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Vancouver Needs a Freelancer’s Co-op – Here’s How and Why

By | Cooperatives Work, Social Enterprise, Social Impact, Strategy and Advice | 4 Comments

There’s something that many people in Vancouver know and experience daily: the life of a freelancer or a consultant. Our economy, while vibrant, is pushing people into nontraditional working relationships: we’re no longer getting full-time jobs that allow for advancement within a company; instead, we’re getting short-term contracts that are precarious, coupled with an environment that’s reluctant to hire permanent employees.

This has some interesting outcomes: first, there’s an increasing crowd of freelancers and consultants in Vancouver. Some really cool outcomes come from this: people are unafraid to work together in unique ways, and organizations get the best talent they can, albeit on a reduced commitment timeframe. However, there’s a significant downside: the life of a consultant or freelancer isn’t stable, and it lacks more than just stability – freelance jobs rarely have extended health benefits, put most of the administration work (invoicing, accounting, legal review) onto the hands of the freelancer or consultant. That part isn’t fun.

But there’s a way we can make it easier – if we build up a Freelancer and Consultant’s Co-op. The co-op could handle things that we all need, as freelancers and consultants: extended health benefits, accounting, legal review, infrastructure for billing, and more. The co-op could partner with a coworking space so that freelancers has a place to call home, and the co-op could provide services to all those workers, too.

The idea is simple: there’s services we all need as freelancers and consultants. We can provide them by working together in a cooperative fashion. Read More

How do we build a truly sharing economy and not a sharecropping one?

By | Cooperatives Work, Impact Investing, Sharing Economy, Social Enterprise, Social Impact, Strategy and Advice | No Comments

I’ve written before about the sharing economy in a bunch of different places. I think it’s a problematic term, one that perhaps even needs to go away. The challenge with that, of course, is that it has a certain amount of stickiness – people are interested in the idea of sharing instead of individually consuming, and working together instead of working against each other.

One side of this equation is hope in a collaborative economy that actually makes a difference in the world; the other side is an entrenchment of exploitation. In my mind, the sharing economy is in a liminal space at the moment: it can grow the good, or as Rebeca Solnit put it so well, it could continue to be the “sharecropping economy,” because that’s where it is at the moment.

So how do we get there? Read More

Don’t Let Robert’s Rules Rule Your Meetings

By | Governance, Leadership, Strategy and Advice, Tips | No Comments

So, social enterprise and social impact organization folks, hands up if you’ve ever had this experience: you’re in a critical or an important meeting and the discussion on the issue that must be decided gets derailed because of an argument over whether the sub-amendment can be made to the main motion and whether or not there needs to be a seconder to the friendly amendment.

What’s just happened is that you’ve crossed the rubicon between using Robert’s Rules to help guide your meeting and letting Robert’s Rules rule your meeting. This isn’t a good line to cross. Your organization’s rules of order should be flexible, with a goal of enabling good, productive discussion in order to succeed – they shouldn’t be things that derail discussions.

I’ve got some simple suggestions that you can use very quickly to make your meetings more productive, by not letting Roberts’ Rules rule your meetings. Read on for more! Read More

I removed a lot of stress in my work life with one simple app

By | and Tricks to Increase Impact, Social Media | No Comments

Over the past few weeks, I noticed that my stress level had been ramping up. I wasn’t entirely certain why, because things were going well: I had been productive, I had been having lots of meetings, things had been going well.

But something clicked, as I was sending an email in response to an email in response to a whole chain of emails asking to set a meeting to talk about something. This was the issue.

Strangely, a lot of my stress comes from needing to find a way to set times to meet: you have to hold three different options, then none are available, and finally the meeting gets scheduled at a time where you have to re-arrange everything else. It’s horrifying, and inefficient.

So I found an app to help out, and I’ve honestly felt a lot less stressed about meetings as of late. Read on to hear about it. Read More

Inclusion in products and services means equitable access

By | Social Enterprise, Social Impact, What we're reading | No Comments

As social enterprises and social impact organizations often have members, clients, supporters, or audiences that have different abilities and different capacities, we need to think a lot about how we make our products and services accessible to the people we’re aiming to support and serve.

And equitable access means different things in different contexts. Vancouver’s transit agency, Translink, is currently in the process of demonstrating exactly what inclusion doesn’t mean as they launch their faregate turnstile program called “Compass Card.” If you’re launching a social impact product or service, you need to make sure that it’s equally accessible to all. Read More

We’re launching something exciting

By | Projects, Sharing Economy, Social Enterprise, Social Impact | No Comments

This is a bit of an odd blog post – I’m super excited to tell you about something cool that the Incipe Cooperative is launching because I think it’s going to change our game about how we help social enterprises and social impact organizations grow and expand the difference they make in their communities. However, we’re still putting the finishing touches on our new project – and awaiting some approvals to really get it ready to launch.

But, there’s some that I can tell you. It all ties into our goal to support the vibrant culture of social impact that we see arising in BC, across Canada, and around the world – a vibrant community of changemakers working towards exciting projects. Read More

Do onboarding well: increase your impact

By | Building Success, Leadership, Social Enterprise, Social Impact, What we're reading | No Comments

The Globe and Mail recently ran an article about Vancity Credit Union’s onboarding sessions – the immersion program that the credit union offers to all of its staff and even its Board of Directors when they join the organization. From a read of that article, it seems like an awesome program. I’ve been involved in some activities around it, and I can echo many of the impactful statements that were made.

There’s a key takeaway that you can get from this short but informative piece. How you bring people into your organization matters – it’s first impressions, but on an important new level. When it comes to bringing people into social impact organizations, you can be build a culture for impact, if you do your onboarding well. You can even increase your impact by building a culture of engagement and empowerment. Read on to find out how. Read More

Map your actions on our free impact/effort assessment tool

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Once you’ve built out your social enterprise or impact organization’s strategic plan, you’re faced with the challenge of figuring out which of your tasks are the most immediately impactful and that you can get out and start working on. The idea of picking some goals off of your strategic plan and running with them is exciting – exhilarating even! – but it can be super, super tough. Which opportunities do you run with first? Which ones will allow you to demonstrate impact, quickly?

We’ve got a couple of solutions for you that we’re happy to share. Today, I want to share our free Impact/Effort Assessment tool – read on for more, and how to put it to use in your organization.  Read More

Being connected to other social impact leaders is empowering

By | Social Impact | No Comments

I think that we all know that connections with other people are powerful – they form a social fabric in which we exist, and they can build a network that we can rely on for inspiration, action, and support. I think this is why I’m already intensely enjoying my experience in the RADIUS SFU Fellowship in Radical Doing – that connection to other leaders and emerging leaders who are doing amazing things. As an introverted person, I’m normally not at my best when I’m in a big crowd – but this crowd is full of amazing people.

This experience leads me to think that a special kind of connection – of networking, if you will – could be very valuable for social impact leaders.  Read More

A powerful question to revitalize your passion for impact

By | Leadership, Social Impact | No Comments

This weekend, I joined my colleagues in the SFU RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing at a retreat at Crescent Beach. The retreat was a program launch retreat – it combined goals of introducing us to each other and to the program, but to also start getting us to think about what we wanted to develop over the course of the program.  Our program leader, Tamara, had us do one exercise that I thought was particularly powerful – all based on question that seemed to simple as to be innocuous.

However, that one question gave me a burst of inspiration and revitalized my passion for change. Read on, and I’ll share that question, and tell you how you and your organization should ask it of yourselves. It’s really that simple and that powerful. Read More