Succession Planning Tips for Not-for-Profits

Succession planning is the process of passing important leadership roles to the next generation of members in an organization. Proper succession planning allows for the smooth transfer of responsibilities and tasks from existing members to the succeeding group. A succession plan is put in place to avoid scrambling before an annual meeting, trying to get a warm body in a seat at the board table. Different approaches as to how an organization can best transfer the required skills and knowledge to its upcoming members can be used; no single approach works for everyone.

Succession planning focuses on the jobs that are most crucial to the operations of the organization, and outlines how  roles and responsibilities are to  be handed down to the most qualified individuals. Often times, the individuals who take over lead roles do not have the same experience and knowledge that the current person in the position does, so succession planning helps to identify these gaps, and aid in the development of these successors. Continue reading Succession Planning Tips for Not-for-Profits

Downtown Revitalization Ticking Along in Gravenhurst

Downtowns are often the historical heart of communities across rural Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization program offers a framework for improving the physical, economic, and social well-being of those traditional town centres and their historic places and spaces.

The Town of Gravenhurst launched their Downtown Revitalization initiative with the support of OMAFRA in 2011. The vision for this initiative was to create a Town that offers economic sustainability, diversity, and cultural or geographic uniqueness. Through investment and support from the Town and OMAFRA, Gravenhurst’s Downtown Revitalization initiative has generated a number of positive impacts for the Town over the last several years of implementing its action plan.

These include: Continue reading Downtown Revitalization Ticking Along in Gravenhurst

Four Simple Considerations You Need for Performance Measurement Success

I recently had the opportunity to attend the PuMP Toronto Workshop. PuMP is a performance measurement process that was created by Stacy Barr and licenced to Adura Strategy in Canada. OMAFRA’s Rural Economic Development Branch provides performance measurement resources to our clients; I am a firm believer in the value that they bring to measuring an organization’s impact and am always eager to hear what new methods and techniques are available to do so.

This intimate workshop brought together public and private sector organizations from across Canada, (participants represented organizations from Calgary, AB to Saint John, NL and all points in between) to learn about effective techniques, using the PuMP performance measurement blueprint.

Here are my four takeaways after participating in the workshop: Continue reading Four Simple Considerations You Need for Performance Measurement Success

Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit

The first-ever “Teeny Tiny Summit” was held on March 30, 2016 in Seeley’s Bay. The summit was dedicated to community economic development in Ontario’s smallest places and was coordinated by the Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Teeny Tiny Places have the following characteristics:

  • Rural geography
  • Villages or hamlets with populations under 1000
  • No economic development staff
  • No strong drivers of economic growth
  • Stable or declining population

Continue reading Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit

Staff Profile: Darren Shock

Get to know our staff. We are profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas.

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?Darren

As an Economic Development Specialist, my role is to lead and develop economic development programs for the province’s rural municipalities. At the moment, I am the program lead for both the Downtown Revitalization (DR) program and the Economic Development Analysis Resources (EDAR) program (home to the Ministry’s Analyst tool). At times, this might include delivering program-specific training or offering technical assistance to communities in each of these program areas, but I mostly work with our excellent group of Agricultural and Rural Economic Development Advisors to assist communities with their key economic development challenges. Being based in the Guelph office of Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, I am lucky enough to have the responsibility to assist communities across the province with the implementation of these programs, so you never quite know where I might show up.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on?

Continue reading Staff Profile: Darren Shock

Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Attracting and retaining youth is one of the many challenges faced by rural communities.

The Newcomer and Youth Community Indicators is a tool that was designed to assist rural communities looking to better understand their attractiveness to both newcomers and youth. Screenshot18It is a free Excel-based tool that includes information for every municipality in Ontario. The tool was developed in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute and the Conference Board of Canada, and includes the most recent Statistics Canada data available.

The tool provides communities with comparative data that can help them make informed decisions and strategies for retaining and attracting youth. Few communities have an accurate picture of how they differ from their neighbours or other similar communities across the province. The tool allows communities to make decisions based on a sound understanding of their strengths and weaknesses compared to other communities. Continue reading Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Improving the Analyst User Experience

Data plays a number of roles in effective economic development. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs – in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) – has offered Ontario’s economic development community access to a full range of data to support regional analysis, strategic planning, and monitoring in a free, user-friendly tool called ‘Analyst’ since 2013. EMSI has recently developed a new version of that flagship tool to improve the user’s ability to find, assess, and report on regional economic data. Improvements focus on five key areas: Continue reading Improving the Analyst User Experience

E-Learning 4: Conflict Management- Minimize and Resolve Conflicts

Conflict is natural; everyone has their own views, values, opinions and ways of expressing conflict.PNGthemselves, which can often result in conflicting ideas. Conflict is also a good thing. Without people questioning certain aspects of scenarios or decisions, it would be very difficult to reach an optimal solution for all parties. The “Conflict Management” e-learning module is designed to help organizations minimize negative conflicts, as well as resolve them as they arise. Conflicts that are not handled properly can be detrimental to an organizations culture, efficiency, and overall success, and learning to deal with them in a professional manner is a crucial component of maintaining an organizations integrity.

This module offers three lessons which highlight different aspects of conflict management: Continue reading E-Learning 4: Conflict Management- Minimize and Resolve Conflicts

Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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Vicki Lass, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, presenting at the 2016 ORGA/ROMA annual conference

Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.

Key Factors for the project success:

  1. Influential Leadership
  2. Time Commitment
  3. Agreement on Common Elements

Continue reading Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Staff Profile: Kent Fitzhugh

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas.

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?Kent (2)

As an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, there are several facets to the position that make it such an interesting role within the Ministry. Promoting programs that support both agriculture and rural economic development allow me to interact with a wide demographic across Renfrew and Lanark Counties, as well as rural Ottawa.  I also help build networks, connecting my clients not only to subject matter experts within Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, but introducing them to resources that can be found in other ministries, as well as other levels of government.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on? Continue reading Staff Profile: Kent Fitzhugh

Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario