National Volunteer Week celebrates Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.
In British Columbia, we have a vital and innovative non-profit (community benefits) sector. There are some 26,000 community benefit organizations in B.C., each with a board of directors. That means there are between 100,000 and 200,000 of us making decisions every day that affect the lives of millions of its citizens.
There are an astonishing number of roles for volunteers to play. Many contribute on the front line, in direct contact with those they are trying to help: supporting, feeding, educating, counseling, creating and running events, advocating for services.
Here at BoardVoice, our members are the volunteer board directors. It is a critical role, providing oversight for organizations including financial controls, maintaining the legal standing and providing legal advice, setting direction through annual plans and assessments, and—of course—directing and assisting with fundraising.
Good governance is crucial to the health of our organizations and the people we serve. We are all aware of what can happen when this role is not well understood or effectively executed.
But the role of our board volunteer is more than even this. A critical piece—so hard to find time for and so difficult to grasp—is to dream of what could be.
Many of us came to the board table passionate about our cause. We wanted to make a change. We wanted to help individuals, to make our communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play, to make our province stronger.
These are the conversation that matter to us, and we yearn to find ways to move beyond those critical fiduciary responsibilities, and imagine what can be.
At Board Voice, we believe that every individual and community should be able to contribute to their highest ability, and that our entire province will be stronger if they can.
We have begun a number of initiatives to strengthen the connections between our boards, to continue developing our governance skills, and to advocate for those individuals and communities.
Our board members come together to first imagine, then to plan and advocate for potentially transformative initiatives, like a social policy framework for B.C., or to convene amazing local conversations to solve local issues.
We are constantly amazed by the capacity of these volunteers—the engaged and passionate leaders in our communities—and of their potential to be a significant force for positive change in our province.
Our volunteer board members put enormous amounts of time and effort into directing community benefit organizations across the province, working towards a better future for all individuals, all communities. They make a huge contribution to British Columbia and we celebrate them and thank them.