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Every bit counts.

Since 1959, the United Nations has designated international years to draw attention to international issues. With the support of over 100 countries, 2001 was declared International Year of the Volunteer in recognition of the contribution of millions of volunteers around the world.

This year will provide Canadians with the chance to demonstrate their accomplishments through voluntary action and to showcase their dedication. While non-profit centres across the country are leading the way in highlighting the positive and central role volunteerism plays in every community, this sector also has its fair share of challenges.

The competition for donor dollars and human resources and an increase in the demand for services and public accountability are putting financial stress on Canada's non-profits, making it increasingly difficult for the voluntary sector to fulfil its promise on our behalf. In response to these challenges, this month's cover story, "Managing a Good Cause," considers a strategic management agenda which these organizations might successfully address if they are to prevail.

Volunteer organizations play a crucial rote in promoting the social and economic welfare of our society. In recognition of this, the Canadian government has taken an active role in helping them realize their goals. In the February 1998 budget, the government created the Voluntary Sector Network Support Program (VolNet), which is designed to enable voluntary organizations to access and use Internet technologies to further their own missions.

There are approximately 175,000 non-profits in Canada, and like for-profit organizations, they too must develop an online presence if they are to survive in today's economy. Recent studies show that 65% of Canada's voluntary agencies are still not online. Of those connected, 75% say they need improved skills development to make more efficient use of the Internet.

VolNet hopes to connect 10,000 of these organizations by March 31 through some 30 VolNet delivery agencies established across the country. Other objectives of the support program include:

* Increase voluntary organization's awareness of the benefit and strategic importance of the Internet;

* Enhance the sector's ability to share information with other voluntary organizations, governments and other major stakeholders;

* Address the barriers to using the Internet -- which may result from the social inequities of race, poverty, gender, disability, age, or language -- by helping voluntary organizations that are working in these areas access and use the Internet;

* Where appropriate, assist non-profits to empower their constituents through the use of the Internet; and

* Ensure that organizations become aware of the need for a strategy to sustain the use of the Internet in the organization.

As we enter the Year of the Volunteer, Canadians should think about how they can contribute -- both collectively in their organizations and individually as members of their community. Every bit counts.

On a final note, you will no doubt notice a few modifications to the cover of this issue of CMA Management magazine. This is in preparation for circulating CMA Management through newstands across Canada. The next issue will be the first to hit newsstands, making our strategic business ideas available to a wider audience while providing even more exposure for CMAs. As usual, the first issue in our next volume (75) will be published for February 2001; however, the cover date will be March 2001 to accommodate newsstand distribution deadlines. Please note that the normal 10 issues will be published for Volume 75, 50 you won't miss a single edition. We are very excited about this opportunity and look forward to making the jump!

Kristin Doucet

COPYRIGHT 2000 Society of Management Accountants of Canada
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:International Year of the Volunteer
Author:Doucet, Kristin
Publication:CMA Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 1, 2000
Previous Article:E-Accountability.
Next Article:CARE: Energize Your Company with Empathy.

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