Manon Germain, Network Coordinator of the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) had 25 Volunteer Centres, and affiliate organizations to coordinate for the ChangeTheWorld (CTW) campaign. CTW: ‘Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge’ is a three-week campaign with one goal: get high school students to volunteer in their community. The campaign kicks off annually during National Volunteer Week in April. For 2012, the target was to engage 25,000 students in Ontario to volunteer 75,000 hours. Ontario is a huge province; it would take about three days to get from Thunder Bay to Cornwall via Toronto and you would still have missed all of Southwestern Ontario. They needed to collaborate, collect and share information and keep everyone happy . . . all at the same time and over great distances.
Manon introduced ‘The OVCN Space’, an online community for OVCN 6 weeks before the launch of the ChangeTheWorld Campaign during National Volunteer Week; which was a courageous effort because it can take a year or more to get a community off the ground. However Manon was enthusiastic about the possibilities, and in collaboration with OVCN colleagues she used a combination of webinars and personal visits to get all the offices involved and to help them get started in the community ‘Space’. CTW was a success, 27,961 students’ volunteered 123,987 hours! The online community library was filled with good feedback including lots of photos / videos and OVCN now has a community that they can rely on next year with member profiles, groups, discussions and a growing body of knowledge, memories and success stories. They are now considering going the next step and opening a public community ‘Space’ to encourage Youth driven information sharing, networking and community building as the success continues. Next step . . . crowdsourcing!
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