By Jonathan Martin
Ag groups need to engage their memberships to stay active and grow. To do accomplish that goal, they need strong leaders at the helm.
While some people are born with a few inherent leadership skills, honing them, developing new ones and learning to apply them are things everyone needs to practice.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) is developing a series of free online courses to achieve that outcome.
The non-profit group brought on Powerline Films, an Ontario-based video production company, to travel around to different OSCIA associations, interview members who are serving leadership roles and ask them to offer tips to people who may be walking into similar positions.
“Holding one-day workshops every time somebody enters a new role can get expensive,” Brittany Roka, OSCIA’s association development adviser, told Farms.com. She spearheaded the organization’s training initiative.
“Farmers are also very busy people. Sometimes they aren’t able to drop everything and go in for training. Being able to get it done at home is way more accessible.”
OSCIA will include other multimedia material alongside the videos, Roka said. That way, people with different learning styles will be able to use the information.
“The elements needed to run successful OSCIA meetings can be transferred to other organizations, too,” Rika said. “What a local secretary does is no different from what a secretary for OSCIA would do, for example. Anyone with an outside perspective can take tips from (the content), as long as they work in a non-profit ag setting.”
As regulations governing the structure and operation of not-for-profits changes, the content will too.
In 2017, the Ontario government passed the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, which paved the way for the province to amend legislation governing not-for-profit groups. When the law, named the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, comes into effect, charities will need to change their by-laws. The government has yet to announce the implementation date.
“We’ll make sure the information we’re providing is up-to-date,” Roka said.
For now, OSCIA’s first video is available.
Make sure to check it out here.