The CIFF Diaries – Entry 1

22 Aug

In late May, I sent an email to the Calgary International Film Festival offering to be an administrative volunteer. I was working full-time from home at the time and I needed an excuse to leave the house for a few hours a week. Attached to the email was my resume which outlined my experience including, volunteering for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and all my past office management and volunteer roles. For three months I heard absolutely nothing – no reply, no rejection.

I was upset that I didn’t hear anything and debated skipping the festival. Just before I left for holidays, Marc Binkley, the CIFF Volunteer Coordinator, emailed me.  Marc apologized for the massive delay in contacting me and promised to send volunteer updates within the next two weeks.  Shortly after his email I received two more emails outlining how to sign-up on the CIFF Volunteer site and when the Meet and Greet will take place.

I have a background in volunteer management and I have to say Marc’s quick, efficient and even through email, likable. I’m still not convinced  that I’ll enjoy volunteering with CIFF since disorganized non-profits frustrate the hell out of me.  So I’ve decided to create a diary outlining my experience volunteering for the 2012 film festival.  It’s going to be an honest look at the festival and if it’s worth attending and volunteering at.

If you want to endure the joys, sorrows, trials and tribulations with me, check out the CIFF website and volunteer page:


3 Responses to “The CIFF Diaries – Entry 1”

  1. Steve Schroeder August 23, 2012 at 4:13 am #

    Hi Claudia: Steve Schroeder here, the new Executive Director of CIFF since January. Love that you’re going to blog about your experience this year, warts and all. We have our challenges like any organization, but I hope by the end you’ll be convinced that CIFF is organized, worthwhile and a hell of a good time. I want to personally apologize for the huge delay in response time. Mark is organized, and only joined us in late July, so rest assured the delay had nothing to do with him–but I’m thrilled, and not surprised, that he’s been doing a great job of keeping in touch with you since he started. I must admit that CIFF’s been in a state of major transition over the past several months, starting with an almost entirely new staff. I don’t know how your first email fell through the cracks over that time, but mistakes can happen during times of change, although that’s no excuse for our error. Our new team are all experienced and energetic, and I believe we’ll pull off an exciting and organized festival this September. But don’t take my word for it; thanks for giving us the chance to show you, not just tell you. – S.

  2. Marc Binkley (@marcbinkley) August 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi Claudia,

    It’s Marc. This is a great idea. Thanks for taking the initiative. I’m working my butt off to make this a great experience for everyone involved – especially the volunteers. The learning curve is steep and the timeline is short so I’m really going to value your feedback on how to make this better for everyone.



  3. Tammy August 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Claudia, if anyone could give an insightful view on how something works and doesn’t work, it’s you. You are fair and give credit where credit is due, but you’re not afraid to call people on the things they can improve on. In the 5 years I lived in Calgary I did not attend CIFF once. I know a bunch of people who volunteer for it, but have never been convinced to go. I’m excited to read about your CIFF experience!!!!!

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