A Glossary of Terms for the Voluntary SectortAccountability is the capacity to account for one's actions; or as a representative of one's organization, to account for either your actions or the actions of your organization. The term is usually used in the voluntary sector to refer to the responsibility a non-profit organization has to inform donors of the manner in which their gifts were used.Advocacy is the act or process of defending or maintaining a cause or proposal. An organization may have advocacy as its mission (or part of its mission) to increase public awareness of a particular issue or set of issues.
tAn Annual General Meeting (AGM) is normally the most important meeting an organization has each year. The governing board, executive director, and the general membership are normally present at an AGM. Board of Directors - a group of persons chosen to govern the affairs of a non-profit organization. Paid professionals and volunteer members can comprise an organizations board.
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tCapacity Building is the process of building the potential for voluntary organizations to respond to the needs of the community they serve.
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tCharity, as a noun, refers to a kind of non-profit organization that solicits and is able to accept donations or gifts from individual and corporate donors. A registered charity is a charity which has successfully applied to the federal government under the Income Tax Act for charitable status. An organization benefits from obtaining chartiable status because it possesses the privilege of issuing official receipts to donors for their monetary contribution. This donor can, in turn, submit the receipt to Revenue Canada for a tax exemption.Community Capacity combines building people's commitment and skills to build on strengths within the community to address problems and react to potential opportunities.
tCommunity Development is more than just economic development (although economic development is included). Community development is the process or effort of building communities on a local level with emphasis on building the economy, forging and strengthening social ties, and developing the non-profit sector. Corporate Sponsorship means group sponsorship, normally from the business community. Corporate sponsorship is often done in exchange for publicity. Donor - a person, group or organization that gives or donates something, usually funding, to a charity. A volunteer can "donate" services or time to help solicit further funding from sponsors.
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tEconomic Development is any effort or undertaking which aids in the growth of the economy. Executive Director - a person employed by a non-profit organization to oversee operations and management and implement the policy decisions of the Board of Directors.
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tA Foundation is an organization or institution established by an endowment. It exists to distribute grant money to voluntary organizations or individuals, alloting some of the funds to provide for its future subsistence. Gifts in-kind are donations made to an organization in some form other than money. Some examples of gifts in-kind include labour, land, food, clothing, office space, furniture, or advertising. Gifts in-kind may also be called in-kind donations.
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tGovernance, in the non-profit sector, refers to the actions of the volunteer board of directors of an organization with respect to establishing and monitoring the long-term direction of that organization. Grant - a sum of money given by a donor to support the work outlined in the Mission Statement or objective of a Non-Profit Organization.
tIndependent Sector is another name for the non-profit or voluntary sector. The term comes to us from the social sciences, specifically political science, where it is closely related to the term third sector. The first sector is normally government, the second, business or the private sector, and the third is the independent sector.
tInfrastructure is the base or foundation of a world system (ie. economy, society, organization). It is the basic equipment required for a particular system to function.
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tIYV (International Year of Volunteers 2001) While the United Nations has announced that 2001 is International Year of Volunteers, the Government of Canada has launched its own publicity campaign to promote and celebrate volunteering.
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tLetter of Inquiry (LOI) There are numerous kinds of letters of inquiry, but in the context of this glossary it refers to a letter submitted to a granting foundation prior to submission of a grant proposal. Successful LOIs result in invitations to submit detailed proposals. Granting agencies sometimes invite LOIs first rather than detailed proposals or applications. See also Query Letter.
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tA Mission Statement is a brief statement outlining the specific task(s) for which a group has charged itself.
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tNational Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating (NSGVP) The NSGVP is a comprehensive national study which shows who Canada's donors and volunteers are, how Canadians give and volunteer, which organizations they support, and their motivations for giving and volunteering. It is a joint project of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, Canadian Heritage, Human Resources Development Canada, Volunteer Canada, Health Canada, Statistics Canada, and the Kahanoff Foundation's Non-profit Sector Research Initiative. It is also an excellent public resource for volunteers, researchers, educators, and anyone interested in Canada's voluntary sector. See the NSGVP website. NGO (Non-governmental organization) is almost synonymous with non-profit or voluntary organization. The term is, however, most commonly used in Anglo-America to refer to international development agencies. In Quebec or Europe it still suggests emphasis on international development, but may be more broadly understood to also refer to voluntary organizations.
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tNon-profit may refer to an organization or the entire sector. Non-profit means not conducted or maintained for the purpose of making a profit. Instead, it operates to serve a public good. Any net earnings by a non-profit organization are used by the organization for the purposes of which it was established. As an entire sector, non-profits include hospitals, universities, trade organizations, voluntary associations and religious organizations. Not-for-profit organization is a synonym for non-profit organization.A Non-profit Organization is an organization governed by a volunteer board of directors, and whose business is not conducted for profit. Organizations of this type are said to belong to the non-profit or third sector, which is to say, they are neither government (public sector) nor business (private sector).
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tPhilanthropy is the effort or quality of promoting human welfare.Policy - a course or principle of action adopted by a government, party, business or individual.
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tA Portal is a gate or doorway. In the context of the Internet, a portal is a website that offers an entry point to other websites. Portals often include a search engine. A Query Letter is a brief letter outlining an organization's activities and its request for funding. Such letters are sent to a potential funding agency to determine if it would be appropriate to submit a full grant proposal or application. Many funding agencies prefer to be contacted initially in this way prior to receiving a complete proposal. See also Letter of Inquiry.Request for Proposal (RFP) When a government issues a new contract or grant program, it sends out RFPs to agencies that it believes may be qualified to participate. An RFP lists project specifications and application procedures. While a few foundations occasionally use RFPs in specific fields, most prefer to consider proposals that are initiated by applicants. A Sector is a distinctive part or division, in this case, of the economy. We commonly divide the economy into three sectors: the private (business), public (government), and the non-profit (or voluntary) sector. Sponsor - A person or organization, usually a business, that supports an activity by pledging money in advance.Social Capital is the attitude, spirit and willingness of people to engage in collective, civic activities. Over time, social capital builds what may be termed as social infrastructure, a key item discussed in the Strategic Social Plan.
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tSocial Cohesion is the ongoing process of developing a community of shared values, shared challenges and equal opportunities within Canada, based on a sense of trust, hope and reciprocity among all Canadians. Social Development encompasses a commitment to individual well-being and volunteerism, and the opportunity for citizens to determine their own needs and to influence decisions which affect them. Social development incorporates public concerns in developing social policy and economic initiatives. Social Policy is that part of public policy that has to do with issues more narrowly construed as social: public welfare, public access to social programs, etc. Strategic Social Plan In short, the Strategic Social Plan is a framework for responding to the needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in a coherent, effective way. The plan was partly based on the work of the Social Policy Advisory Committee and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, which held public consultations throughout the province, prior to releasing its report in 1998. The plan outlines three interrelated strategies: building on community and regional strengths, integrating social and economic development, and investing in people. All of this happens best when people have access to employment, basic services, and when the existing social infrastructure (such as it may be) is accessible to them.non-profit, or voluntary sector is known (government and the private sector being the first two sectors).
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tVoluntary, Community-based Sector (sometimes called the non-profit, not-for-profit, voluntary sector, or the civil society or social economy) comprises a broad array of organizations, institutions, agencies and collectives, including charities, cooperatives, religious groups, health, education and social service providers, self-help and mutual aid groups, social justice groups, environmental, cultural, arts, recreation, sports, and professional associations such as chambers of commerce.
A Voluntary Organization is an organization with a volunteer board of directors, which includes virtually all not-for-profit associations, from informal associations to registered charities. Hospitals and universities are normally excluded from this designation and fit into the more general category of non-profit.
Voluntary Sector The voluntary sector is comprised of self-governing organizations that exist to serve a public benefit and generate social capital. The Voluntary Sector relies heavily on the efforts of volunteers in carrying out its mandate. In addition, it is independent of the formal structures of government or the profit sector.
Some organizations are registered charities, some are incorporated non-profit organizations, and others still exist independent of these classifications. Organizations may range from small community-based groups to large, national umbrella organizations, and their work may include delivering services, advocating on behalf of community causes, encouraging self-help, facilitating international, community and economic development, advancing religious faith and practice, or raising funds and providing financial support to other voluntary organizations. Although many organizations rely on paid staff to carry out their work, all depend on a volunteer board of directors to provide governance.
tVoluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) The VSI is a joint initiative between the voluntary sector and the Government of Canada. The objective 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. The VSI is a response to changing conditions for the voluntary sector. Voluntary organizations are under pressure to deliver a greater number of services and raise larger amounts of money to support their activities. The sector is facing difficult challenges such as adapting to the information age, recruiting volunteers among a population that is more pressed for time than ever and ensuring that organizations have the resources and expertise to continue to work effectively.
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One of the goals of the VSI is to streamline and reform regulations such as income tax reporting requirements for small voluntary organizations.
tA Volunteer is one who enters into or offers themselves for a service of their own free will; or it can be an organization relating to, or composed of volunteers. Volunteer Canada website
tVolunteerism is the theory, act, or practice of being a volunteer or of using volunteers in community service work. A Vortal is a portal Web site that provides information and resources for a particular industry, group or subject area.
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