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Canadian volunteers' coalition sets-up new organization to better serve communities
30 May 2003

The Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations (NVO) and the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy (CCP) have agreed to co-found a new organization "to strengthen communities and advance social development through collective effort". The new entity will be established by June 2004, after which the two existing organizations will be wound-up. These actions are subject to approval by the members of both organizations.

At a meeting of the NVO and CCP Boards in Ottawa on May 10, 2003, it was agreed unanimously that the two organizations will work together closely and cooperatively to create the new entity, with a Memorandum of Understanding to be executed by June 30, 2003. All current work of both existing organizations will continue without change during transition to the new entity.

This new organization is being created in recognition of the dramatic changes that have occurred in Canada's voluntary sector, especially during the past 6 years since the establishment of the Voluntary Sector Roundtable in 1997. These changes have created an extraordinary opportunity to build on the existing strengths of both organizations and other community partners so that the sector can more effectively play its vital role in Canadian society.

"By combining their resources and their voices, CCP and NVO will be better able to provide leadership in Canada's voluntary sector," according to CCP Board Chair Dale Godsoe. "By sharing leadership and reflecting national, regional and local perspectives, they can help the sector do much more in the future. The goal is to build the voluntary sector's capacity to serve Canadian communities with excellence." "The voluntary sector has experienced spectacular growth and change since NVO and CCP were established in 1974 and 1981," says NVO Board Chair Faye Porter. "They have served the sector well until now, but by working together their ability will be enhanced to give voice to, and advocate for social justice with, Canada's 180,000 voluntary sector organizations."

The new organization will be pan-Canadian in scope, and will share leadership with others in the sector. It will encompass national, regional, local and sub-sectoral perspectives. A critical role of this new entity will be to promote relationships within the voluntary sector, and with business and government. During the next year, the NVO-CCP collaboration will explore how to engage others from the voluntary sector in creating the new organization.

Throughout transition to the new entity, both CCP and NVO will continue their programs to provide value to members, coalitions and partners, the broader voluntary sector, and other stakeholders.

The new organization will be focused on building capacity across the voluntary sector and within voluntary sector organizations. Key functions that have, to date, been identified (but not prioritized) include:

Developing a cross-sector infrastructure (including building and supporting networks and coalitions)

Leading and strengthening the voluntary sector's voice on public policy (including giving voice to, and advocating with and for voluntary organizations)

Promoting public engagement in the community and the voluntary sector, and linking the voluntary sector with business and government

Creating and disseminating research about Canada's voluntary sector

Enhancing the accountability of voluntary sector organizations

Helping voluntary organizations to optimize their human resources

Enhancing the ability of voluntary organizations to increase and stabilize funding and in-kind resources, and

Creating and sharing learnings and resources within the sector.

The Boards have jointly agreed to create a steering committee that will oversee the transition to the new entity. The steering committee will constitute groups to lead the search for a CEO, to develop proposals for governance, and to oversee financial planning and fund development.

The Accord signed in December 2001 by the voluntary sector and the Government of Canada recognizes that "the voluntary sector is one of the three pillars of Canadian society" and that "the rich network of organizations, called the voluntary sector, helps make Canada the humane, caring and prosperous nation it is". This new collaboration between NVO and CCP aims to ensure that Canada's voluntary sector continues to grow in importance and strength, and is able to contribute fully towards the new entity's vision of "a Canada where, from neighbourhood to nation, dynamic, just and inclusive communities thrive".