ToolBox retrospective, 2008 to present

Eric Vankeerberghen joined ToolBox in 2008. Discover the evolution of the organisation through his 16 years of involvement.

I discovered ToolBox in 2008, five years after its creation. It was born out of a desire to bridge the profit and not-for-profit sectors to help small and medium-sized social organizations improve their operations. The methodology had been documented and validated with the precious help of McKinsey. Two co-ordinators, Michel Henry and Christine Castille, were responsible for defining, monitoring and evaluating the projects, supervising around forty volunteer experts. The first management monitoring tools were introduced. About twenty assignments were carried out each year.

When I carried out my first assignments as a volunteer, I discovered a world very different from the one I came from, and I was delighted to see social projects being led by amazing people who put themselves entirely at the service of their mission. Along the way, they encountered management problems not much different from the ones I faced in the private sector. Michel wants to retire and I have been invited to replace him during the General Assembly in 2010. We have some projects ahead of us: we need to simplify the tools for tracking orders. ToolBox's economic model is fragile, so we have to look for financial support and decide to ask the organizations we work with for a financial contribution. The methodology is supported by documentation sheets, our “Blue Cards.” New volunteers will be welcomed in a structured way.

In the context of the tenth anniversary in 2013, an evaluation of our action will be organized with the help of Antwerp Management School and Solvay Brussels School. The results strengthened the implementation of our mission. Hilde Helsen then became president of the board. Under her leadership, the values, mission and strategy were clarified and the growing involvement of the board members enabled the ToolBox team to stay focused on achieving the mission. A growth target was set, but would not be implemented until management and communication tools were developed, finances stabilized and the team strengthened. You probably noticed, as I did, that despite the interruption of the Covid years, Cécile and her team expanded our recruitment and counseling missions and enhanced our service offerings.

Now that we have been in existence for 20 years, I am about to say goodbye to the board and to ToolBox. For my part, it has been an exceptional experience, not least because of the quality of the people I have met, the relevance of the approach and the commitment of everyone involved in realizing an essential social mission.

Thank you for these wonderful years of collaboration and I wish you all the best for another leap forward in developing support for these organizations, which are essential players in our society.

Eric Vankeerberghen

Volunteer since 2008 - Coordinator from 2010 to 2018 - Director from 2018 to 2024