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Things That Make Us Happy

Published: Jul 27, 2021 @ 12:05 PM

We regularly review the platform to make sure it is working for organizations, volunteers and for general operational integrity. We see all types of opportunities on the platform, every single one of them gets views which is helpful. There have been some in the past couple years that have stuck out- an airplane restorationist and a big data buff were cool and unusual. It is a good place to peruse if you are looking for inspiration for what is possible for your own organization. There are two posts that have caught our attention this week for two totally different reasons. 

The first one is from the Foolish Operations Society. Love, love, love that they have taken an anti-ableist stance by including this line "Accessibility note : The pathway to the performance site is a 4-5 minutes' walk. The ground is uneven. This position is difficult of access for individuals using wheelchairs." It will bode very well for our communities when we begin to consider the ways in which lots of people move through the world. A good lesson for us all in the information that can be included in opportunities to make them considerate.  

The next one is from Fixt Point Arts. First off who does not want to be part of an Empathy Squad?! Seems great! What really lands with this opportunity is the strong balance of skill development and community connection. It is an opportunity that is just as much about picking up podcasting skills as it is about the work of collecting oral stories. Plus, "amplifying of voices, centering of overlooked stories, and celebrating unsung heroes" is work that really matters. 

 

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What People Care About

Published: Jul 20, 2021 @ 4:09 PM

Context of volunteer timeWe watch a lot of things here on the Connector. One of those things is what people are most interested and how that changes over time. I know we've said it before but we have seen a lot of grassroots initiatives pop up throughout the pandemic. We think it's that automatic response to our neighbourly care kicking in. Turns out a few others think that too. A friend forwarded me this link today - How the rise of grassroots organizing changed the pandemic – and the non-profit sector

We've done a few presentations in the last two months to share the trends we see. Take a look at the photo and draw your own conclusions about what volunteers think is important 20 months into this pandemic and as things are reopening ever so slightly.

 

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A Love Note To Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Published: Jul 6, 2021 @ 4:59 PM

Halfway through 2021 seems like a great time to do a Dr. Ibram X. Kendi appreciation post. His voice, his words, his brilliance has helped us at VolunteerConnector and many others navigate all the learning and unlearning involved in the lifelong and generational antiracism work. 

You can find him and his content in lots of different spaces and places on social media:

He has published 8 books, 2 of which are for children. The favourited page for toddlers and adults alike within Antiracist Baby is page 3 - "Point at policies as the problem, not people" - something that bears repeating to oneself repeatedly. Plus, it has some awesome butterfly illustrations! He writes for lots of additional publications including a monthly column in The Atlantic. What we are saying is whether it is 142 characters or a hardcover book, engage with his work!

Finally, it is his new podcast that has been leading to lots of great conversation, lots of pauses and best of all lots of discomfort. Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi (found wherever you listen to any podcast) is a brilliant study in intersectionality. He welcomes guests in each episode to help guide us the listener in what it takes to make a society that is more equitable and therefore better for all of us. So far, they have covered topics like LGBTQ+ justice, Ableism, voting suppression and the Zero-Sum Myth. It is so, so good. So good. 

Oh and he also runs the Centre for Antiracist Research ... so check them out too! 

 

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Getting It Done

Published: Jun 30, 2021 @ 9:52 AM

In 2020 the volunteerconnector.org saw a 19% increase in grassroots organizations, we expect that to double this year. More and more people using the reach and ease of the Connector to make people aware of issues that matter in their communities.

Grassroots organizing is collective action that begins literally at the root. As a result, these groups are extraordinarily nimble and able to rapidly respond to need or a change. Besides the volunteerconnector.org these organizations often post their needs and opportunities via social media. This is another great reason to curate the accounts you follow and engage with to inspire you to connect with things you care about.

In the past few weeks, there have been a couple cool examples of grassroots organizing and participation leading to change. In British Columbia, the Rainforest Flying Squad has been working in support of  Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations to halt old growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed through a blockade. The blockade and the work of those involved just resulted in the premier declaring a two-year moratorium. In the middle of the country last week community members and neighbours joined together to support the people who were being evicted from Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto. Although the evictions still took place the resistance made international news coverage and that coverage made a lot of us think about the ways we take care of each other and how we treat people who do not have houses. That awareness matters. 

Finally, if you live in an urban centre and are looking for ways to make sure people in your community are ok in this intense summer weather find your local Bear Clan Patrol and check out what they are asking for.​

 

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Out Of The Classroom And Into The Horse Paddock - Guest Blog

Published: Jun 23, 2021 @ 11:23 AM

Horse PaddockCovid brought some big changes to my life. As an elementary teacher with complicating medical issues, I made a decision to stay out of the classroom for a year and requested a leave of absence. Once granted, this leave opened up a lot of free time for me, some of which I knew I wanted to spend with kids, either outdoors or online, because I was now missing the kid interaction in my daily life. By chance, I came across the VolunteerConnector website and it has been a real gift.

This user-friendly website provides such easy access to a wide range of volunteer opportunities. I have found three different organizations to volunteer with, each one offering a different experience with children. Whether working with children in equine-assisted therapy, assisting with online family literacy classes, or online tutoring, I am very appreciative of the doors VolunteerConnector platform has opened for me. Not only do I get to volunteer with children, but I get to volunteer with horses as well! I hadn't even thought that such an opportunity existed! There is also a wide variety of online possibilities. Many organizations have had to move their programs online and have discovered the benefits to being online. Many people at home are also very ready to go online to maintain engagement with the world beyond their own four walls and to donate their time.  The VolunteerConnector platform enables these two groups to connect together.  Thanks to VolunteerConnector for doing a wonderful job at 'propelling us' above and beyond, especially during this time of Covid. 

Thank you,

Margaret Ardan

 

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It’s A Feature Feature!

Published: Jun 15, 2021 @ 4:45 PM

george eliotWe talk about lots of different topics here on the blog. We don’t usually take the opportunity to brag about ourselves but we are making an exception today. 

We launched an awesome and very helpful new feature to volunteerconnector.org to support times when communities are in crisis. The news coverage often shows the horrible aftermath of floods, fires, earthquakes and the like but we all know that the best in humanity comes out during these moments. It’s neighbour supporting neighbour, it’s people taking care of each other. 

With this in mind we have renovated the volunteer profile on volunteerconnector.org to include an option to opt into contact information being shared with a local organization in the case of an urgent community need. An important thing to mention: the choice is up to the volunteer. A volunteer will always have the power to determine what is shared and not shared with an organization in terms of their personal information. 

A cool thing has happened since we launched this - over 90% of people have opted in! Lots of people out there caring about their communities and willing to be called upon when something bad happens. No million dollar prize just doing the right thing. Something very heartwarming about that indeed.

 

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Stories We Tell About Volunteerism

Published: Jun 9, 2021 @ 2:12 PM

Stories we tell.Let’s talk about the 2 sentences we hear A LOT when it comes to engaging people in volunteerism:

  1. We ALWAYS need volunteers 
  2. It’s ALWAYS the same people doing all the work.

These things are probably true at some time, for some organizations, probably also feels real for a lot more organizations for lots more time. Is it real though? Is it a fact? 

When was the last time somebody sat down and considered the work that needs to be done within the organization, how that work can be divided up and who should be doing that work? We are living in a time where everything can feel a little upside down, the ground is uneven. Maybe it’s also the time where there is also possibility and room to be curious? Maybe what made sense in 2019 doesn’t fit for 2022! Only you know what that looks like in your organization but let us know what you come up with! We’d love to share your stories! 

In terms of sentence 2 - this is another story we tell. Two reasons for this, whether we believe it or not we haven’t asked. Like truly asked, not just tried to convince someone we know to do it. Extending the reach of the organization past its regular network. The other reason is we have not thought about how the work could be made more flexible. There are tons of ways to do this- make it remote, change the deadlines, chunk up the role, recruit from outside your location.

VolunteerConnector recently posted an opportunity for a Content Advisor, after 8 days on the site we interviewed 2 cool humans and 1 was the right fit! This person couldn’t start until the summer so that’s what we will do. 

We would love to hear stories from your organization about how your curiosity and flexibility have led to an awesome volunteer engagement story. Let us know at info@volunteerconnector.org.

 

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AGM 2021 - Thanks!

Published: Jun 3, 2021 @ 9:05 AM

Thanks for another fantastic year and the completion of our AGM this week. A special thanks to our guest speakers:

As well, we want to thank Minister Aheer for sending greetings and thanks to all the volunteers out there who dedicate their time to serving in their communities!

Of course a huge shout out to our board for making the AGM happen and continuing to serve all of us across so many communities.

 

 

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There is More Than 215

Published: May 31, 2021 @ 4:16 PM

every child mattersThe On Canada Project 

 

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

 

University of Alberta - Indigenous Canada 

 

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

 

National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls

 

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Continuous Improvement and Investment

Published: May 26, 2021 @ 9:27 AM

Ironic thank- youWe constantly assess how the VolunteerConnector is working for people interested in volunteering and for the organizations that use it. There are a ton of ways we do this, mostly it is about listening. We know the best way to serve communities across Canada to listen to the humans who utilize the platform, what they feel like is awesome or the spots they think could use a little attention. We also listen to the data; we look at what is unusual, weird, what makes us go huh? 

The results are awesome, it means a continually evolving platform that is informed by the experience of real humans. People we love and who love us. 

When you see changes on volunteerconnector.org it is the result of hundreds of hours research, trials, and conversations. And love. We take the space we hold in this ecosystem seriously. Our team spends our time, energy and resources on making volunteerconnector.org the very best so everyone else can focus on their vital work. We are so grateful for all the communities that have trusted us in supporting their citizens engaging in things that they care about. We can't wait to meet and welcome more people into the VolunteerConnector coterie (I looked up a lot of words...this one felt right!).

 

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