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Resource Central July 2005: Online Resources You Can Use

(July 25, 2005) Resource Central is an occasional feature that highlights resources and research that may be of interest to certain segments of AFP membership. This information is provided to assist AFP members, but its inclusion does not represent an endorsement or recommendation by AFP.

Below you will find information on the following:

  1. Calgary's Voluntary Sector
  2. Cause Communications' Toolkit
  3. Rural and Urban Civic Participation
  4. Volunteer Canada Website

Calgary's Voluntary Sector

The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) has released Strength Under Stress: A Portrait of Calgary's Voluntary Sector. The study provides a snapshot of nonprofits in Calgary and is meant to complement other national studies that have examined the entire Canadian voluntary sector.

Calgary has approximately 2,300 registered charities and more than 4,000 other types of nonprofit and grassroots organizations. The report found that many of these groups experience the same types of challenges faced by nonprofits across the country: lack of sustainable funding; concerns over human resources, including the ability to pay competitive wages; management of relationships and partnerships; and maintaining physical infrastructure and information technology.

The study was based on more than 25 qualitative interviews with a diverse group of nonprofit organizations in Calgary. The study is available online free of charge in PDF format at the CCVO website.

Cause Communications' Toolkit

Cause Communications is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit firm in Santa Monica, Calif., that develops a wide variety of communications, marketing, advertising and public relations materials for nonprofits. The organization has created a comprehensive communications toolkit that covers crisis planning, message development, advertising, advocacy, fundraising, special events and media relations.

The toolkit was based on discussions with 150 nonprofit leaders and senior communications staff. To test the findings from these conversations, the firm also distributed a communications survey to 3,000 nonprofits of various sizes and received more than 300 responses.

The 70-plus page toolkit, along with accompanying charts, can be ordered free of charge by going to the Cause Communications website. Nonprofits can also download a PDF version at the website.

(Editor's note: AFP's National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) Chapter Media Guide, which was created to help chapters generate media attention for their NPD events, contains communications ideas and resources that also may be helpful to any charity.)

Rural and Urban Civic Participation

New data about the differences between Canada's urban and rural citizens and their social engagement and participation have been released by Statistics Canada in its Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis Bulletin.

The study looks at such issues as trust, social participation with family and neighbors, volunteerism, political involvement and sense of belonging and community. With respect to volunteerism, 57 percent of individuals in rural areas indicated they were a member of or participant in at least one voluntary organization, compared with 52 percent of urban residents. The difference is much smaller than previous research and anecdotal information had indicated and is less than that reported in the United States.

The data used in the study were taken from Cycle 17 of the General Social Survey, a Statistics Canada program that gathers data on social subjects in order to monitor changes in the living conditions and well-being of Canadians over time. The study is available online free of charge at the Statistics Canada website.

Volunteer Canada Website

Volunteer Canada is an association of more than 200 volunteer centres across Canada, and its website contains a number of resources related to volunteerism and volunteer management.

Just some of the materials that can be found on the website include a code for volunteer management, guidebooks for recruiting volunteers of any demographic (older, youth, families, immigrants, etc.) and a variety of tips and fact sheets on keeping volunteers interested and excited about supporting your organization. The website contains a database of volunteering opportunities, as well as research on volunteerism in Canada.

The Volunteer Canada website can be found here, while volunteer management resources on the Volunteer Canada website are here.

AFP's Resource Center

Do not forget that AFP's Resource Center is available to research your specific needs. Requests for information can be submitted by phone, email or fax. The center will then research and prepare the best customized response based on the materials it has available. If you plan to be in the Washington, DC area, you can visit the Resource Center and research topics on-site.

Resource Center services are free to AFP members. Nonmembers pay a nominal research fee.

Center highlights include:

  • More than 3,200 reference works and periodicals on fundraising and development
  • Specialized research by Resource Center staff
  • Computerized database to survey the library collection and access bibliographies
  • Ethics information and consultant lists
  • Free fax service for members (up to five pages)
  • On-site access to the AFP library

Call toll-free at (800) 688-FIND from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern) Monday through Friday.

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