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If I Don't Do It, Who Else Will?

Published: May 18, 2022 @ 2:15 PM

the galaxy of starsThis was overheard in a coffee shop recently, someone lamenting their position of treasurer on a board of an organization. It is a reality of volunteerism, we all get tired, burnt out and we stay out of obligation or guilt or whatever we tell ourselves. We stay out of a feeling that it might all fall apart if it were not for us. 

If you are considering signing on for another term for a board but it is not because you are super jazzed about what they are doing in this world maybe take this as a sign that it is ok not to. You can say no. Your fellow board members might be sad, they might miss you but everyone will ok, the organization will be ok. Someone else will find the space there and take on the work you were doing in their own way.

Life shifts for all of us, many us will have 12 different volunteer experiences in our lifetimes. You can take some space and time, when you are rested and ready there are tons of opportunities out there on volunteerconnector.org. Maybe in a couple years you might be overheard at a coffee shop sharing the awesome work the organization is doing! Until then; take a break!

 

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2021 AGM - It's Coming

Published: May 9, 2022 @ 10:36 AM

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Volunteer Centre of Calgary (operating the VolunteerConnector) will take place virtually on June 01, 2022 - 9:30-10:30am MST.

 

Guest: Dr Moyo Mutamba

2021 AGM Business Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, June 01, 2020

  • Call to order
  • Appointment of recording secretary
  • Approve the agenda (motion 1)
  • Approve past minutes (motion 2)
  • Treasurer Remarks
  • Receive 2021 Financials (motion 3)
  • Appointment of Auditor (motion 4)
  • Appointment of Board Directors (motion 5)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Adjourn

Our Financials and Annual Report

 

In case you missed the other two links . . . 2021 AGM Registration

 

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Thanks For Being Here

Published: May 3, 2022 @ 5:48 PM

path through an open field with mountains in the distanceWe feel extraordinarily lucky that people doing awesome work in their communities continue to use the VolunteerConnector to share their cause with the world. Whatever your pathway is to try to do better or make the world you live in a smidge better there is space for you here. We would love to highlight some new organizations to the VolunteerConnector and their very valuable work ...

Black Environmental Initiative - The Black Environmental Initiative (BE Initiative) is a project on the Makeway shared platform that promotes the environmental protection of BIPOC communities in Canada and their well-being. In 2020, BE Initiative started a collaboration with the ENRICH project of Dr. Ingrid Waldron, author of the book and NETFLIX documentary "There is something in the water". Together, with Dr. Waldron, we are currently building a national anti-environmental racism coalition that will act as a permanent watch-dog for environmental justice in Canada. BE Initiative is also a voting member of the National Environmental Justice Network (NEJN) in America.

Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network - The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Region is one of 19 biosphere regions within Canada under UNESCO recognition. The Frontenac Arch is an ecologically unique landscape spanning 2700 square kilometres from Brockville to Westport to Verona and is characterized by an ancient ridge of exposed granite that acts as a wildlife corridor between the Adirondack Mountains and the Canadian Shield.

ShelterBox Canada - ShelterBox teams work with disaster-hit families around the world, offering emergency shelter and other essential items to support them in rebuilding their lives. Every disaster is different and so is every community, so we spend time with those affected to make sure we can offer the right support at the right time to help them along their self-recovery journey.

 

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A Conversation About An Anti-Racist Approach To Volunteering

Published: Apr 27, 2022 @ 4:03 PM

people holding hands on a hill with the sun behind themYep, there was an important report released in January. Yesterday, with CCVO, we jointly hosted a conversation about the report with panelists invited to share their perspectives. I heard a lot, a lot, of challenge to progress the conversation to action. Intentionally the January report does not include “solutions” as without listening that would be an attempt to recolonize the practices of volunteer engagement vs decolonize those same practices. We know from all our work in anti-racism and here on the VolunteerConnector, everything has to center on volunteers and their voice, not ours.

As a reminder, what we are talking about is belonging in a community of like-minded individuals, belonging in a city, belonging in a province, and belonging in Canada. Typically, volunteering statistics recognize formal volunteering in organizations. This is huge but only represents the actions of just over half the volunteering that individuals do each year. Belonging requires us to recognize the actions of grassroots and neighbourly support for one another . . . we heard from the panel that this can be where the most meaningful societal change can take place. We also heard there is still a lot of exclusionary practices alive and strong.

I heard so many things, but when it occurred to me to write down a few things to contemplate later this is what I captured:

  • White supremacy in our society still needs to be named
  • Trauma, for racialized people, is always present
  • Volunteerism is too often white saviours asking people to reinforce white supremacy
  • Power is still performative
  • Volunteering is the hope of inclusivity, yet is still so extractive
  • One person always needs to call out white supremacy in organizations
  • Volunteering is/can be a radical act of love
  • Belonging is being part of a beloved community

And in case you missed a very basic human insight:

  • Yelling at people is not helping people belong, just stop!

The overwhelming sense I had as I listened to the panelists was – there is zero conversation about anti-racism in volunteering as a system without looking at the intersections of all the systems volunteering seeks to hold up . . . systems of white supremacy that still need to be named.

It’s a tough conversation. But if we truly care for one another, if we truly want belonging for all, then we will need to abolish harmful systems and provide hospice care as we do it.

Thank you to all the speakers who joined us. Thank you for your vulnerability and risking sharing the hard words we all still need to hear. Thank you to:

Our role is to continue to listen to volunteers, continue to remove barriers in volunteering for everyone using the tools we have - VolunteerConnector - and invite more partners to join the movement to decolonize.

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Free On Tuesday?

Published: Apr 19, 2022 @ 3:53 PM

We, and our friends at CCVO, cordially invite you to join us in conversation with an exceptional group of humans about anti-racism in volunteering.

Panelists will be Dr. Sonia Aujla-Bhullar, Jeff D'Silva, Taylor McNallie and Dr. Moyo Mutamba. It is bound to a vibrant conversation for wherever you are at in your learning or unlearning journey. We are excited to celebrate National Volunteer Week with this symposium. Perk of Zoom means you can join us from around the country, see you there! 

 

Sign up herehttps://www.calgarycvo.org/events/anti-racism-in-volunteering

 

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Countdown Is On!

Published: Apr 12, 2022 @ 9:55 AM

We are officially two weeks out from Canadian National Volunteer Week, how exciting! If you are in full swing of planning, hooray - no doubt your thank you soiree will be epic no matter what form it is taking!

If you read 'two weeks' and panicked do not worry at all, Volunteer Canada has an awesome collection of resources (Volunteer Week Resources) to get you started. Additionally, the research says it over and over again - volunteers just want to be thanked with acknowledgment of the impact of their work - handwritten card, email, text, WhatsApp message...maybe include a fun gif to kick it up a notch! 

An important note that we all sometimes forget, boards are made up of volunteers ... so if you spend some of your time in those spaces make sure you figure out a way to acknowledge each other and work you all do. Order pizza for your next meeting, get matching sweatshirts or take a moment at the start of your next meeting to say what you appreciate about the perspective the person next to you brings. 

 

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Volunteering With Minor Sports

Published: Apr 6, 2022 @ 12:23 PM

If you are involved in minor sports this one is for you ... if not keep scrolling! 

The signs are going up in neighbourhoods across the country promoting enrolment in soccer or baseball or another outdoor ball/field combination. There are tons of perks to children engaging in sports, so definitely think about it if you have not before.

However, we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the thousands of volunteers that make these sports possible. First off thank you - you are doing wonderful work! Coaches, equipment managers, team managers, change room attendants, team coordinators, orange slice providers ... so many more, HOORAY for all of you!

If you are involved in these spaces as a board member or staff here are some quick morsels of support as you think about recruiting support for the teams:

  1. Include a couple sentences describing the role, even two. We have all been out of routine and capacity has shifted significantly in the past 2 years. We might have just forgotten what is actually meant by "co-coach" or maybe we are new to the whole experience. 
  2. Include a time commitment in hours (even just a best guess). Sometimes that shared google calendar has lots of room and sometimes it's on overload. A human needs to know what they can expect and that includes the surprise mandatory training in 2 weeks on a Saturday morning. 
  3. Add what the volunteer will gain from the experience, will you keep them caffeinated? Is the coach training transferable? Do they get an opinion on uniforms? A discount on next year's registration fees? Lots of things motivate lots of people so give it a go!

 

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A Herculean Task In 16 Days

Published: Mar 30, 2022 @ 2:54 PM

rain drops on a puddleWe love to see volunteerism make the news!

Take this coverage from the BBC News - Science & Environment which gives another example of the power of people when they rally around a cause. A project that was going to take a long, long time was done in just 16 days and even involved the King of England. It started as most project do, with a call for help. This one was from the UK Met Office, they had a need to take the 65,000 handwritten rainfall documents in their archives to be translated from the script of old to numbers that could be analyzed at scale. Within weeks the Rainfall Rescue was formed and thousands of volunteers from their pandemic lockdown homes got it done! The United Kingdom now has a much stronger data set and understanding of historical extremes which will help them predict future rainfall weather events.

Oh and the King? There was 10 years of data (1900-1909) from Sandringham House, so that is kind of fun?

 

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Birds & Bulbs

Published: Mar 24, 2022 @ 4:13 PM

We are starting to watch the birds here at VolunteerConnector as they return and the bulbs begin popping out of the ground. We are actively choosing hope. One of the things that gives us hope is seeing all the awesome and cool work that being done across the country. This is a cool place to share that information and maybe it will resonate with you. 

The Circle is an amazing organization which seeks to encourage brave and different thinking inside philanthropy in Canada. They have recently shared a resource I4DM (credit to The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, 2022) which contains beautiful questions to help organizations explore deeper understanding. 

If you are doing work we should hear about or want to share cool things someone else is doing get in touch!

 

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The Nonprofit Vote: Janet Rock

Published: Mar 4, 2022 @ 10:52 AM

We are pleased to see that many people have taken notice of the report, An Anti-Racist Approach to Volunteering. More people need to see it and the conversation needs to continue and grow stronger. Thanks to The Nonprofit Vote it is shared further. Look for some events coming in the future to support that continued conversation!

Thanks to our own Janet Rock for writing a blog post for The Nonprofit Vote, here is a short except:

Volunteering has a good reputation. We tell people it’s the way to gain experience and share skills. Volunteering is fundamental to what we value as a pillar of Canadian society, isn't it? It can be all of these things, but let’s face it. It’s also a colonized practice that pre-dates the formation of our country. The concept was born at the same time as volunteering for the military. This association may have thinned over time, but its direct origins in violent white supremacy should be considered when we look to understand the experiences of volunteers today. (Read full post)

 

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