From the Board

Kevin_ThorvaldsonAs many parts of Canada move slowly into spring (sorry easterners – it was a tough one for you!), we begin a fresh new season & we thought it appropriate to let you know what your Board has been up to, as we move toward spring elections for the national Board, which will refresh the faces of the team that will lead IAP2 Canada for the next two years.

What is a typical day like for a board member? To begin, there really isn’t a standard set of challenges; it changes each and every week, as our priorities and circumstances change, to move with the tides of our membership. As the first quarter comes to a close, it was time to review budgets, assess progress in our Strategic Plan and determine how we can improve upon our performance.

Chapters are the backbone of our national association, and provide opportunities for growth in the P2 field here in Canada. We provide direction via the Strategic Plan to the Chapters, and support them in a variety of ways, including Chapter Grants, which provide financial support for events and more.

Emerging chapters like IAP2 Atlantic, which submitted its letter of intent this month (congratulations to our newest chapter), look to the Board for help with governance structure, board election procedures and volunteer recruitment. On this topic, your Board this month spent a significant amount of time discussing volunteer management; as with any organization that relies heavily on volunteer contributions of time and talent, it is important not to burn people out, and to recognize their contributions in a meaningful way. We want volunteers to feel like they are having a great experience; if they enjoy what they are doing, they become good ambassadors for the organization and the greater P2 community. Volunteer management requires that an organization be flexible, to align resources with emerging opportunities when they are presented. We hope to have a program in place in 2015, and will share with the chapters, so that all of us can benefit.

IAP2 Canada is working hard to become a more inclusive organization for our Francophone members, and the Francophone community in general, by looking to translate key sections of the national website into Canada’s other official language, as well as offering the Foundations program and other key training modules in French. As one can appreciate, this is no small task, but our friends at IAP2 St-Laurent, along with an IAP2 Canada Board member this month held a conference call with IAP2 Federation staff to formalize ideas and priorities. A proposal to put to the Federation will first come to our national board for review and endorsement, so the wheels are in motion!

One of the benefits to membership in IAP2 is to gain access to cutting edge P2 research, which will help to expand the practice of public participation, and promote organic growth within our communities. The research team is currently developing terms of reference to better categorize research materials that have already been collected. We all stand to benefit from this work, so please stay tuned as we develop this resource further and let us know if you’d like to be involved.
IAP2 Canada is an active member in the Federation and meets remotely or in person on a regular basis. Two board members will journey to Italy next month for a face-to-face meeting. One of the key topics for discussion will be how IAP2 was formed initially, the impetus for the Federation model, and how this model may change to reflect the desires of the Affiliates in 2015. Extensive engagement with the affiliates and members is key to the success of ongoing efforts to expand P2 in future years.

Back home, we are working to enhance our marketing strategy for IAP2 Canada, including all forms of outreach. The regular newsletters and ever popular webinars {with our friends from IAP2-USA} will continue of course, but we’re also looking to be more effective in our use of social media – for example, we have a new Facebook page that we’d love you to visit and show you “like” us. We’ve also started Twitter analytics, to obtain better metrics about who is following us, potential members and potential sponsors – all part of creating a sustainable organization, which is a key part of our strategic plan.

Our finances continue to be in good shape, but we are always looking for ways to make better use of our resources. Stay in touch with your chapters, alert your leaders to significant opportunities for membership growth, outreach and any other programs you feel would benefit the membership. As we welcome a new Board in April, provide them with your feedback on how we can make our association better, become involved and participate – this is your community!

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