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Spring 2013

Newsletter Archive


Executive Director's Message

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I recently attended the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organization's (CCVO) Connections 2013 meeting and was fortunate to see Dan Pallotta's keynote address. Dan delivered a powerful and inspiring talk that challenges people to change the way we think about changing the world - specifically about changing how we think about non-profits. Prior to his presentation at the CCVO conference, Dan delivered a similar presentation as part of the TED talk series. To date, this talk has received over 1.7 million views which is encouraging as what Dan has to say has people talking.

Dan's presentation summarizes five key challenges facing non-profits today including compensation, advertising and marketing, taking of risk on new revenue ideas, time and profit. Some take home messages for me included:

  • Why in our culture do we have a visceral response to those in the non-profit sector making money helping people while we do not have a visceral response to those making money not helping others?
  • People are weary of being asked to do the least that they can do. People are yearning to measure the full distance of their potential on behalf of the causes they care about deeply. But, they have to be asked.
  • When you prohibit failure you prohibit innovation, when you kill innovation you can't raise more revenue, if you can't raise more revenue you can't grow and if you can't grow you can't solve large social problems.

I was inspired by Dan's courage to stand up for our sector - the voluntary sector. I have often wondered why it is called the voluntary sector. I feel this term undermines and de-values a sector that provides over 170,000 jobs in Canada and provides critical and irreplaceable services to the health, education and environmental sectors. In Alberta alone the voluntary sector provides over $9 billion in services; that doesn't seem very 'voluntary' to me.

I encourage those of you who haven't viewed this TED talk to do so and for those of you who have seen it, please keep talking about it.


Photo credit: http://www.ted.com.