Leadership is more about relationships than it is about positions. Successful leadership in non-profits involves a strong Board – Executive Director partnership with appropriate governance practice to support their work. Individuals and organizations in the nonprofit sector lead their communities to improve the lives of those they serve. Leadership collaborations within organizations and across sectors are key to exponential impact.
“I am definitely more confident in my role with my team as well as in my communication with our Board. I have a better understanding of Board governance and expectations of the Board in supporting the agency.”
Lisa Moon, Executive Director, Champions Career Centre
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Leaders Working Together to Benefit a Shared Client Group
Bridging Institutions: Calgary Board of Education/University of Calgary Partnership Project
Bridging Institutions was an informal partnership between Calgary Board of Education Directors and University of Calgary Deans and Associate Deans seeking to benefit students at both institutions. One of the impact8 team facilitated direct communication and problem solving between these two large educational communities over a nine-year period. Examples of how students benefited from this work: improvement of university programs to prepare teachers for success in the school system; improvement of public school programs to increase success of university students; and other connections that would benefit students such as high school students accessing University mentors. These educational leaders committed to work together so students in Calgary would have improved support throughout their formal learning years.
Big challenges are met by collaborative system wide involvement
Identity Based Wrap Initiative
IBWI is a large new innovative project intended to reduce the involvement of immigrant youth in gangs by integrating identity-based services into the wraparound mode of service delivery. The Initiative requires the active collaboration of a large group of independent agencies, funders as well as the University as the lead organization, and the police and other public sector entities. One of the impact8 team facilitated the start-up of the IBWI by translating the wraparound concepts into a step-by-step model of client service flows to articulate where each organization would be engaged and by facilitating formal agreement on the mutual commitments that participating organization would make to the Initiative. The project resulted in increased level of clarity and commitment by the participating organizations and, in particular, helped clarify roles among the principal delivery organizations.
Strong Leaders are Always Growing
Leading an organization can be exciting and daunting…often at the same time! Strong leaders know the importance of investing in their own learning, to build their skills to support development of staff, volunteers and the organization. The impact8 team has supported leadership development through formal learning opportunities such as Leadership Plus (an integrated learning program developed for CentrePoint) and custom designed programs for organizations, as well as through more informal learning opportunities such as coaching and mentoring. We understand that effective leadership is not just about knowledge or even skill, it is about learning how to bring that knowledge and skill to life in your interactions and relationships. Our strong emphasis on coaching and action learning helps leaders strengthen themselves and their organizations.
A Small Group that made a Big Difference
Connaught Community School Playground Project
Sometimes a simple idea grows into a project that benefits a whole community. One of the impact8 team was project manager for just such a project: four parent volunteers and $1000 became a $120,000 new playground, and a Volunteer Calgary Award for RBC's 130 volunteers who helped make the playground come to life. It looks like many playgrounds throughout the city, but this one has become something more. Connaught Community School is in the inner city where there were few playgrounds available for the many kids that lived in the surrounding apartments. Many families in the area come from outside Canada and are just getting established in their new country. The Playground project became a community effort to benefit the students at the Connaught School. It drew private, public and nonprofit sector together to make an impact in the community and the lives of new Canadians. As a well-loved and welcoming place, this simple playground became a place that was used both inside and outside of school hours.
Effective Governance requires good tools and processes
Governance is the process through which Boards provide leadership to non-profits. Too often passionate and caring nonprofit Board members are trying to do their job without enough knowledge and support for their important role. The impact8 team has assisted hundreds of Boards in becoming more effective through Board development sessions; customized Strategic Planning, implementation and monitoring processes; bylaw revisions to ensure bylaws support the work of the organization and Boards know how to use them effectively; Board Policy development and implementation; identifying and designing Board processes that meet organizational needs; and helping Boards both determine and implement the appropriate governance model for their organization. Effective governance is not an easy job, but it is an important and rewarding one, and every committed Board member can contribute with supportive processes and good tools.