The vision of NLI is “to foster dynamic leadership in the voluntary sector –
effective, responsive, and accountable – for a vibrant democracy and caring, inclusive
communities, by enhancing human resource development, through accessible, relevant education
and training opportunities.” The project is funded by the Government of Canada through
the Capacity Joint Table of the Voluntary Sector Initiative. The current fiduciary for
the NLI is the Community Foundations of Canada.
The NLI has identified core skills/competencies for sector leaders and developed an
inventory of learning opportunities across Canada. Three documents have been produced
based on discussions with 64 voluntary sector leaders from a range of organizations, who
participated in five regional workshops across Canada. A brochure, entitled “National
Learning Initiative: A National Skills and Learning Framework for the Voluntary Sector”,
provides background information on the development of the core competencies. A discussion
document, Voluntary Sector Leadership Competencies: Examples, Current Challenges &
Complexities, & Learning Outcomes, presents ideas and encourages dialogue on
the required core competencies for leadership in the voluntary sector. The report, What
Do Voluntary Sector Leaders Do?, released in July 2003, summarizes the research
process. In addition to this work, several human resources tools designed to assist Boards
of Directors with hiring and performance appraisal for their Executive Directors have
been developed, and can be found in the document entitled Leadership
in the Voluntary Sector: Human Resources Tools.
Over the past year, the NLI has experimented with stimulating voluntary sector leadership
development through three pilot projects:
1) Calgary – Using a facilitated peer learning circle to strengthen job performance
and enhancing job satisfaction in Executive Directors (access the Strengthening
the Capacity Of Executive Directors report);
2) British Columbia – Learning to Lead: Developing a Learning Culture within the
Voluntary sector (access the Learning and Leading:
Transforming the Voluntary Sector through Learning and Leading report); and
3) a Pan-Canadian Leadership School offered in four diverse Canadian communities: Yellowknife,
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ottawa (for franco-ontariens), and Nova Scotia (access the Pan-Canadian
Pilot Project Final Report).
The Capacity Joint Table Advisory Committee
is working to contribute to a better understanding of challenges facing the sector and
to develop ways of strengthening the sector’s capacity to attract, optimize and
hold top talent. The National Learning Initiative (NLI) is one of the two projects on
skills development and recruitment that the Advisory Committee is overseeing; the other
is Developing Human Resources in the Voluntary Sector (HRVS).
For further information on the National Learning Initiative, please go to www.hrvs.ca,
and follow the links to the National Learning Initiative.