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This Friday

Published: Sep 29, 2022 @ 10:35 AM

We had the pleasure last week of presenting at the Alberta Museum's Association virtual conference where we talked about where we currently stand in our Anti-Racism journey as white settlers working in a colonial sector. We had been supported by Moyo (https://www.bloomworld.org/bloomteam) around the importance of sharing stories, struggles and learnings. To be honest, and to build community through that honesty and vulnerability. It seems timely then to share what one of us will be doing this Friday, there are plenty of event lists and resources online; Google is your place for that and certainly everyone should feel free to spend the day how they need or want. We as a team will certainly be spending it in varied ways ...

We are a shift working household, my partner will be wearing an orange shirt into their workplace. 

I will be spending time in nature with my daughter, niece and nephew. We are planning to read Shi-shi-etko by: Nicola I. Campbell to them. My sister owns a chunk of land in Alberta as a direct result of intergenerational wealth built in our family due to our white grandparents who came to Canada from the Netherlands and Ireland respectively. As adults, we will be reflecting on the profound impact that intergenerational trauma has on the day-to-day existence of all of us in the communities we live and work in. 

Is it enough? It certainly does not feel like it. The work continues on Saturday. 

 

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Capacity Building And You

Published: Sep 26, 2022 @ 3:14 PM

Coming to, what we all hope is, the emergence from a global pandemic I’ve seen a resurgence in the term “capacity building” across the sector. Maybe that’s because there is a desire to fill the obvious funding gaps with something familiar. Maybe it’s because our capacity as a sector was shown to be lacking through the pandemic. Maybe it’s a distraction.

While we talk a lot about volunteers getting connected, humans in the center and providing capacity through a digital transformation . . . we still undertake a lot of capacity building as a team. In fact, we do more capacity building today than we once did 10 years ago but the principles are the same. Here they are:

  • We know that change is rooted in local interactions. Particularly 1-2-1 interactions that help new knowledge take shape. This approach to change is articulated by Ralph D Stacey as he explores effective organizational change.
  • We know that learning happens at the pace of the learner and when they determine for themselves that new skills are required. For all our neurodivergent friends out there who tried to succeed inside the system of K-12 education we sympathize with you. That is not a system designed for the pace of the learner but rather as a conveyor belt as articulated best by Ken Robinson.
  • Finally, we know that for most people empathy, compassion and even love are required. This is found in our own training, our own journeys over the last decade. Being available for what another human is experiencing and coaching them where to focus energies  and find new resources, through compassion, is the most effective way to provide practical support everyone calls capacity building.

You can see in those practical applications of theory the threads of Training, Consulting and Coaching. Those are the words most offered in capacity building services. In our world when you see “email us” this is what we mean.

Remarkably, over 5,150 individuals representing community organizing tapped into our team’s capacity building efforts in 2021. That number is already growing in 2022 as we all seek to emerge stronger from a pandemic and face the worst economic crisis in 80 years.

As always, in volunteerism if you are feeling lost or unsure of what next . . . reach out to the team info@volunteerconnector.org.

 

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Volunteer Recruiting & Organizing In A Post-Pandemic World

Published: Sep 13, 2022 @ 8:46 AM

You are invited to a webinar hosted on Zoom by our very own Katie Dodd - Volunteer Recruiting and Organizing in a Post-Pandemic World - a session designed to help you make the most of the powerful tools the VolunteerConnector has to make every recruitment effort that much more successful.

  • Did you know that volunteer interests are shifting at a rapid pace?
  • Did you know that there is an increase of volunteers this year looking for that right opportunity that fits them just right?

Join Katie on September 27th at 10:30am (mst) to learn more.

ZOOM REGISTRATION

 

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Looking For Event Volunteers?

Published: Sep 12, 2022 @ 1:04 PM

This fall, many of you are looking for event volunteers. We are in a similar position. Here in Alberta the AGLC runs opportunities for volunteers to run a casino and the nonprofit group receives a portion toward their organization. Many charities, school parent councils, sports orgs and more participate in this fundraising effort. No surprise, it requires volunteers to ensure a successful event!

You can view our posting here: https://www.volunteerconnector.org/calgary/volunteercalgary

Once your posting is live . . . here is a quick look behind the scenes of how your new and current volunteers will be organized:

First Roles will be created

Next Assign those Roles to your volunteers as new ones apply or to existing volunteers who are opting into this event

Be sure to check out the full list at a glance of all the Roles filled and those yet to be connected with

Second create a Schedule if your event has shifts as our does

From there offer shifts in the Schedule to those who have applied but not yet picked there time 

 

From there, watch your event fill up and be sure to share on your social media platforms so the people who are most interested in your cause will see yet another way to support it!

As always, if you need additional support with any of this we are just a quick email away: info@volunteerconnector.,org

 

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Still Learning

Published: Sep 7, 2022 @ 9:33 AM

It is back to school week through much of the country, the bells are ringing and the classes are beginning. September can feel more like a fresh start that the turning over of the calendar to a new year. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling off, we are all pulling out our cardigans and anticipating Taylor Swift's new album. The other thing we are all still doing over here at VolunteerConnector is still learning, still trying, still working away at decolonizing volunteerism. Here are two things that have got us thinking, reflecting, changing and talking this week:

Martha Cecilia Ovadia shares her brilliance on a grief we in the charitable sector do not speak enough about in her blog 'Phantom Impact Syndrome' and also reminds us to say the things we are sitting with even if we do not think it is fully ready. 

Mutale Nkonde and Sareeta Amrute join Jessie Daniels to discuss her book Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It and How We Can Help Dismantle It. Systems that do seem​ universally beneficial (like the 911 Emergency Call System) can also have roots in racism and white supremacy. 

If you have something we should read or listen to, let us know! 

 

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Volunteer With A New Community

Published: Aug 30, 2022 @ 2:44 PM

We have been very excited to welcome some international/national events to VolunteerConnector recently (shout out to World Dodgeball Federation)

It made us think about two things:

For Organizations - it is easy to recruit from anywhere for anywhere, most important thing to remember is the power of the postal code! When you create a posting, scroll down to the section entitled 'Activity Location' if you need humans to be in a physical location this is where you want to put that location's postal code. So if you are in the comfort of your home in 'B2R 1A3' but you are hosting the Shanty Festival in 'V8K 1G8'. All you need to do is make sure that postal code section is filled out with the location of the event. 

For Volunteers - it is a weird summer, feels like people are prioritizing rest and respite over their normal commitments which is great, it is how it should be. Perhaps you have been a regular rodeo volunteer in your town but this year you are taking a break. Maybe choose a destination based on an event somewhere in Canada ... volunteer for a morning and then explore for the rest of the long weekend. Labour Day weekend is coming up, so many things going on around the country and most of those things rely on volunteers! Use volunteerism as a reason to go explore somewhere you have never been before. 

 

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Volunteerism In The News

Published: Aug 23, 2022 @ 11:36 AM

newspaper icon on orange backgroundWell it is mid August which means hopefully you have exhaled or have a break on the horizon. This is a feature we do every so often called volunteerism in the news! So much volunteerism happens every day, it is fun to be reminded of the varied and unique opportunities that are out there. 

Volunteers on the West Coast are donning hip waders to fend off invasive species:

Volunteerism intersects with technology to save lives in the GTA:

We were in a meeting this week and were reminded of all the volunteers and hours supporting people from Ukraine coming to Canada:

Where ever you are at there is certainly a space for you to find belonging in volunteerism!

 

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What Is Going On With Volunteerism?

Published: Jul 26, 2022 @ 9:27 AM

As a team we have been seeing the stories in the news- ‘volunteer numbers down!’ ‘Festival desperate for volunteers!’ ‘Organization closing due to lack of volunteers!’ so we thought we would take a moment and share some things we are observing. 

We are not seeing a decline or an unusual spike in volunteer postings in any of our regions served. Instead, what we are seeing is a fast shift in volunteer interest - opportunities that are rooted in social justice or environment fill nearly instantly. Most opportunities take 2 weeks to fill but there is far more demand for social justice/environmental than there are opportunities out there. 

We can attribute these changes to a couple things:

  • Demographic shift- >30 years old is our largest user group, and we have seen a reduction in the over 65 folks. This has been an ongoing shift since 2019.
  • Increase in grassroots postings. The growth in volunteer postings from these types of organizations is up 30%. 

Our musings are that boomers are potentially relying on existing community connections for their volunteerism. Volunteers seem to have also shifted towards choosing roles that align with their interest and values rather than skills. Ultimately belonging is what volunteers are craving and the opportunities/organizations that are meeting that need that look different today than they did in 2019. 

 

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Don't Be Scared Of Volunteers

Published: Jul 19, 2022 @ 9:38 AM

This summer marks the return of lots of events, very exciting!

The Tall Ships Festival is back in Brockville (https://www.tallshipsbrockville.com),

Outhouse Races are back in Cochrane (https://www.cochranetimes.com/entertainment/local-arts/outhouse-races-set-for-late-summer-return-after-two-year-hiatus),

And ... everything else seems to be returning to towns and cities across the country. The commonality in these events that we all get to enjoy going back to is - volunteers. They are organized by volunteers, facilitated by volunteers and taken down by volunteers. There is often one volunteer or a committee of them tasked with organizing all the other volunteers- what an awesome role! Here are some things to keep in mind:

People are craving community - our latest research says people are looking for quality time together with other people so it's more about that than maybe fulfilling a specific role or sharing a skill set. This season of volunteerism is about reconnecting with the world not just about the job that needs to get done. Something to consider when you get to the perks of volunteering section of your posting. 

Your community is full of prospective volunteers - the past couple of years has seen tremendous change and transition. Many people have made physical moves into new and smaller communities, many others have made the transition into less commute time. Bottom line - a whole bunch of prospective people who have never been involved before. We know people move into new places and google - "volunteer in ______" so if you have an opportunity to be the place that shows up for people desiring to belonging seems like that would be a great plan! Plus it prevents burn out for those people who have been involved year after year, and means you don't have to call in favours with friends for that last minute shift.

We are always happy to help - if you are struggling to recruit volunteers for your event send us an email! We will happily review your posting and offer our insights info@volunteerconnector.org 

 

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Ready? Set? Go! Ahem. Go! Umm… Go? - Guest Blog (3 of 3)

Published: Jul 11, 2022 @ 3:50 PM

Following on from last week's Guest Blog - Part 2 of 3, here is the continuation in Part 3 of 3 ... 

 

STEP 2 – Get Set. Start looking.

Finding volunteer opportunities that will be a good fit for you is the next step. Of course, you can go directly to an organization’s website and see their list of opportunities. As well there are excellent databases (such as VolunteerConnector) where you can see a substantial number of opportunities listed all in one place! I caution you to keep focused (see Step 1-A) because it can be easy to drift down the volunteer opportunity rabbit hole only to emerge exhausted hours later and to walk away from your phone or computer thinking, “I’ll just look more later”, only to never come back (remember, we humans are impulsive!)

Many post secondary institutes have their own listings, so don’t forget about those if you want to increase your chance of volunteering with other students. More and more, businesses exercise corporate social responsibility and provide their staff with opportunities to volunteer as a group, so keep an eye out for notices from HR. Talk to friends or colleagues about where they happily volunteer for ideas.

STEP 3 – Go!

All that self reflection, answering all those questions, pouring over databases, and talking to other people has paid off – you have found an organization with whom you want to work. Now you just have to connect with them. Apply. Ask questions. Go to the interview. Attend the training. And get ready for a great experience!

Amanda Sokol from https://www.goosetroop.com

 

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