Latest News | Empathy

Tick Tock

Published: Jul 17, 2024 @ 6:00 PM

We have been engaged in a lot of chatter recently around time. Who has it, who does it, how long things take, how to have more of it, where to spend it. 

Someone once told me that “time is an allocatable resource”, that everyone can decide how their time is spent and where they spend it. This same sentiment was recently shared again (probably 20 years after the first time) and this time it fell on wiser ears. There is a danger in this over simplistic version of assessing another person’s capacity and it is rooted in privilege, ignoring systems and realities. In both these scenarios the speaker was white man, in his middle aged with employment that fairly compensates. Both these men would have considered themselves with the times and aware of social justice issues and yet this massive blind spot exists and persists. The added danger of this view are the spaces that are controlled by this mindset and the trickle down in attitudes that happen across organizations. That then also shows up in norms, practices and policies. This of course shows up in the discourse around volunteerism. It puts the onus on the individual and absolves the organization of thinking deeper about who makes up their community and how much “allocatable time” actually exists for them and when that “allocatable time” occurs. For those individuals that have autonomy over their time let this serve as an important reminder that that reality is the abnormal one. 


Why Wouldn't You Want to Give Back?

Published: Jul 10, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

This week we welcome guest blog writer Aaqib Rahim. Aaqib was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan and has called the vibrant country of Canada home since 2013. Back in March 2020,

I applied through the VolunteerConnector website to volunteer with the Tetra Society of North America. Following this, I was then approached by Annae Jones, the Chapter Coordinator at that time. Even though, my stance initially was never to land a volunteering position at a non-profit specifically having seen Annae’s enthusiasm, kind, and welcoming gesture, despite being physically handicapped I felt almost obliged to accept her proposal. Simply put, having witnessed this, my perception regarding what it is like to volunteer at a non-profit changed significantly. I now hold the opinion that we must try our best to benefit our local and regional communities as much as possible to then ensure that both the environment as well as the nature are adequately preserved and taken care of. What incentivised me the most however was the fact that I would be helping in making a notable contribution upon the lives of the vulnerable individuals. These past four and a half years have helped me grow in confidence substantially. Tetra Society of North America provides valuable incentives for their volunteers. In that, all their volunteers are given out a small token of appreciation such as gift cards. Now thanks to this immeasurable experience I could apply elsewhere as well if I really wanted to. All that is required of me in this position at Tetra as an outreach volunteer is to promote the organization efficiently and effectively. That said, this then enables Tetra Society of North America in effectively attracting potential volunteers. In addition to which, provided the awareness methods are efficient Tetra is also able to help expand its reach across the various other Chapters (cities). Throughout my time here with Tetra Society of North America I have always felt welcomed and appreciated. That said, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been gifted the opportunity of giving back to the community. In my opinion, it is the little acts of generosity such as these that make up a significant difference, consequently bettering our livelihoods. So, let me ask you this: why wouldn’t you want to give back to your local community?


Summer Time Events

Published: Jul 4, 2024 @ 6:00 PM

Summer is the time for festivals and long weekends! These events that form core memories and traditions are organized by volunteers. These groups of humans usually work the whole year to create a space for community gathering and enjoyment. They put on the event with the day of help of many more people who give a part of their day, their evening or their whole weekend. If you are out and about in the next couple months attending these events, please take a moment to thank a volunteer who is there for enabling this moment. If you are looking at your summer calendar and you have some time and capacity think about giving some of your energy to your local festival, fair, sporting event! Here are some events that are currently looking for people to help-

Alberta Open Farm Days

Americas Cup & Do North Triathlon 

Burlington Veg Fest

Parkinson Society British Columbia 


Celebrating Community Spirit and Strengthening Ties in Coquitlam

Published: Jun 26, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

This week we welcome as a guest blog our wonderful colleague from the coast- Danielle George. Danielle is originally from Kansas, USA, she has fostered over 20 cats, dogs (see this guy with a fancy bowtie) and rabbits in the past 4 years! She is a roller derby aficionado and believes strongly that food is love. Danielle is a brilliant community leader at Volunteer Connections in Coquitlam, BC. 

Celebrating Community Spirit: The Community Connections & Volunteer Fair-On June 9th, the Port Coquitlam Community Centre buzzed with excitement as it hosted the Community Connections & Volunteer Fair. This vibrant event, a collaboration between Community Volunteer Connections and The City of Port Coquitlam, brought together community members from all walks of life to explore a myriad of opportunities to get involved locally.

A Day of Discovery and Connection-The free-to-attend fair was a resounding success, drawing in over 250 attendees eager to learn about how they could contribute to and benefit from their community. The heart of the fair was the diverse array of 28 organizations, each one dedicated to various causes and activities. These organizations provided information on local clubs, societies, summer programs, and the volunteer needs of area non-profits. Attendees had the chance to engage with representatives, ask questions, and find opportunities that matched their interests and availability.

Workshops: Learning and Creating Together- In addition to the booths, the event featured three workshops led by local organizations. These sessions covered a range of important topics impacting the community, like the pressing issue of the toxic drug crisis, and where to get resources for help. Another workshop offered a creative outlet with a hands-on activity to build hearts out of woven willow branches, bringing participants together through shared artistic expression.

A Hub for All-The Community Connections & Volunteer Fair was designed to serve as a vital link for various groups within the community. Seniors and retirees found new ways to stay active and involved, newcomers discovered avenues to integrate and contribute, students explored volunteer opportunities to complement their studies, and families enjoyed a day out learning and connecting together.

Strengthening Community Ties-Events like the Community Connections & Volunteer Fair are essential for building and maintaining strong community bonds. They provide platforms for individuals to find their place within the community, support local organizations, and work together towards common goals. The fair was not just about volunteering; it was about creating a sense of belonging and mutual support. The success of the event is a testament to the dedication of Community Volunteer Connections and The City of Port Coquitlam, as well as the participating organizations and enthusiastic attendees. Their collective efforts have fostered a more connected, informed, and engaged community. As the day came to a close, there was a palpable sense of accomplishment and optimism. The Community Connections & Volunteer Fair had not only highlighted the many ways to get involved locally but also reinforced the idea that a connected community is a thriving community. Here’s to more events like this, bringing people together and making a positive impact in the Tri-Cities areas.


A Typical Volunteer?

Published: Jun 19, 2024 @ 6:00 PM

This year at our AGM we wanted to explore the question of who is the typical volunteer? Who are they? Where are they? 

I want you to take a couple moments and a sharpie, a pen and random scrap paper, and draw out the typical volunteer- include anything you want about them. Demographics? Where they volunteer? What skills they have? Who they support?  No artistic talents required, stick figures encouraged!

We a have conducted this same process with a bunch of people in focus groups and I am going tell you some of the things you have included in your drawing based on what those focus groups have said: you have likely drawn a woman, someone who is of retiree aged and you have likely used words like ‘helper’ and someone who ‘cares about community’. She has no specific skills of note! 

Some observations about this activity. These were done in groups of people who were all volunteers themselves and very few people described themselves. So funny and wild that when we inquire about an abstract ‘volunteer’ what comes up and the cognitive dissonance that exists between what whom we think a volunteer is and who they are not. 

We also asked AI what a typical volunteer is, one of the pictures generated is here in this blog. They were all different versions of this. AI thinks that a typical volunteer is someone who volunteers in groups, in matching t-shirts and holds a tool. 

With the over 600,000 Canadians who use VolunteerConnector we also have a vision of a typical volunteer. She is Gen Z, and she has so many skills! Humans can choose from 70 skills that they are willing to share are varied and vast, not one really sticks out, the talents that people possess are wide reaching!  Like the person you likely drew the typical volunteer cares about community and maybe is not sure precisely what that means…they follow orgs and causes that are umbrella of doing good. A human who desires to be connected in meaningful engagement who is also existing in 2024…cost of living crisis, a heaviness in the world. They are also looking for flexible opportunities. Research out of the UK around Gen Z stated that rigid commitment was a massive barrier to engaging. We have seen the typical volunteer on the news lately, in fields of universities asking for disclosure and divestment, and in concert stadiums making friendship bracelets. 

Our hope in this discourse around a typical volunteer is that we are a sector spend time reflecting on who actually is. That when we are talking about communities, volunteers, the humans doing work that we pause and reconsider what we think we know, who we think is out there that we can connect to, how those humans might want to engage in the things that they are looking to do, how they are wanting to do it. 


Thinking about recruiting a human for to the board?

Published: Jun 5, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

Last week we shared some tips for humans looking to join a board for the first time, this week we want to offer some tips for orgs trying to recruit humans to serve on their boards! 

-Have an honest conversation about the voices that are missing from around the table and where those humans might be and the reasons they are not there. There are reams of research available on why diversity and intersectionality lead to more vibrancy and better decision making. 

-Think about what the humans will get from the experience with your board. Be explicit about what that is. Ask other members of the board what they are getting from the experience. 

-Center the cause and the work you do, that is what people will connect to. Avoid leading with a bunch of qualifications. 

-Be clear and concise about the time commitment and schedule required. If you are a group of humans who always meets the 3rd Thursday of the month put that right in the opportunity

-Try not to overwhelm a human with an aggressive time commitment. No one apart for boomers knows where they are going to be in 5 years so keep it flexible if you can!

-Post your opportunity on VolunteerConnector, you choose where in the country you recruit from and we cue you with all the information humans want to know. It takes 5 mintues…we have timed it! 


Thinking about volunteering on a board?

Published: May 29, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

‘Tis the season for board recruitment and public committee members! Although the defined season of AGM’s seems to have stayed as part of the before times it does feel that they are more frequent right now. In the land of AGM’s there is also looking for new humans to join the work of governance or operations, depending on the flavour of the board. 

There are lots of opportunities live on VolunteerConnector right now so if you are reading this and thinking about joining a board- do it! You are qualified and your life experience makes you a great asset to anyone trying to do great work in the community. Like most things there is a shoe for every foot…large organizations with a national scope who meet 4 times a year and converse about millions of dollars and strategic ideas and small organizations who meet monthly and do all the things from writing grants to planning events. 

Some quick tips: 

-decide how much time you have (boards usually have regular meetings and then there is usually work in between, most orgs ask for 4-6 hours a month)

-decide when you have time (lots of these meetings occur in the evening so depending on your life that might be a conflict) 

-decide what you care about?  are there causes that really connect with you (use the filters on VolunteerConnector to find the right fit) 

-reflect on what you want…are you looking to share a specific skill set like social media or knowledge of the law or accounting or are you looking to engage in work that you feel really connected to and are happy to just be involved! 

Good Luck! If you want to share your experience joining a board for the first time we would love to hear about it via our blog! Get in touch at


It All Began With a Cat!

Published: May 15, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

This week we welcome Gomathi Sridevi. Gomathi is an aspiring writer with a background in Journalism and a degree in Sociology. Her fascination with societal issues and a desire to articulate thoughts led her to pursue writing. Nurtured by a childhood habit of avidly reading newspapers, she found herself drawn to the world of storytelling. She is commited to exploring the depths of human experience and advocating for social justice as she continues to wield the power of words to inspire, inform, and empower others. 

The lingering fear from a childhood incident, a traumatic encounter with a dog while learning to ride a bicycle, had deeply influenced my relationship with animals. But, one unexpected event shook me out of my usual avoidance.  I was drawn in by a kitten's pitiful cries and decided to look into it. What awaited me was a heart-wrenching sight: a mother and father cat, visibly distressed, desperately attempting to reach their trapped kitten inside a water pipe. Despite my fear, I couldn't stand idly by while these animals suffered. The layout of our two-story house posed challenges in pinpointing the kitten's exact location within the water pipe. Driven by a sense of urgency, I attempted to dislodge the kitten by directing a stream of water into the pipe. However, my parents intervened, wisely cautioning against potential harm. My heart clenched as I listened to the kitten's plaintive cries echoing from within the pipe. I could feel its fear and isolation in the darkness, contrasting sharply with the comforting sounds of its parents' mewls outside, seeking to offer solace. With a professional plumber's assistance, we carefully dismantled the pipe, revealing the frightened kitten trapped in a corner. At that moment, as I reached out to comfort the trembling creature, something within me shifted. Despite my lifelong fear of animals, I felt an unexpected surge of connection. 

As I extended my index finger through the hole, my heart clenched at the sight of the trembling kitten, feeling its tiny paws grasp onto my finger tightly for comfort. I gently lifted it out and tenderly dried it with a cloth before reuniting it with its parents. A surge of emotion overwhelmed me when I caught the gaze of the larger cat as if it were expressing gratitude before turning away with its kitten. Whether it was my imagination or not, I sensed a silent acknowledgement in those expressive eyes.

The satisfaction I derived from aiding this tiny being ignited a desire within me to extend my assistance to others in need. It wasn't merely about helping animals find their way back home; it was about offering solace and support to any living being that had lost its path. With a heart now open to the possibility of making a difference, I embarked on a journey of compassion, seeking out opportunities to lend a helping hand wherever it was needed. Whether it was comforting a frightened animal, offering aid to a struggling neighbour, or championing causes dear to my heart, I found fulfilment in acts of kindness, both big and small. In the simple act of rescuing a kitten, I discovered a profound truth: that the greatest reward lies not in receiving, but in giving. As I continued on this path of compassion, my heart beat with a newfound sense of purpose, guiding me toward a life filled with empathy, understanding, and boundless love for all living beings.



Published: May 9, 2024 @ 6:00 PM

The humans involved in VolunteerConnector have over one hundred years’ experience in the charitable sector. We have seen a lot and heard about a lot over the years. Something quite delightful and fun came through our world and we thought we might share it! 

Fix-It Fair! Not just a catchy name but a delightful combination of community groups, humans with talents to offer and vital community resources all in one place. We love the idea of individuals being brought together and connected with community. The premise seems to be pretty flexible, essentially there is a group of people who have varied talents for ‘fixing’ things…small electronics, bikes, websites…the applications seem endless, there is also group of humans who have some knowledge to share; local historian, passionate gardener…again endless opportunity and those groups come together with vital community resources like family support centres, emergency services, social services to provide a fulsome full day of community connection and learning all in one place. 

We have found a couple across the country- Bowen Island and Kimberley. It seems like such an awesome way to bring people together and foster community! So if the sun is shining in your world and you are looking for an opportunity to bring people in your community together maybe this will inspire you! Be sure to let us know how it goes! 



It's All About the Glimmers

Published: Apr 18, 2024 @ 11:23 AM

It surprises me that every year that the blog on National Volunteer Week always feels like one of the hardest to write. It is likely a combination of things…social media already feels bombarded with ‘thank you volunteers’ imagery and paragraphs of gratitude. People who work in the volunteer world are often busy with events. It could also be the intersection of labour and volunteerism where this feels like a week where we use a monetary value to try to convince the world of the value of that humans provide in their communities, which frankly feels weird. The world in National Volunteer Week 2024 also feels heavy; genocides, climate change, profound issues of justice, capitalism…yikes.

And yet we keep going. And trying. And there are glimmers every day that empathy and goodness are everywhere. Here are some glimmers this week. 
The Haida Nation has their title officially recognized to their more than 200 island territory. The draft is expected to be finalized by the end of the month, it is the right thing, and the full story can be read here. 

The Widget/API is live! For those on our contact list and Regional Partners got an insider scoop but our much-anticipated widget is live. We know that volunteerism lives in lots of different places across Canada and you can now share volunteerism in your corner of the internet. This is a result of years of work and input from many people across the country. It offers a wonderful hyper local option and makes life easier for people wanting to engage in community. If you want to see what it looks like in use, check out the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce. Get in touch if you need help or have questions!

The Tortured Poets Department is coming out. A new album from Taylor for a bunch of Swifties feels like a great way to end the week! Stay tuned for lyric easter eggs in future blogs because they will be there. It’s us, we are the problem :)


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