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7 Reasons to Consider Volunteering - Guest Blog

Published: Apr 7, 2021 @ 11:48 AM

Looking for Work? Here are 7 reasons to consider volunteering.

My name is Michael Slattery, I am an Edmontonian Freelance Photographer. A while back I was watching Tim Ferriss on YouTube. Tim considers himself a human experiment. He tries to master life and documents the results online.  In Fast Inc.'s article, "How to Be the Ultimate Networker, According to Tim Ferriss." 

Tim shares an unusual strategy to find work. Of course when looking for work continue to refine your resume, cover letter and apply. But there might be other strategies to finding work.

If you are looking for work have you considered volunteering?

If you are an artist looking for work, all the more reasons to volunteer, I'll explain below.

Here are 7 reasons to consider volunteering:

  • Volunteering gives a break to looking for work. Looking for work can sometimes be depressing and frustrating. Volunteering gets us out of routine, meeting new people. We start feeling connected, appreciated and valued!
  • Non-profits welcome the unqualified. I am wanting to branch out into Social Media Marketing. I visited Volunteer Connector in February 2021 to see what opportunities I could find. Lo and behold Defend had a volunteer opportunity for Social Media help. I applied, and told them I am just starting out. I landed the position and am currently serving as a Co-Lead for their Social Media section.
  • You will gain experience in your area of choice plus also learn many new skills. My Defend volunteer position has broadened my skills and I am learning public relations and how to write press releases. Non-profits would love to work with photographers, video creators and editors and social media help. 
  • Non-profits are in high need for creative work to help them with their online presence. You could do piece work for a series of non-profits and use this in your portfolio. Or you could focus on one non-profit and potentially their full media person. 
  • Volunteer work is appreciated and valued.  My experience with Defend so far is they are very happy people are filling roles. They also are graceful when projects are not done, when life gets busy.
  • There is a great satisfaction knowing our resources are being used for a cause. There were many positions open at Volunteer Connector. I choose Defend because our values lined up. I feel very fulfilled knowing my time and skills are being used to help other people in need.
  • Bonus! You just might land a job with the company, or perhaps there is someone in the company who knows someone who can help you. A big plus is volunteering puts you around people who are kind hearted and like helping out. Who knows they just might lead you to your next position!

I would like to thank the work VolunteerConnector does promoting volunteering! Their services have opened up a door for me to volunteer and grow my skills!

Thank you,

Michael Slattery



Black Lives Still Matter

Published: Mar 30, 2021 @ 12:36 PM

Last June we posted an awesome blog stating our allyship with Black Lives Matter. It contained a bunch of resources, a statement on our striving to be anti-racist and links for furthering learning. If you missed it or want to review it again, it is here. It is one of our most viewed blogs posts. 

This blog, nine months later, is just a friendly reminder to keep trying. Keep speaking up, keep listening to and centring BIPOC voices. Keep feeling uncomfortable and interrogating biases and beliefs. Continue to engage in activism, marches and calls to action, follow people on social media who are doing the work and support black owned businesses. 

Anti-racism is lifelong work, keep trying. 



National Volunteer Week - Recognition

Published: Mar 23, 2021 @ 3:20 PM

We are about a month away from National Volunteer Week (April 18-24) and that can only mean one thing...there are numerous conversations and discussions trying to figure out the magical world of recognition. How to make the humans who give their times and skills to an organization feel seen and acknowledged for the work that they do? 

This question is sometimes complicated by a budget, usually already stretched to the limit. The results are often varied and well let's be honest we all have a drawer full of pens, stress balls and reusable grocery bags and closets full of t-shirts and random ball caps. 

There has been some research into this and it turns out the answer is actually very simple...volunteers want to be thanked and know the impact of their work. That is it, as simple and as complicated as that: a thank you note that outlines their contribution. 

If you are looking for inspiration, Beverly from Chatham, Ontario has spent her year writing over 1000 thank you notes. 



High, Low, Sourdough

Published: Mar 16, 2021 @ 3:25 PM

Happy Covidersery to everyone! The past 12 months have been A LOT. High highs, low lows and lots of sourdough. Here at VolunteerConnector we have seen the best of humans. Organizations continuing to the great work they have always been doing or in some cases pivoting to support the changing needs of their community. 2.2 million people looking on the to find causes and opportunities that ignite their minds and spirits. We have also seen people doing great work outside the confines of organizations through mutual aid.

If you are interested in learning more check out this article in the New Yorker or this research conducted by our friends at Volunteer Scotland



Follow Your Cause

Published: Mar 10, 2021 @ 11:34 AM

Following a cause category is an easy way for people interested in giving their energy to their community to see opportunities that are the best fit! We have added a new one- 'election' so if that is something you are interested in, give it a follow! Additionally, if you are involved in municipal, provincial, and federal elections in your community and are looking for volunteers, be sure to use that tag when you post your opportunity! It is all about connecting people who care about the same things. 



The top 3 cause categories right now are children, youth & family, health and wellness, and covid-19! 



Pandemic Support

Published: Mar 1, 2021 @ 4:25 PM

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association Calgary is a group of 400 women and when masks became part of the public health recommendation, they got busy sewing. Over the course of a couple months they made over 1500 cotton masks! They turned to the VolunteerConnector to find organizations looking for masks and were successful! 1500 masks getting into the hands of people who can use them, keeping more people in the community safe. 

Watch the for ongoing needs related to Covid response as the needs shift with vaccine roll out. There are people in your community that need a little extra help, organizations that work to meet their needs who will be posting! 

Here is a great example: Drive Happiness



Clear Call for Change

Published: Feb 23, 2021 @ 3:37 PM

Statistics Canada spent their December crowd sourcing information on the diversity of nonprofit and charity boards in the nonprofit sector and now they have released their findings back to the community!

You can read them here - Diversity of charity and non-profit boards of directors: Overview of the Canadian non-profit sector

There is tons of research available about how varied voices around a table produces stronger decisions, better output, more innovation, and better impact. This is a snapshot of where we are at and an even clearer call that there needs to be room made at the table for the different life experiences that exist in all our communities. 



Volunteer as a Family

Published: Feb 16, 2021 @ 5:11 PM

Volunteering can be a family affair! 

Since we all just spent the weekend spending MORE time with our immediate families, we thought we would take a look at family friendly opportunities on the Connector. 

We compared the first 6 weeks of the past 3 years and volunteer opportunities for families have DOUBLED! There are also THREE times the number of youth friendly opportunities. The families that contact us are all shapes and sizes; an aunt looking for something to do with her niece, a grandma looking for an opportunity to do both with her son and her granddaughter. Universally they are looking to engage with causes that they care about and share that experience with a person that they also care about. 



Shifting Trends in Volunteerism

Published: Feb 9, 2021 @ 10:45 AM

Like many sectors the pandemic is shifting the way the non-profit and charitable sector operate. One aspect of this shift that we are monitoring and most interested in, is the way organizations engage volunteers. Volunteer Canada recently published a report outlining some specific examples of how organizations are having to adapt during this difficult time, as well as the ongoing struggles many organizations are facing.

Some key findings from their report that stood out include the following:

  • Organizations are struggling to find the time to transition new volunteer positions to virtual positions.
  • Organizations are struggling to find enough staff to support their overall volunteer engagement efforts.
  • There are too many volunteer applications being submitted in comparison to open positions.

With the use of technology through the VolunteerConnector platform we are always trying to stay one step ahead of the sector to offer timely support. To support organizations that are struggling to find the time to transition new positions to virtual positions, we have made more changes to the volunteer posting page to make it easier for organizations to submit postings. There are tips along the side of the form providing support to organizations that are new to virtual volunteerism. We have made it easy so that organizations can break-up larger positions that were previously done in person to smaller positions that can be done by multiple people virtually. What is most exciting about this upgrade is that the VolunteerConnector is so well optimized online that we can guarantee organization will receive interest in their postings.

For organizations that are struggling to find enough staff to support their volunteer engagement efforts, the VolunteerConnector offers sophisticated software that is built on best practices to make it easier to engage, screen, connect, organize, and schedule volunteers. Taking advantage of all the features the VolunteerConnector offers will save organizations countless time and money.

Finally, to support organizations that are receiving too many applications from volunteers we have made changes to the platform so when an organization selects virtual in their posting their position will show up in communities outside their own. This is an amazing feature as it provides opportunities to volunteers in smaller communities who may not have a lot of active posting to choose from - meaning the volunteer can offer virtual support to other communities and then once this pandemic is over, they can go back to their in-person positions in their local communities. This is a win-win for organizations and volunteers, as organizations continue to receive the support they need while volunteers continue to be engaged in meaningful ways, which is especially important now. This also means that organizations that do not have the capacity to engage their usual number of volunteers, can feel less guilting knowing that there are other opportunities out there that volunteers can participate in.

To read more about Volunteer Canada’s findings you can find the complete report here: Volunteering Lens of COVID-19: Fall Survey Highlights or to learn more about the work we are doing to support communities through volunteerism reach out at



What do you mean Shared Platforms?

Published: Feb 8, 2021 @ 3:07 PM

Shared Platforms are pretty awesome, the Ontario Nonprofit Network describes them as “an innovative model for emerging projects that foster collaboration and eliminates administrative barriers, allowing projects to focus on their community work”.

For us here at VolunteerConnector that means we put all our time, energy and resources into making the platform work for volunteers and organizations so that those humans can spend their capacity doing their work in community.

We also get to feel a part of all the wonderful work that organizations on VolunteerConnector are doing, a quick look on the opportunities posted now shows that there is work being done via VolunteerConnector is every of the 29 cause categories. It also means all the groups and VolunteerConnector are working together to help people engage in their communities.

If you are interested in learning more about Shared Platforms check out the work Ontario Nonprofit Network is doing - Shared Platforms.



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