CEDTAS (CED Technical Assistance Service) was intended to do two things. It was to help nonprofit organizations in Winnipeg find specialists - lawyers, marketers, bookkeepers, horticulturalists, for example - to perform, pro bono, certain technical jobs that otherwise can hold up community initiatives. It was also to help professionals insert their skills into community development briefly and to great effect.
Three years and 325 inquiries later, CEDTAS has done little of either task. Mature organizations do not require a matching service because (no surprise) they already know volunteer professionals to call upon. For their part, professionals are often unavailable when the need for their skills suddenly arises. The most numerous applicants to CEDTAS have been community groups in search of elementary instruction in planning, governance, and operations.
Still, providing these services does create the market that CEDTAS was originally meant to serve. Requests are becoming less introductory and more technical in nature. It is also extending its roster of professional volunteers so that at least one will be available at short notice. With the economy in recession and baby-boomers retiring from their professions, the demand for CEDTAS is bound to climb.