Survey of available online training for Canadian voluntary boards.
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There is a revolution underway in the voluntary section in a number of overlapping arenas. After years of benign neglect government, political and academic attention has been directed to the information vacuum that surrounds this sector representing one eighth of Canada's Gross Domestic Product. Although a recent study revealed that Canadians hold a high degree of trust in the work and workers of charities, there is increasing pressure on voluntary organizations to articulate to their stakeholders all aspects of their accountability practices. Cognizant of this pressure, a concerned group from the voluntary sector established the Voluntary Sector Roundtable to look at its governance and accountability practices. Through a series of roundtable discussions with voluntary organizations across Canada the Voluntary Sector Roundtable developed eight key governance standards to act as a guide for the governance practices of voluntary boards. Despite the number of well-developed face-to-face training programs aimed at improving the governance practices of voluntary boards, the sheer size of the sector suggests that a technological solution in the form of online training will provide all boards the potential to access the training and information required to meet these emerging needs. The purpose of this survey was to discover and examine Canadian online training directed at voluntary boards. The study compared existing online training materials with the eight key standards developed by the Voluntary Sector Roundtable (the only existing standards of this nature in Canada). The study also closely compared existing online training to the key standards met by the Board Development Program text-based training materials.