CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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June 2017

Volunteer Management and Development Committee

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By Claire Bilodeau, ACIA

Until about two years ago, the CIA had a Committee on Volunteer Initiatives (CVI). However, as its mandate was revised and expanded, it was felt that its name had to better reflect its new scope. Thus was born the Volunteer Management and Development Committee (VMDC)!

The VMDC mandate (must be logged in to the members’ site to view) may seem long-winded, but the ultimate goal is to ensure that the CIA has all the volunteers it needs both in terms of quantity and quality, now and in the future. To meet that goal, recognition is essential, not only for what the volunteers have done, but also for what they can become. In other words, as an organization, we must express our gratitude to those who make it thrive. And we must also identify tomorrow’s leaders, those who have the potential to chair committees and . . . eventually . . . be President!

Volunteer Recognition

The VMDC supports volunteer recognition through volunteer awards and participation in National Volunteer Week (NVW).

Since 2001, the CIA has formally recognized members who have made a significant volunteer contribution to the Institute at the Volunteer Awards. Held each year at the Annual Meeting, many volunteers receive a gold, silver, or bronze pin to recognize their many terms of service with the Institute. The VMDC plays a part in this, but a lot of the work is done by the Head Office, more specifically within the professional practice and volunteer services department. Will you be receiving a new pin in Québec City later this month?

Maybe you have not reached a new milestone and thus not qualified for a new pin this year. Nevertheless, if you are volunteering, I hope you felt appreciated at the end of April, during NVW. Congratulations to Debbie Chiu who won the NVW crossword puzzle contest prize of a $500 credit towards an upcoming CIA meeting or seminar OR six free individual CIA webcast registrations. 

New Initiatives

Whereas these two initiatives were within the purview of the CVI and have remained within the VMDC’s mandate, new initiatives are taking shape.

In its first year, the VMDC held many interviews with chairs of councils and committees to assess and identify the CIA’s volunteer needs. Based on the results of that broad consultation, Sharon Giffen, then Chair, prepared an ambitious action plan to encourage new volunteers and support existing ones, bound to keep us busy until at least the end of 2018!

Communicating Volunteer Opportunities

We have launched a pilot recruitment project working with committee chairs to enhance recruiting support. Our goal is to supplement the CIA Volunteer Applicant Registry (VAR) (you must be logged in to the members’ site to access the VAR) as a source of volunteers with official appeals to members similar to job postings.

So far, we have tried our new approach with four committees that have pressing needs for additional members. Members who have indicated an interest in volunteering for those committees received an e-mail giving them advance notice of the openings. A few days later, via the weekly communications, all members were informed of the recruitment needs of those committees. Members have responded to the call and volunteer positions are being filled. We will learn from these first attempts and refine our approach. Eventually, the CIA website may have a volunteer centre where we could find, among other things, all the volunteer positions available.

New Volunteer Position Pilot Project

Our New Volunteer Position pilot project involves eight committees (including the VMDC), each of which will engage at least one volunteer who has never served on a CIA council or committee before. The main goal of this project is to renew the volunteer pool and encourage members who are early in their career to volunteer for the CIA and gain experience and expertise that will allow them to progress into future volunteer roles.

We have contacted potential candidates for the new volunteer positions; hopefully, the pilot project soon will be in full swing. In a few months, we will solicit feedback and make any necessary adjustments before asking most CIA committees to implement the new role. Indeed, provided the initiative is successful, we will roll it out to most volunteer groups and formally include it in the Volunteer Management Policy.

Improved Volunteer Resources

Next on our plate is looking at the resources available to volunteers. A subcommittee has already been formed to check currently available resources, determine which ones need to be revised, and identify what is missing and hence needs to be created. Even current resources seem largely unknown; instead, we want all resources needed by volunteer groups to be available in a format and location that make it easy for groups to find and use them. In all likelihood, in due time, that location would be the volunteer centre, on the CIA website.

Ultimately, the VMDC will carry out its action plan entirely, culminating in a fully revised policy on volunteering, to be formally adopted in late 2018 (along, quite likely, with a new name). Until then, as I indicated earlier, we have a lot to keep ourselves busy and other initiatives to launch. I encourage you to keep your eyes open and hope you will all help us to ensure the CIA has all the volunteers it needs to fulfil its mission.

Claire Bilodeau, ACIA, is Chair of the Volunteer Management and Development Committee.


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