Report Recommends New Technological Tools And Services For Voluntary Sector
OTTAWA, February 28, 2003 - The Voluntary Sector Initiative's (VSI) Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) Joint Table has recommended a broad strategy to help voluntary organizations and the sector as a whole improve their technological capacity to better meet the needs of Canadians. The recommendations were outlined in the IM/IT Joint Table's final report, Strengthening Voluntary Sector Capacity through Technology, which was released today.
"Strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector to manage and use technology is an investment in the quality of life of families and communities across this country," said Don McCreesh, a business leader and YMCA volunteer who served as one of the two co-chairs of the IM/IT Joint Table. "The innovative sector-wide tools and services we have recommended, including an online funding exchange and portal, will enable voluntary organizations to develop more effective and efficient ways to achieve their missions."
"Canada's voluntary sector is a key partner in promoting strong, healthy communities," said Lisanne Lacroix, an Industry Canada official who co-chaired the IM/IT Joint Table. "This unique partnership was the basis of the Joint Table, which brought together people from the voluntary and government sectors; many with information technology expertise and all of whom were passionate about finding the best solutions and strategies for Canada's voluntary sector and the thousands of communities it serves."
As part of the VSI, the IM/IT Joint Table was created to respond to the technological challenges and needs of the voluntary sector. The Joint Table, made up of voluntary leaders and government officials, focused on developing a clear picture of the sector's current needs as the basis for developing its recommendations.
After commissioning surveys, reviewing literature, and consulting with voluntary organizations and technology experts, the IM/IT Joint Table developed a five-part strategy to strengthen the sector's ability to serve Canadians. The key elements of the strategy include:
- funding agency campaign: a campaign to encourage funding agencies to change their policies and procedures to permit investments in IM/IT;
- access to IT planning, hardware and software, training and technical support: a means for voluntary sector organizations to have ongoing access to IT planning and expert advice, current hardware and software appropriate to their needs, training to keep up with technology, and technical support at the lowest possible rates;
- voluntary sector portal: an online location linking voluntary sector-related information and providing a meeting place for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of best practices;
- funding exchange: the creation of a Web-based interactive funding service to connect funding agencies with organizations requiring funding, thereby decreasing the level of effort on both sides to provide and acquire funding; and
- technology awareness campaign: a campaign to raise awareness among voluntary sector boards and managers regarding the benefits of technology and to provide information on the tools available to help organizations adopt and use IT effectively.
The IM/IT Joint Table report calls on the Government of Canada to work with the voluntary sector to implement the recommendations before the conclusion of the VSI, expected to occur in the spring of 2005. Funding for implementing the strategy comes from the $10 million allocated by the VSI in 2000 for enhancing the sector's access to, and use of, information technology.
Launched in June 2000, the VSI is a joint, five-year, $94.6-million initiative between the Government of Canada and the voluntary sector. The long-term objective of the VSI is to strengthen the voluntary sector's capacity to meet the challenges of the future, and to enhance the relationship between the sector and the federal government in order to better serve Canadians.
For more information on the Voluntary Sector Initiative's IM/IT Joint Table report, please visit http://www.vsi-isbc.org/eng/joint_tables/im_it/index.cfm.
For more information, please contact:
Co-chair, IM/IT Joint Table