Arts Council joins Volunteer Centre

 At their March Board of Directors meeting, the Oliver Community Arts Council (OCAC) voted unanimously to take advantage of a membership in the South Okanagan Similkameen Volunteer Centre. 

The South Okanagan Similkameen Volunteer Centre is a registered non-profit Society designed to build community through the advocacy and promotion of volunteerism. Community Liaison Corinne Janow of Oliver (pictured below) has been working closely with the council, making a presentation at the arts council’s recent AGM and answering questions about the services available.

Arts council president Penelope Johnson attended a Board Training workshop presented by the Volunteer Centre, and came away impressed with the personnel and resources available for training boards and for finding willing volunteers.  “The whole arts council improves as more Board members receive training in what makes a board effective, what makes an organization operate professionally. The Volunteer Centre also relieves us of a big burden by helping us recruit and maintain volunteers. Finally, for this initial year of membership at least, all fourteen of our arts groups receive the same benefits of training leadership and access to volunteers.”

OCAC Vice President Darryl MacKenzie made the decision easy for the Board of Directors when he explained, “The $135 annual fee pays for itself if just one new volunteer is found to work 10 – 15 hours.”  That does not even include access to free, low-cost or subsidized workshops and consulting services provided by the Volunteer Centre. MacKenzie, the curator of the Oliver Museum,  represents the Oliver and District Heritage Society on the arts council. This member group has already joined the Volunteer Centre as its own entity. MacKenzie described the decision to join as “a no-brainer”. The arts council Board agreed.

The Volunteer Centre supports non-profit organizations through a variety of services, including:

*advertising non profit volunteer positions to the public,
*providing training to boards of directors and managers of volunteers,
*helping to increase the overall pool of volunteers available,
*advocating on behalf of volunteer based organizations

The Centre will support volunteers by:

*providing a list of available volunteer opportunities
*helping them to understand their rights and responsibilities

Their Membership Programs and Services are:

* Webpage listing of volunteer opportunities
* Emailing opportunities to their volunteer database
* Newsletter Spotlight of organizations and opportunities
* Volunteer Fair (discounted registration fee)
* Listing in Volunteer Opportunities Directory
* Workshops
* Consulting Services (discounted fees for service)
* Resource library (request free custom information services)
* Use of Volunteer Centre Logo

Thanks to Corinne Janow, the SOS Volunteer Centre and its website for providing some of the informational content in this article. More information about the centre can be found at

OCAC Funding Available to Members

Are you an OCAC member planning a public arts event? A musical performance? A seminar or other instructional arts program? Need funding? As a registered charity, the OCAC offers Contracted Service Agreements every year to help fund activities that reflect the arts council’s constitutional mandate.  The application is available to all members of the arts council, not just member groups but also individuals and businesses who want to programme an event under the OCAC mandate and who require a funding boost. 

There are two parts to the application. The first is submitted before your event to seek funding approval. The second, in the event your event is approved, is submitted after the event showing the event took place. The application deadline is June 1, 2011 for arts events, performances and seminars occurring September 1, 2011 to August 31, 2012.  Last year, we received some applications for summer events taking place before September 1. While these applications were outside the funding period, we did grant funds to two events. If you are planning an event for this summer, please be aware that while we may fund you, you will not get confirmation of funding until mid-June, giving you little time for planning or preparation.

Unless otherwise requested, all funding will be received after the event has taken place, to help with billable expenses or to replace funds spent. Up to 50% of the funds can be made available up-front on a need basis. Please explain in your application if this is your case.

The Board will evaluate all applications at their June meeting and inform all applicants of the result by the end of June. There is approximately $1500 available and the maximum fee-for-service is $500 per application. Please consider your event budget carefully to judge what amount you need. The OCAC budget may not accommodate all applicants’ funding requests so the best applications will be selected on merit, reflection of the OCAC mandate, and demonstration of need. If you need assistance in writing a strong application, please contact the OCAC Board.

Want a copy of the CSA application or more information? Contact