Rural report with Laird Smith

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about volunteering and how important it is to the success of any organization. Non profit groups need volunteers and profitable businesses need their employees to be engaged in volunteering in the community.

Take Wally Smith, for example, he had memberships in the BC Fruit Growers Association and the United Church of Canada. In both organizations he was an active participant.

He also took an active role in reporting the agricultural concerns of the Okanagan Valley farming community, as many of you know from reading his weekly columns in your local newspaper.

CBC radio last week was talking about the failure of Canada’s newspapers. They had a guest who identified some issues. The guest said that the internet is playing a huge role in the decline of the newspaper, but there is also another major contributing factor.

That factor is community involvement. The Winnipeg Free Press ( WFP ), for example, is currently the most successful newspaper in Canada. The reason? The employees and management are invested in the community of Winnipeg. They volunteer on boards, societies, leagues, and actively participate in projects in the City.

That volunteering yields confidence and appreciation with the advertisers so they continue to buy space in the news paper. As long as the WFP continues to invest in the community, their success should continue.

On the other hand, companies such as Post Media who own 200 news papers Canada wide, stack their management with people who are not community minded, who haven’t taken the time to develop relationships within the city the news paper is serving. Until Post Media adopts a similar WFP model, the company’s news papers will experience declines.

Local folks actively participating in volunteering; that is what makes a business and a community vibrant and interesting to live in.

Where does that leave a new business moving into town? If the business follows the model that works, then all should be well, but if it ignores the model then problems will arise.

It makes sense to me.

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