Interview with Bob Blacksberg, Chair of KlezKanada
KlezKanada is an organization that aims to teach Jewish traditional arts and Yiddish culture to the public. Their goal is to nurture the Jewish cultural and artistic creativity all around the world to exhibit their evolving contemporary culture and identity. They started as a small summer festival and are now known as one of the leading Jewish cultural organizations in the world.
KlezKanada was founded in 1997 and has attracted many individuals worldwide, including many in North America, Europe, and much more. Their objective is to gather all the best musicians and other people involved with Jewish arts and culture and offer a delightful experience to their audience.
“Before we had InitLive, we had no way for all our volunteers to self-sign-up. They had to indicate when they might be available, then I had to assign them to all of their activities and had to adjust for who's available when, and we had back and forth communications about signing up, availability and scheduling. Then, we created reports from our gathered information through hours of spreadsheet manipulation and such to try to get all the necessary information. It got complicated when we had to make any changes; I didn't sleep very much, but I achieved it,” explained Bob.
Bob continues to explain the unique challenges associated with managing virtual events, "We wanted to figure out how to manage our organization virtually without losing the character of our organization. We don't want to lose our connection to our audience. We want to provide an opportunity for our performers and teaching musicians and other artists to continue to work with their audience."
KlezKanada chose InitLive to manage their staff, volunteers for their virtual events. . This allowed them to stay organized and maintain the beautiful character of their organization, while maintaining a better understanding of their real-time volunteer schedule at a quick glance.
“We got introduced to InitLive and were able to bring the whole process of assigning volunteers into a self-sign-up model. This changed our lives significantly and was very good. We had the ability to see who's where, doing what, who's connected with whom, where we needed to fill spots, at a glance; all of that was served by InitLive.
Bob was pleased with InitLive’s filtering feature, “I am delighted with the way filtering works in your system. I'm a person who's done a lot of database work over a lot of systems for nearly 30 years. I've been in the computer business since the dawn of time. So, in any case, the fact that when you apply a filter, you get results as soon as you've applied it, without any processing time, is great. It is just terrific.”
With InitLive’s self-schedule feature, KlezKanada streamlined their process of empowering their volunteers to self-sign-up for shifts that worked best for them. “We used the InitLive system to allow our volunteers to self-schedule for Zoom sessions, as well as for us to assign them and to provide their schedules,” explained Bob.
Bob explained their process of managing their volunteers and communicating with them about their Zoom meetings prior to InitLive and how it works for them now. “We had all our volunteer information in Google sheets to manage everyone for zoom meetings, and it was challenging. WIth InitLive, we achieved significant improvement with proper organization features,” commented Bob.
Bob talked about how their volunteers were able to view any open Zoom meetings to host on InitLive’s calendar view. “Each volunteer can view scheduled zoom meetings in their InitLive calendar, they can see where they’re supposed to be next and execute their program accordingly. If somebody's not available, another volunteer can step in and conduct the meeting,” explained Bob.
Streamlined Volunteer Management
“Before we had InitLive, our volunteers had to indicate when they might be available, and in order to assign them to their activities, we had to communicate back and forth. When InitLive was brought to our attention, there was such an improvement in assigning shifts to our volunteers,” commented Bob.
“When we got introduced to InitLive, we were able to bring the whole process of assigning volunteers into a self-sign-up model that changed our lives significantly and made the process much easier,” commented Bob.