That was so last year.

Vancity 2013 Annual Report
For six months at the end of 2013 and into 2014 I was privileged to lead Vancity’s Communications department on an interim basis between permanent leaders. One of the projects I was most interested in was leading the team during the creation of our 2013 Annual Report.

At Vancity we create an integrated annual report, combining our reporting on our financial performance and metrics with our social and environmental performance and metrics. We do this to get a more holistic view of what we’re trying to do, where we’re successful and where we’re falling short and still need to improve what we’re doing.

It’s a great companion piece to our 2014-16 Three Year Plan, which we released publicly in March. In our annual report, we talk about our successes and dilemmas as we orient ourselves more and more towards our vision of redefining wealth and putting an increasing amount of our capital (financial, human, social, etc…) towards positive impact in our communities.

In her letter at the opening of our Annual Report, our CEO Tamara Vrooman has a quote that I think summarizes what credit unions should be all about.

Our role is to ensure that the money our members entrust to us for their own financial future is invested in ways that also ensure a healthy, collective future.

The microsite alone will give you a sense of how our 2013 was, what we accomplished and where we still need to focus. It lets you build your own report from the sections that most interest you, and includes this video that gives an overview of our 2013:

I invite you to take a look.

Supporting the Vancity Community Foundation.

One area of Vancity that I’m excited to get more involved with is the Vancity Community Foundation. I didn’t have much to do with the Foundation until fairly recently when I chose them to receive the donation made in my name when I was named GonzoBanker of the Month back in March.

And then recently, I went to their 20th anniversary celebration, and was in awe of what they accomplish in our communities every day. Brave, inspiring work that reminded me of all the reasons I work at Vancity.

Here are those videos, and I urge you to check them out.

Community Stories

History

Donor Stories

I have written before that one of the main things I love about doing what I do at Vancity is that it is an organization whose presence would be sorely missed by many in our area if it were to disappear. It is an organization that matters, which is not a sense I’ve ever had about the companies I’ve ever worked for before. It is a profound thing.

I’ll be writing more about the Vancity Community Foundation soon, we’re about to launch a very cool way to support their work.

.eco would be a good domain to have.

A year and a half ago or so, I was introduced to two guys in Vancouver who were trying to start a new top-level domain for companies and organizations doing good environmental work – .eco. Their resumes and backgrounds were impressive, and they seemed to really know what they were doing, but still, I thought, what are the chances that these two guys could actually create a new top-level domain?

Cut to last week, and I run into Trevor Bowden, one of .eco founders, and they have made truly remarkable progress.


What? from dot eco on Vimeo.

They just launched their website, doteco.info, which is great blend of useful information and videos about what they are trying to accomplish, ways to participate and help spread the message, and information about their current supporters (some of whom are truly impressive). All in a very nice looking website. Pulling off an informative and good-looking website about a new concept is very difficult.

They are gearing up for a presentation in 2010 to ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers . This is the organization responsible for the Internet’s naming system.

So what is .eco?

The .eco system will display current, detailed eco-information to anyone with a browser, anytime they need it, anywhere on the planet. It will do this by collecting information from people when they register .eco domain names for their companies, organisations, products, or even themselves and then displaying that information on a standardised, open platform.

What they want to do with .eco is very impressive. They would link it to verifiable environmental action, so those using the .eco domain would be showing off a badge that they had made progress on reducing their environmental impact.

Treehugger has a great article about what they are doing.

They have one major competitor, namely Al Gore and a group who are also trying to start a .eco top-level domain. I’m a big fan of Al Gore, but it’s kind of fun to watch some guys from Vancouver put together a very different and very compelling alternative to a .eco domain and see if they can give the bigwigs a run for their money.

I think the .eco domain is useful. A company like Toyota could assume that people going to toyota.eco would be at their site for specific reasons, and they could highlight their environmental products and policies and corporate initiatives front and centre. It could be a form of built-in audience segmentation (those who choose to visit a .eco version of the site instead of a .com), and not just a redirect to a main corporate site.

So check out doteco.info and see what it’s all about. It may be coming to an Internet near you…

ChangeCamp coming to Vancouver?

ChangeCampLast year I was one of the co-organizers of BarCampBankBC, an un-conference devoted to innovation in the financial services industry. BarCampBank has occurred several times around the world, and, as one of the attendees Morriss Partee recently blogged, each one takes on a local element. Morriss said that BarCampBankBC specifically “had a worthy-cause and social media flavor“.

After BarCampBankBC was over, Jeremy Osborn, a friend and sometimes commenter on this blog, mentioned to me that he would like to see the same un-conference, collaborative style applied to topics of sustainability and social change. Sounded like a very good and extremely worthwhile endevour.

I am lucky to work at a financial institution focused on these issues. Not many FIs aim at this space, but it exactly the intersection of where the money is and the changes we need to make in our society that makes Vancity such an amazing anomaly.

In a questionnaire, I recently (and somewhat inarticulately) told one of my favourite conferences, Net.Finance, in answer to their question “In a volatile economy like we have today, what does it really mean to be innovative?”:

As FIs in today’s economy the greatest innovations we can achieve are those that bring us closer to our customers. Anything that helps us better understand their needs and help them understand and manage their finances so as many people as possible can get through this period with their assets intact. Those are the innovations our customers will remember us for, how we treated them when everything was down. That’s how we build loyalty for the long term.

Recently, I found out that a BarCamp devoted to social change may, in fact, be happening.

In Toronto, people are planning something called ChangeCamp. This is how the organizers describe it:

ChangeCamp is a free participatory web-enabled face-to-face event that brings together citizens, technologists, designers, academics, policy wonks, political players, change-makers and government employees to answer one question:
How do we re-imagine government and citizenship in the age of participation?

Very intriguing. If you live in Toronto, check it out.

And now I learn that there is a spinoff group of ChangeCamp starting right here in Vancouver, calling their event VanChangeCamp. I’m paying close attention. Looks like it is currently being aimed to happen on March 28th, 2009.

I’ll post more as I learn more, but it should be an event worth watching…

Three years of Resolutions about change.

Viva la resolution!It started in 2006, the year we launched ChangeEverything.ca.

We began what would become an annual tradition: our Viva la resolution! contest where anyone could come to the site, name the change they want to make about themselves, the community or the world and blog about that change at least three times.

The winners would be selected partly by user selection and partly by the moderator, Kate. The three top choices would receive a Vancity Visa Gift Card worth either $1,000, $500 or $250.

It has generated some great content for the site over the years, including the truly amazing EnviroWoman and her pledge to live plastic-free.

So this year, we’re doing it again! If there’s a change you’re interested in making, come to this site by February 28th and dig in!