Do Good Challenge continues

shopThis week I was preparing to move and realized I had a few purchases to make.  Yes I looked at these purchases and first asked if I really needed them (I did).  Then Iset out to buy  – and decided this could be my do good activity of the week. Michael Hobbes in this Huffington Post article, The Myth of the Ethical Shopper argues ethical shopping is not the way to make companies change unethical practices.  Nonetheless, I decided to make my purchases ethically.  Now it seems there’s no ethical chart rating website for Canadian stores (bummer!) so you have to do some research yourself.  In the end I went with local, non-big box stores for my purchases, and looked in 2nd hand shops first – reduce, reuse, recycle before buying.

I felt better about my purchases and ended up saving a bit of money by my attempts to be ethical.

If you’d like to read more on the topic here is the World Vision report on ethical shopping.

Also you can apparently look up what you want to buy and find healthier choices here;  Personally I still believe smart consumption can positively impact our environment and workplace so I’ll continue to do so.





The Slacktivist Activist – Do Good Challenge continues

The Do-Good challenge continues this week as I revisit slacktivist activism – hmm, an oxymoron?  Anyway petitions/ surveys are classics tools of the slacktivist and this week I found a ESDC survey asking for individuals input on Reducing Poverty in Canada.  I think the survey might be open for the month of June.

If you’re between the age of 12 and 24 there is a #Reduce Poverty in Canada social media contest.  You submit a great idea to reduce poverty by Aug. 14th and you might win…going to a conference?  Not really certain, but hey you’d be doing huge good by suggesting your awesome idea.

More on slactivism and petitions next time.  🙂



Turning activism into Doing Good (stuff)

When figuring out what to do for my act of positive activism this week I thought maybe the definition of the word activism might help me.  Merriam-Webster dictionary says it is a, “…doctrine or practise that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.” ( .  Now you may have noticed my weekly acts are not exactly vigorous, so perhaps a challenge rename is in the works – maybe the doing good challenge. Same terms – one thing a week.  It also could be termed the slacktivism challenge, but hey, it’s a slippery slope to activism.

So this week I decided to try micro-volunteering – “small acts of charity that can add up to significant social change” (Susan Fish).*  I’d read of where for every question answered correctly 10 grains of rice is donated through the World Food Program to end hunger.  The day I played someone had earned 5500 grains of rice for the program!  It’s pretty easy and quick and you can change subjects too.





+ Act of Activism 2 – Meetings?

You may see the word “meeting” and cringe.  Perhaps you think meetings as traditionally boring, mindless, as the direct opposite of activism – action, movement.  But this week I attended one meetings that couldn’t be categorized as per above, and maybe to be perfectly honest they were more in the way of events than meetings.

The first was KW Awesome.  Check and see if you have an Awesome group in your city – I know the city of London had one in the past, not sure about elsewhere.  Anyway these Awesome groups are well, awesome.  Each meeting there are pitches to “trustees” to fund their idea.  Trustees are regular members of the community such as you and I who pitch in $100 each so the winning group walks away with $1000.  This is a fun event to support because you hear great new ideas and concepts percolating in your community – there was an Africa camp pitch, an arts festival pitch and more.


Next small act of activism (notice how they don’t have to be big) besides buying a local magazine at a second hand bookstore (nice!) was attending an event I thought was to be a meeting but was really an event.  Tomorrow, June 5th, is World Environment Day.   Bet ya didn’t know that.  Anyway in celebration of this some of our local environment groups congregated together today to update, inform, inspire, etc.  And good on the city of Kitchener a staffer was there to discuss the urban forest plan.  Note to the City of Waterloo, this might be a good bus for you to get on (apparently they don’t have one).  Anyway my little act of positive activism was giving some feedback and input on it.  If you live in the City of Kitchener here is more information on urban forestry and the current strategy.


Individual Acts of Activism

Pledge once a week to do an individual (or group) act of + activism.

Feeling a bit cynical these days?  Wondering why no one seems to see a problem and do something about it?  I hear ya.  That’s why this week starts my pledge to do a little act of activism every week.


Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Yet immediately excuses come to mind.  Oh, I’d clean up that stack of garbage by the pond but I want someone to come with me.  Or who would pick up the garbage bags (we are limited to a two garbage bag pick up in my region)?  The excuses pile up.  Ha! suddenly I’m not so cynical when I have to take responsibility for my actions and  do something to make the world a better place.  You can too!  In fact I invite you to take this pledge with me.

This week is actually a pretty easy act of individual activism.  I’m going to blog about how to find acts of activism (or how to volunteer – not one and the same of course).

See you soon.

Capacity Building and the New Social Good Professional


(Note: I recently heard a drive is on to define the nonprofit sector not by what we aren’t but by what we are, so social good is replacing non-profit in this text)

Trying to navigate the many resources of the social good sector can be confusing and time-consuming for any new social good professional.  There are excellent resources, even excellent free Canadian resources around social good topics out there.   This blog attempts to expose some of these.  In times when training is reduced or bypassed hopefully this blog will open up a sharing of further excellent social good sector resources and ideas to build our own individual and consequently sector’s capacity. 

This article looks at advocacy, policy and evaluation.  The next one will look at volunteer management and social innovation.  The final will jump into conferences and possibly books.  Data Canadian unless noted otherwise.

If you are interested in the activist lens of work in the social good field, this resource is for you.  It is from Greenpeace (not Greenpeace Canada) and again the resources are free.  Resources include a mobilisation cookbook and recent article/ research “Beyond the First Click: How Today’s Volunteers Build Power for Movements and NGO’s”;  Tools on organizing and mobilizing are inset.

Now for those who love policy and wish to delve into policy work with social good organizations I’m told the Max Bell Foundation’s training is fantastic.  Also exciting, I’m told they are writing a book on this to come out possibly this year!

Continuing on the policy stream Maytree is an organization, “committed to advancing systemic solutions to poverty and strengthening civic communities.” ( It is based in Toronto and their civic literacy toolkit resource is somewhat Toronto focused but still handy.  They also house the “5 Good Ideas” snippets which are useful for new social good professionals;  For instance Sunil Johal provides 5 Good Ideas about Public Policy.  Other snippets relate to human resources, budgeting and more.   According to Maytree’s January media release they will also soon house Caledon Institute’s body of work.  What is very cool about Caledon is their Canada Social Report which sought to fill the gap left by insufficient recent census data.  For instance click on poverty reduction strategies, then Ontario and you’ll find a summary of the poverty reduction strategies currently in place (other provinces and territories included as well) in Ontario.  The Canada Social Report covers Youth, Labour Force and Employment, Welfare in Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Minimum wages, Disability Data and more;

Now of course policy and advocacy often go hand in hand, so moving into more advocacy type resources we find the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) houses a government relations portal.  “CCVO promotes and strengthens the nonprofit and voluntary sector by developing and sharing resources and knowledge, building connections, leading collaborative work, and giving voice to critical issues affecting the sector.” ( The municipal resources are restricted to Calgary and the provincial resources to Alberta but the Government Relations toolkit serves all.  The toolkit includes articles on “How to…Meet with Parliamentarians”, how to participate in public policy and more;

If you are interested in advocacy and evaluation you might want to stop by the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) site.  “The Ontario Nonprofit Network  is the provincial network for the approximately 55,000 nonprofit organizations across Ontario. As a 7,000-strong provincial network, with a volunteer base of 300 sector leaders, ONN brings the diverse voices of the sector to government, funders and business to create and influence systemic change.” ( By the way the ONN posts transcripts of their annual conference post-event;  This is so awesomely collaborative and capacity building.  Way to go ONN.  You will find highlights on evaluation and advocacy and evaluation in the session highlights. Anyway in ONN’s resource section they also include a resource on trends- a 2015 trends analysis called, “Leadership in Changing Times”.  The evaluation resources include among other links an evaluation literature guide while the advocacy resources include a link on Advocacy Rules;

While at the ONN conference the Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network presented on measuring advocacy impact.  They also made available free on their website a monitoring, evaluation and learning guide on legal advocacy;

I’d be remiss in an article on social good resources not to mention Imagine Canada’s Sector Source. Sector Source also has a glossary and search function.   The search results can be overwhelming but you can filter by subject or use advanced search to search by year, etc.  Sector Source also carries Sector Monitor which is a snapshot view of the charitable sector since 2009.   Evaluation and Research also has tip sheets (some less recent) on focus groups, program evaluation, survey research and questionnaire design.   The Charitable Research section includes links to sector journals. It carries Volunteerism data particularly Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating results since 1997.  It holds topic guides on  board governance, finance and administration, fundraising, staff management, voluntary involvement, starting an organization, charity tax tools, Imagine Canada Standards; 

In the next blog post we’ll look at volunteer management and social innovation resources for the new social good professional

Coming to a Canada near you?

In honour of Canada Day this week, here is one thing on my wishlist for Canada – The Taproot Foundation.  What the heck is The Taproot Foundation you say?  Yes, it has nothing to do with dancing.


The Taproot Foundation

The concept behind this organization is so brilliant and common sensical you two will wonder why it hasn’t arrived in Canada.  Basically they match up skilled volunteers who volunteer their skills (eek – who taught that girl grammar) pro-bono to build the capacity of non-profit organizations.

Now if you live in Toronto Endeavour Consulting does this in a smaller way.  But no one does it on a systemic nation-wide manner in Canada like Taproot does in the  U.S.

We’ll return to this idea next week when we return to focus on the state of volunteering in Canada.

What do you think of this idea?  A no-brainer or ….Let us know!