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Latest News | April 2020


Nonprofit Technology Challenges

Published: Apr 29, 2020 @ 5:28 PM

Thank you to our great friends and regional partners, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations for taking the lead on developing this summary report.

Overview: 

Challenges from COVID-19 continue to grow. Alberta’s nonprofit organizations and charities are facing loss of revenue from the cancellation of programs and events (including major fundraising efforts), as well as a decrease in donations. At the same time, they are dealing with human resource challenges related to paid staff and volunteers.The findings in this overall summary report are organized by what organizations are experiencing and characteristics of the organizations that responded.

Report Highlights - specific to technology

Organizations are currently challenged by new ways of working - staff and volunteers working remotely, adjusting to virtual platforms and the technology challenges associated with this.

  • Challenges related to staff and volunteers needing to work remotely (90%)
  • Adjusting in-person events to a virtual platform (86%)
  • Difficulty engaging volunteers (68%)

Comments included a "high cost of technology" and "managing changing staff and volunteer roles"

Solution

As a team we've been working digitally for over 18 months now. While we can't solve all your tech needs, did you know that the Connector is an all in one digital solution for your volunteer engagement needs? And during the pandemic all features of the Connector are free and easy to use. 

  • Simply sign up or sign in as an organization
  • Click an UPGRADE button
  • Use this free upgrade code "COVID19"

Signing up will also ensure you have access to the thousands of volunteers that are looking to engage your cause as well as be set for any of the new features that are released on a regular basis.

REPORT: The Impact of COVID-19 on Alberta's Nonprofit & Voluntary Organizations

 

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Alberta Cares Connector

Published: Apr 23, 2020 @ 8:45 AM

As part of National Volunteer Week we at the VolunteerConnector are really pleased to be able to collaborate with the Government of Alberta to provide the AlbertaCaresConnector to all Albertans. 

Volunteers are the foundation for many community organizations providing social support and assistance to those in need. Alberta has more than 26,400 non-profit organizations and, each year, more than 1.6 million Albertans provide more than 262 million volunteer hours to support the non-profit and voluntary sector at a value of $5.6 billion.

Alberta Government News Release - April 22, 2020

 

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National Volunteer Week

Published: Apr 20, 2020 @ 10:25 AM

COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: WE APPLAUD YOU

National Volunteer Week isn't just a time to recognize and acknowledge all the formal organizing efforts out there, it's also an opportunity to applaud all the informal volunteer activities. During this pandemic we have seen a lot of that simple neighbourly care. Thanks to everyone for being willing to sit on a board AND shovel a walk. Thanks to everyone for being willing to take a shift serving vulnerable people AND organize a park cleanup! 

So we are calling on all community organizers! Did you know during the pandemic, the VolunteerConnector isn't just for organizations. It can be used by you to call out your needs to community. You can have access to all the resources along with everyone else.

 

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CTV Calgary Interview

Published: Apr 17, 2020 @ 2:45 PM

Ahead of Volunteer Week (April 20-24, 2020) our colleague, Katie Dodd, joining the team at CTV Calgary to talk about volunteering needs on the VolunteerConnector.

You can watch the INTERVIEW with CTV here.

 

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Empathy During COVID-19

Published: Apr 7, 2020 @ 7:26 PM

 

Thank you for all you do in community. I won’t say “these are trying/challenging times” because these times are . . . oh right, don’t say it.

Volunteering is Hope

One of my favourite shows, and one I’ve been binging lately is Star Trek. So I can’t help thinking “What if the world were like Star Trek?” What do you mean, the part about flying through space? Nope, the part about humans doing whatever they can to explore and extend their capacity to care. Well, we are seeing that right now all over the place!

How do I know? Well, we have seen the interest on VolunteerConnector double each week in the last few weeks. People want to help one another. This is such a great story of how we all respond as neighbours in our moments of crisis and need. It gives me hope that we are ever moving closer to a truly empathetic society, possibly the promise of Star Trek. (I know there’s lots to leave on the cutting room floor, like story lines that drag on!)

So What? What can people who engage volunteers do?

The only answer is adapt. Organizations aren’t anything without the people in them, so look after yourself and your team. There’s lots of wisdom out there to help you make good choices. Especially the stuff about staying home for non-essential workers. If you’re thinking about engaging your volunteer team, and possibly even expanding it right now, this requires an adaptation. We suggest doing three things:

  • Take account of your needs to recruit and get the message out there with a post on the VolunteerConnector. Maybe you are still requiring a new board member for that postponed AGM. Really focus on the needs right now and try not to feel pressure to create busy work for volunteers. We wouldn’t want to accidentally encourage people to be breaking physical distancing guidelines.
  • Think about your experience in working from home. You’re trusted with access to files and email address and all sorts of thing. So many people at home have capacity to help and want to. Can we extend the systems that are currently working for us paid humans to those we trust to volunteer?
  • Do you see a lot of informal volunteer movements? Feel free to post the opportunity on VolunteerConnector to get an extra helping hand. If you can’t do it then simply forward this to that self organizing effort, or tag us @volunteercal so we can help spread the word.

IMPORTANT NOTE: 

Do you find yourself needing to be more organized with your front line response? Your organization or community effort can always post for free on the VolunteerConnector to recruit. But did you know our scheduling and tracking tools are free during covid-19?

  • simply sign in,
  • click an UPGRADE button,
  • use the upgrade code "COVID19" to
  • start free scheduling and tracking features!

Please forward this message on to any of the community organizers out there so they can get connected to the tens of thousands of people who are ready to help. If they need support in getting connected then we are here to help at info@volunteerconnector.org.

Volunteering Teaches Empathy

I remember learning about empathy from Star Trek. Empathy is something only humans can provide. While the promise of the machines taking over is ever present (yes, I watch too much science fiction), we know that to have and deliver empathy is a human quality. It’s a great time to try to understand one another, and see the world from another’s perspective. I think our instinct to reach out and be neighbourly, to volunteer our time, is empathy in action. My Star Trek dreams may be a bit far-fetched, but a world where we all provide for each other is not and this crisis is proving that to me daily.

Thanks,

Doug

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CBC Radio Interview

Published: Apr 2, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Yesterday our colleague, Katie Dodd, was able to join our friends at ECVO on CBC Radio to talk about volunteering in our province during this global pandemic. 

Have a listen to the INTERVIEW with Adrienne Pan on the CBC website.

 

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Volunteer Interest during COVID-19

Published: Apr 1, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Highlights of the changes we've seen in the last few weeks include:

  • Interest has increased overall (attached graph) with the largest areas of growth:
  • 65+ group had the largest increase (157% higher) of new volunteers searching
  • Age 25-34 remains the largest group of existing volunteers looking to serve
  • Males increased by 5% (a major shift from our monitoring in the last year)
  • Volunteer Alberta accounted for 13% of referral traffic

**Organizations should think about tailoring the message and opportunity to match new interest as it is important in meeting that interest.

 

Some key observations we've made regarding these changes are: 

  • Interest in volunteering is exceeding pre COVID-19
    • This shows the level of care and compassion we have for our communities, we all want to help
  • Individuals are still looking for regular opportunities to volunteer 
    • Tailor your message for new volunteer interest
    • This is important as prior to AGMs there still is a requirement for new board positions
    • Typical volunteering roles still need filling like translation support
  • We need organizations to adapt their positions to virtual volunteering
    • Organizations may need more support from capacity builders in adapting resources to virtual work for staff
    • Organizational infrastructure support for virtual work with staff needs to extend in the same way to volunteers
    • ONN/Imagine Canada have a webinar series beginning on April 2

 

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