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World Happiness Report and Volunteer Engagement

Published: Mar 24, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

The World Happiness Report was released this week and not surprisingly it has some great things to say about volunteerism how it impacts a persons’ happiness. There are two things we want to draw your attention to from the report that should make you feel good. 

Firstly, despite being a rough couple years (anyone celebrate the 3 year anniversary of the COVID lockdown last week? Oh memories) there has been a global surge in benevolence which began in 2020, really got going in 2021 and according to the data is still going strong in 2022. This is a world that cares more about each other than previous years. This is showing up in volunteerism as more grassroots organizing, more neighbours helping neighbours and more people identifying gaps in their communities and finding a way to respond to it. This is good news. 

Secondly, there is new data in the World Happiness Report around the link between positive social connections and happiness. Positive social support was strongly tied to “how satisfied people are with their relationships with other people.” The takeaway is that people are more resilient in crisis when they have relationships. For people who engage volunteers this is a reminder that the space you create in your volunteer program might be the only place that human is finding belonging and connection in their life. Your cause is important but the interaction between the humans engaged with your cause is just as valuable. 

You can read the full report here.


Wishes For Volunteerism This Week

Published: Mar 8, 2023 @ 8:42 AM

Spring feels like it could be just around the corner on this side of the country. The snow is melting, the birds are singing, the warm sun is making a coffee on the patio possible. Spring is all about growth and so here are two simple wishes for volunteerism and organizations this week. They might seem like little things but best believe they could make a massive difference in the experience of a volunteer inside an organization. 

Wish 1: Be specific in your asks 

In the past couple months I have seen a couple posts on our local community page asking for volunteers and it goes something like this "looking for volunteers to help with XYZ event, date, time, email address" This is an awesome first step but volunteers are humans with a million things going on in their lives so the more information you can provide up front the better. It saves everyone time and energy in the beginning and fills in the blanks and questions you might not even know exist (ps our opportunity posting page does a great job of walking through this if you need some help!) Volunteers need to not just know where to be and when but everything that is involved. Sometimes it is hard to think about those people who are not yet swimming in the water of your organization. 

Wish 2: Show gratitude to the humans 

I recently read a volunteer info page that has been living rent free in my head for the past 2 months, one line in particular "if there is food leftover the volunteers at this event can have some". While there is absolutely no ill intent meant by this and I am 100% certain this is a simple logistical issue, meant to be interpreted as a 'perk' to volunteering I can assure you as a potential volunteer it is not. If having a meal provided is indeed a bonafide perk of a volunteer role - wonderful brag about it! Put it all in caps! If it is not than simply do not include it, and instead include the long list of very legitimate benefits that someone will get from giving their time to your organization. Think about what this perk/benefit will mean to the volunteer because dedicating time to an organization is a massive gift which deserves more than a maybe sandwich.  

Do you have wishes for volunteerism? We would love to hear 



2022 Year In Review

Published: Mar 2, 2023 @ 4:40 PM

We don't often talk about the $$$ required to run the VolunteerConnector. The last few years have been especially lean, requiring our board to approve targeted investments into the life of the Connector. What you may not realize is that, as a registered charity, we are almost 100% funded through grants and donations. It also means that every upgraded subscription goes right back into the development of the features and future plans of the platform.

Every single investment in the the VolunteerConnector enriches the lives of every Albertan as barriers to volunteering get further reduced. These investments echo not just this year or next but through to the next generation of volunteers looking to engage in community.

Yesterday we received some welcome news. We were approved for an Alberta CIP Grant! Thanks to the team at the Alberta Ministry of Culture.

So, ever wonder what happens when the government grants to a cool place like the Connector … it means improved access to volunteering for everyone! Not only that, thanks to our many and growing Regional Partners across the country it means that access to volunteering improves for all Canadians!

Here's a sample of our 2022 Year in Review:

Looking forward to even more to celebrate in 2023! Its off to a great start!!

Your VolunteerConnector Team



Be Selfish, Volunteer

Published: Mar 1, 2023 @ 8:56 AM

The benefits of volunteerism

Volunteering is often heralded as an act of selflessness—a way of serving your community. Give of your time and make the world around you better! On many levels, this is true. Of course, we should do what we can to help others in need and contribute to our community. But what mustn’t be overlooked are the secondary benefits of volunteering — self-improvement and personal growth.

What's in it for me?

Volunteering is a way to give back to your community, build relationships, and improve your well-being. It can also provide personal development and growth; volunteering can be a tremendous building block, personally and professionally.

Additionally, if you are an organization that relies on volunteers, you should be conscious of the personal benefits of volunteering. The volunteer retention rate is significantly higher when individual volunteers are engaged personally, focusing on their skills and interests.

Three benefits to the volunteer

Personal Fulfillment

Some individuals spend their whole lives in search of meaning and purpose. The ultimate question then becomes — where do you find it? Are you fulfilled by your job and success in your career? Do purpose and fulfillment come from family or community? Do you derive purpose from a religious belief? Research suggests that in the same way we find fulfillment at work, we can find personal fulfillment and meaning through volunteering (Caraveo, 2022). If you are considering volunteering or wondering where to serve, consider the things that provide you with personal fulfillment and look for an opportunity to serve in a related area.

Skill Development

Have you ever tried to get a job that requires more experience than you have? How are you meant to obtain said experience? Volunteering is the answer. In a Deloitte survey, 86% of respondents stated that putting volunteer activities on your resume improves your chance of getting hired.

Even if you’re not looking to bolster your resume, if you are a person committed to life-long learning and growth, volunteering can be an excellent tool for personal development. Research on skill-based volunteering tells us two things — volunteers are more fulfilled when they serve based on their skill set, and there is an opportunity in volunteering to learn or develop more skills. (Dempsey-Branch & Shantz 2022).

Building Community

If you are part of a friend group, religious group, or co-workers who have volunteered together, you understand the camaraderie of serving together. If you want to find a community or make friends, volunteering can be the perfect place. If you want to spend time helping at an organization you are passionate about, the odds are high that you will meet someone there with like-minded passions and interests. Meeting new people can also provide an opportunity to grow your professional circle. You never know whom you are going to meet when you volunteer.

The privilege of finding purpose

Remembering that we volunteer out of a position of privilege is important. Not only do we volunteer out of our spare time, but we can also seek meaning, purpose, and community through these activities because we can meet our basic daily needs. Because we don’t lack the necessary support to help us meet certain responsibilities. Because we don’t live under the threat of famine and war. We must understand that it’s out of privilege that we can seek out and ponder the answers to these existential questions of self-fulfillment and growth.

So next time you want to better yourself, learn a new skill, or make a new friend, consider finding a place to volunteer and do some good in the process.



Shout Out To Boards & Highlighting Cool Opportunities

Published: Feb 22, 2023 @ 6:17 PM

This blog post is a two parter - shout out to boards and highlighting some cool opportunities on VolunteerConnector so here we go! 

We are heading into board recruitment season, lots of organizations and causes are looking for lots of positions. If you are reading this and don’t think you belong on a board or you don’t have the “right” qualifications, you are EXACTLY the person who should be there! So think about using that board filter at the top of the page and finding a cause that resonates with you. If a board feels like too much commitment- hooray for being honest about how much energy you must commit. Many boards also have committees where you can lend your expertise, perspective and lived experience. 

Alright, part two - here are some opportunities that we don’t see every day and sound cool to us:

Love the term “relational rockstar” -

Social Media Coordinator

Use your design skills to help an awesome national organization - 

Volunteer with Canada Confesses' Design Team!

Give some time and enjoy the theatre - 

Theatre Attendant

Volunteer as a family! - 

Literacy for Life Foundation

Happy Volunteering,

Your VolunteerConnector Team



Building Communities Through Volunteering - Guest Blog

Published: Feb 14, 2023 @ 2:56 PM

My Personal Journey of Giving Back and Making Lifelong Connections

Volunteering has always been a big part of my life. I believe that giving back to the community and helping others is a fulfilling experience that can bring people together and build a strong community. My volunteering journey started when I was in college and it has been an incredible journey so far.

One of my most memorable volunteer experiences was when I joined a local food bank to distribute food to the homeless and families in need. It was a challenging task as we had to sort and distribute food to a large number of people in a short amount of time. Despite the challenges, it was a fulfilling experience. I got to interact with many people from different walks of life, and it was heartwarming to see how grateful they were for the food.

Through volunteering, I have met people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to connect with people on a personal level, and I have made some lifelong friends. I remember meeting a woman named Susan at the food bank who was struggling to make ends meet. She was so grateful for the food and we got talking. Over time, we became good friends and continue to support each other. I feel grateful to have met her and to have made a positive impact in her life.

Another experience that I cherish was volunteering at a local animal shelter. I have always had a love for animals, and this opportunity was a dream come true for me. I got to spend time with the animals, playing with them, feeding them and giving them the love and attention they needed. I was amazed at how each animal had its own personality and how they brought so much joy to everyone who visited the shelter. Through volunteering at the shelter, I got to connect with other animal lovers, and we bonded over our love for animals.

Volunteering has also given me the opportunity to develop new skills and interests. For example, I joined a local community garden where I learned how to grow and maintain a garden. I had no prior experience in gardening, but I was eager to learn and get my hands dirty. Through volunteering, I learned so much about gardening, and I even started growing my own vegetables at home.

In conclusion, volunteering is a great way to build community. It gives us the opportunity to connect with people, make a positive impact in someone’s life, and develop new skills and interests. I believe that by volunteering, we can create a sense of community and bring people together. Whether it is helping at a food bank, animal shelter, or community garden, every volunteer experience is unique and fulfilling in its own way. So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to find a volunteer opportunity that aligns with your passions and values and join the journey to building a stronger community.

Guest Blogger

Panos Kalsos



Celebrating Volunteers!

Published: Feb 10, 2023 @ 10:16 AM

Making sure the people who give their time and energy to a cause that they are passionate about are celebrated is a vital part of any organization! The research suggests that burnout and turnover are at historically high rates in the charitable sector so it is more important than ever that we are valuing the humans that make all the work possible. This is especially vital in organizations that are made of solely of volunteers. Board members - you have to appreciate each other too! Many organizations tether their volunteer appreciation to National Volunteer Week and that is great if it works, if there is another time and space that makes more sense than do that - there are no rules to making other humans feel appreciated! We do recognize that this can all feel overwhelming and add to the stress that many are already feeling so we have done a couple things to help you out:

Volunteer Celebration Worksheet 

A template to help you get the information from your volunteers about the things that make them feel special! Find it on our Get Support and Learn page

Volunteer Recognition Learning Circle

 We are hosting a learning circle on volunteer recognition come prepared to share with your community peers things that are working or not working for you. We all learn more from failure than success! Join us March 15 at 11:00 MST, Register here on Eventbrite

Individual Coaching

If neither of these work for you or you feel like you need more specialized support or conversation, please do not hesitate to reach out for personalized coaching from one of our awesome team members (Coaching Intro Survey & Booking)



Black History Month

Published: Feb 8, 2023 @ 1:51 PM

February is Black History month. Our sector is colonial, influenced by white supremacy and capitalism. Like all sectors that are built on the backbone of these forms of oppression, Black people continue to face extreme forms of discrimination, prejudices, and racism. Many of the people that work in our sector are altruistic, but this is often lost due to the system that continues to be upheld.

It is important to acknowledge this month's focus and the turmoil Black people have experienced and continue to experience. Here are some steps we can take now and throughout the year to support the Black Community: 

Give Your Money

Donate to organizations that directly support Black people. Here is a list of a few to get you started:

  • Action Dignity - The B.L.A.C.K Project (Becoming Leaders Acquiring Critical Knowledge)
  • Black Environmental Initiative - environmental action for black and equity seeking communities
  • Canadian Voices Against Racism - a community of volunteers working to create a living database of police violence in Canada as a means to petition lawmakers to dismantle institutionalized racism, colonialism, and white supremacy within Canada’s governance
  • African Friendship Society - our approach is to intentionally combine the caring and nurturing essence of African cultures and traditions with history and social studies through traditional dances, stories, songs and music of Africa.

Spend Your Money at Black Owned Businesses

Check out the link below to find Black owned businesses is your community.

Continue Learning

Learn about Anti-Black Racism, but also learn about Black History and the Influence Black people have on our music, culture, and society. The talent and influence Black people have is often forgotten or ignored.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Attend Black led festivals and cultural events
  • Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch movies that are created by Black people
  • Listen to the music of Black Artists

Speak Up

Continue to say something when you see racist actions. The oppressive system can’t change over night, but even small steps can make a difference and improve the lives of Black people in our communities.

We are still learning. If you would like to talk to someone on our team about our antiracism journey and what we can do better, please reach out at



I Wonder If There Are Any Places I Could Volunteer?

Published: Feb 1, 2023 @ 1:47 PM

We recently got this email to our inbox here at VolunteerConnector . . .


“Hello, I hope you are well 

My name is Tamara and I am a 13-year-old girl. I was wondering if there were any places I could volunteer at my age. I know that not many facilities let younger kids volunteer but if there were any that could work please let me know. 

If not would there possibly be anything/projects I could do to help out? Such as making or baking something or anything that could be used to help others. 

Thank you”


We thought it might be helpful to remind people we are always available if you need a little extra support in finding volunteer roles that are a good fit for you. There are humans who care a lot about community behind VolunteerConnector and there are also 150+ Volunteer Centres across the country so no matter where you are reading this from there is probably one close to you!

We should also share how we responded to Tamara in case you are like her and looking for a way to help in your community and not exactly sure what that could look like . . .


Hi Tamara, 

Thank you so much for your email! Very cool that you are looking for ways to get involved in your community. There are certainly some organizations that have age requirements for volunteers but there are many others that don’t. I have some more questions for you to help clarify what might be a good fit; do you want to volunteer in person or online? How much time do you have available to commit (do you want to volunteer once? Or have a monthly/weekly time?) Are there certain things that are interesting to you…you mentioned baking is there anything else? Is it important that you volunteer close to home or are you ok with going to a different area?  

Sometimes volunteerism does not have to be with an established organization it can also be doing awesome things in your community like adding food to Community Pantry, shovelling a neighbour’s sidewalk, bringing muffins to someone, chalking the sidewalk with positive messages…

Let me know your thoughts and I can send you some specific opportunities!

VolunteerConnector Team


There were a couple more emails back and forth, but we eventually used the ‘proximity’ and ‘youth’ filters on VolunteerConnector to find some opportunities that met her criteria and ta-da another human finding belonging in community!



2023 The Year of Mental Hygiene

Published: Jan 27, 2023 @ 10:45 AM

We hosted the first guest in our new speaker series this past Tuesday! No need to fret if you missed it here are the resources that were shared for you to check out at your leisure. Thank you to Kristie Pshyk for her time and insights into pursuing wellness in 2023. She shared this quote from Adam Grant which can hopefully guide us all this year “Too many people wait until they're exhausted or depressed to make change or seek help. Mental health isn't something to put on the back burner. We can't keep good habits in storage until we need them. Mental hygiene should be as ingrained in our daily routine as dental hygiene.”

Emily Nagoski (book) 'Burnout; The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle'

Jamie Gruman (book) 'Boost; The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands'

Kelly McGonigal (tedtalk) 'The Upside of Stress'

Mental Health Commission of Canada (

  • The Working Mind
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • National Standard for Psychological Safety 

Canadian Mental Health Association (

  • Recovery College 
  • Psychological Health and Safety Training 
  • Not Myself Today Campaign
  • Workplace Mental Health Programs/Training 

Wellness Works Canada (

  • Workplace Wellness Certificate 
  • Webinars and Resources


Thanks again to Kristie for being such a great host and supporting all of us in our journeys!



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