sponsor (The Margaret and Andrew Stephens Family Foundation), our members , and Propellus aims to address this challenge through crowdfunding. Continue reading

Remember What’s Most Important in Recruitment Season

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Written By: Janet Rock, Design & Development

Well, it’s that time of year again. Spring means recruitment season for many organizations who have AGMs before June. To celebrate the change of season, we’re sharing some of the highlights from recent conversations with you, our members. These tips will help you focus on how to find the very best match in your new recruits! Continue reading

Does Your Organization Pass the On-Brand Test?

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Written By: Sarah G. Schmidt, Design & Development

A quick Google of “how do you know if you are on-brand?” and you will get a plethora of companies selling you services ranging from surveys to full on marketing support. It’s a bit daunting. Because it’s not a simple question, people (and businesses) are quick to suggest you need extensive professional support, and offer you a laundry list of possible solutions. Continue reading