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Behind the scenes at interVivos

This blog post was inspired by the Reimagining Governance Case Study Café that we participated in a few months ago. The Café was put on by the provincial government and involved many nonprofit organizations across Alberta. In preparation for the Café, we had to take time to reflect on our governance journey. Those reflections have helped us to develop this blog post.

Greetings, fellow enthusiasts of leadership and community engagement! Today, we want to share with you the remarkable journey we have undertaken behind the scenes at interVivos.

Our passion for effective governance leads us on a transformative path, allowing us to connect with diverse voices and embrace the invaluable contributions of our dedicated volunteers. Join us as we recount the steps we take to ensure our governance remains impactful without burning out our remarkable team.

As a volunteer-run organization, we understand the significance of maintaining an effective governance structure while safeguarding the well-being of our volunteers. It is evident that our journey toward excellence requires us to evolve and adapt our governance practices.

Over the past few years, we embarked on an exciting adventure, implementing several strategies to handle this challenge head-on. Read on to find out about these strategies.

Developing a Strategic Plan

We embarked on a collaborative effort, consulting our board members, advisors, and former program participants to craft a comprehensive 2020-2023 strategic plan. This roadmap becomes our guiding compass, helping us make informed decisions that align with our mission and vision.

Fostering Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA)

We recognized the urgent need to prioritize EDIA within our organization. Conducting an accessibility audit and developing an EDIA roadmap were crucial steps in ensuring that our governance structure truly reflects the communities we serve.

Rethinking Recruitment and Onboarding

To create a smoother onboarding experience, we revamped our recruitment and onboarding processes. We ensure that our new board members have succinct resources, checklists, and regular check-ins, which help orient them without overwhelming them. In our pursuit of diverse perspectives, we actively seek out youth voices through initiatives like Volunteer Alberta's Youth at the Table program.

Balancing Fit and Experience

Striking a balance between finding the right fit for board positions and providing résumé-building experiences is crucial. We invite new board members to join us for a 3-month trial period, allowing both parties to assess compatibility. Additionally, we identify specific board roles that harness individuals’ unique strengths and provide them with opportunities for growth.

Evolving Collaboration and Decision-Making

To streamline our processes, we made significant changes to our collaboration and decision-making approach. We established separate meetings for governance decisions and operational work, alternating between them. Furthermore, we transitioned from traditional board committees to dynamic working groups that focus on advancing key initiatives. Asynchronous collaboration platforms like Slack and Asana become our trusted allies, facilitating efficient day-to-day work and decision-making.

Nurturing Volunteers and Building Community

We firmly believe in the power of recognizing our volunteers' exceptional efforts and fostering a sense of community within our board. Through volunteer recognition activities, social events, and celebrations, we acknowledge the collective wins achieved through hard work. These activities forge stronger connections among our board members, fostering a supportive and united environment.

Prioritizing Individual Development and Learning

We understand that continuous learning is vital for the growth of our board members. Thus, we provide them with abundant resources and training opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. By investing in their development, we empower them to succeed and contribute effectively to our governance processes.

Current Impact and Future Endeavors

Thanks to our commitment to effective governance and volunteer support, our board now boasts a vibrant mix of leaders from diverse backgrounds, many of whom have participated in interVivos programs and events. We are proud to become a role model for other organizations seeking to embrace a wealth of perspectives in their leadership and mentorship programs.

Our journey continues as we strive to refine our practices and adapt to the changing world and community.

Want to experience interVivos firsthand? Then don’t miss out on our next mentorship program launching on August 23, 2023. The program will focus on women, trans, and gender-diverse volunteer mentors. Join our mailing list so you don’t miss out.


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