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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 :)


Never Enough- Five Years of Meals on Wheels Volunteer Shortages

Published: Mar 27, 2024 @ 6:00 AM

Volunteer Toronto has launched their much-anticipated Research Report: Never Enough, Five Years of Meals on Wheels Volunteer Shortages. Huge congratulations to Kasandra and the whole team at Volunteer Toronto for putting this together such enormous energy and effort to produce!

You should read the whole report, we wanted to highlight some things we thought were interesting. 

This report is such a cool discussion on intersectionality. The first layer being the humans requiring the services of Meals on Wheels and the various identities that they hold in our community. The labour that we put on these humans to access the supports they need to have quality of life is wild and undoubtedly exhausting. The other layer of intersectionality we found interesting was the weaving of the broad issue of food security, the world event of the Covid-19 pandemic and how those two issues collide with grassroots organizing, mutual aid and formal existing non-profits. There is such a layered story there and it is cool to examine how it has looked in a particular place at a particular time. 

Another aspect of the report that stuck out to us was using demographic data to potentially identify the “Ideal” Meals on Wheels volunteer and concluding that does not exist at the quantity needed to fill the need in community. It is cool to think about organizations applying this process when thinking about their own volunteer engagement and formulating opportunities. Furthermore, using that lens when deciding how reasonable it is to continue struggling in their volunteer recruitment. It seems like another strategy to tackle the shift in volunteerism. 

Finally, very helpful to return to a story five years later. We often see data come and go, highlights or trending topics pop up. Volunteer Toronto initially studied Meals on Wheels volunteer recruitment struggles in 2018, tried some interventions and supports and now in 2024 are revisiting. Certainly, gives weight to the recommendations that Volunteer Toronto has laid out. 

Thanks again for all your awesome work in the land of volunteerism Volunteer Toronto! 


Give Them Something to Talk About

Published: Mar 19, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

“I had the best time!”, I learned so much”, “I met some cool people”. We have been hosting guest writers on our blog for a couple years now and one thing is for certain when people have a positive experience volunteering with an organization, they want to talk about it. These experiences have ranged from one-time events to longer relationships with an organization. We do not have data around the ripple that this causes for an organization or community, but it sure does make a person curious. Does this positive experience cause a person to donate? Does this cause other in their network to volunteer for the same organization or cause? Does it open the door for someone’s own volunteering story? Does it create a sense of community belonging that then shows up in other spaces? The data shows that word of mouth has significant impact on people’s behaviour in terms of consumerism so it does not seem like a far reach to think it can also impact an organization volunteer program. If we take the advice from the product and brand world and try to apply it to volunteerism here are some tips to utilize word of mouth in promoting volunteerism.

-Make sure volunteers feel connected. This can be through whatever means works for the culture of the organization- text, WhatsApp, Email, newsletter, live human moments etc. Listen to what they have to say. 

-Ensure volunteers are in the loop about all the things the organization is up to. The special events, the fundraisers, the meetings, the accomplishments. 

-Let people know when you are looking to engage more humans in your organization. Encourage them to share all the things with the people in their lives. 

-Give all the humans who are engaging with your organization a fantastic reason to talk about the their experience by making it a good one. 


National Volunteer Week 2024

Published: Mar 13, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

Volunteer Canada has launched their 2024 National Volunteer Week Toolkit. Hooray!

 The theme of the week is #EveryMomentMatters. It contains free resources, social media images and all the things! There is a zoom background and some editable canva pieces as well which could be helpful for your organization. They have also shared a bunch of printable things like cards and certificates. You can check it all out here on the Volunteer Canada site. 

If you are looking for some additional support around recognition we are happy to chat, we also created this little gem last year Volunteer Celebration Worksheet to help capture the thoughts and feeling of the humans who are giving their time to your organization. 


Halton, Ontario to Edmonton, Alberta Volunteerism Across the Land!

Published: Feb 7, 2024 @ 12:37 PM

We love seeing what our friends across the country are up to. The work they are doing and open to sharing- 

Volunteer Halton published their ‘Our Halton’ report which brings together their own data along with tons of other research to tell the story of volunteerism in Halton Region. Check out the footnotes for so many brilliant other points of interesting reads, including research from the University of Waterloo are on engaging youth in philanthropy. 

Our friends in Edmonton at ECVO published a lovely story featuring Turlough from the Winspear Centre (Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) and how we took an opportunity to shift the culture of a volunteer program. Turlough was a speaker at our Symposium in the Fall and we also enjoy his perspective. 

CBC’s show Now or Never featured a whole episode on people stepping up in their community to respond to need. You can listen to that episode here!


Practices for Non-Profits and Corporations

Published: Jan 10, 2024 @ 12:00 PM

In the past 30 days the conversation around corporate volunteer groups has come up a lot. It is this season that puts a magnifying glass on what can be a tough experience for both organizations and the humans inside a company, all to the tune of a lovely holiday jingle. 

Volunteering should always feel meaningful for both parties. Volunteer Canada has put together this helpful resource for organizations and corporations in thinking about engaging in a mutually beneficial relationship. Volunteer Canada (2023, November 14). Different Ways to Engage with Your Local Business Community [PowerPoint Slides]. Centerville Network Forum – November 2023, Volunteer Canada.

If you are looking to work with an organization in your area, have a look on VolunteerConnector and start next year off with a conversation. 


Things that are making us keep thinking

Published: Dec 6, 2023 @ 6:00 PM

We love sharing resources and activities that are interesting and helpful to humans engaged in their communities. We have come across a couple in the past month that have shifted our thinking. 

Selkirk College, Capilano University and Vancouver Community College have come together with several community organization in British Columbia to produce Courageous Dialogues: Navigating Polarization. This guide offers a plethora (we do not use that word lightly) of resources for the individual, community and leader to navigate this complex social issue. We love that they have included a lens of time investment to let the reader opt in based on their time so check this out if you are ready for a toe dip or a deep dive. 

We love this work so much we have included it permanently on our Get Support and Learn page. but it is certainly worth sharing here again. Ontario Nonprofit Network have been doing a ton of work around decent work. There are checklists, case studies, publications, reports and toolkits. They take a brilliant intersectional lens. Decent Work is…Needed. Not Difficult. Happening.

Volunteer Alberta is running a webinar on as part of their Equity and Inclusion in Volunteer Screening Series. On January 16, 2024 you can join Yvonne Chenier from IntegralOrg on learning about the protective legislation that protects volunteers. 



The Continuum of Civic Engagement

Published: Nov 22, 2023 @ 6:00 PM

Our friends at Volunteer Toronto have created some awesome things in pursuit of enlivening civic engagement in their city. We love to share things that can be helpful no matter what corner of the country you find yourself in; large or small; vibrant or languishing. 

You can take a quiz to find out your civic engagement style and explore the 7 different ways you can give back in your community. We are very into the whole vibe of everyone currently holds space in their community but next year it can look completely different. Here are the seven ways to engage in your community Build Empathy, Connect with Others, Give Resources, Give Time & Skills, Be Heard, Start Organizing and Get Political. Locate yourself within the continuum and explore some other ways to engage to in your community. Such a great resource for providing language for the many ways people participate in their towns, cities and communities across the country. 

Take the self-assessment quiz here.

Check out the full continuum here

Thanks Volunteer Toronto for the energy and work! 


Holiday Opportunities

Published: Nov 8, 2023 @ 12:50 PM

Create your holiday opportunities now while thousands of volunteers are looking.

Did you know that over 6,500 volunteer searches are happening everyday? People are looking for you!

We are just starting the holiday season. Well, maybe it's a bit early to say that . . . but it is never too early to be thinking about how to engage current and new volunteers over the next few months.Take advantage of the 3 month trial that allows you to access all the features of the VolunteerConnector.

Inspiring individuals - not sure where to start when recruiting? 

Be inspired by our Guest Bloggers. As they share their experiences you will find there is plenty of ways to engage people to share their passion with you and your cause. In many ways it is volunteering that has shaped their lives more than any other as these friends of ours looked to make an Impact, build Connections and find that sense of Belonging in their communities.



Next. Symposium Thank You!

Published: Oct 18, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

We held a symposium, and it was fantastic. A huge thank you to all the speakers! They were all truly brilliant and inspired in so many ways. Something is so magical about gathering people in community from across the country (and Scotland). If you have a chance to connect with any of these people or hear any of them speak, please do! Make sure to check out all the awesome work they are doing. Deepest gratitude to all of these humans:

Danielle (Volunteer Connections

Debbie (Volunteer Scotland)

Candice (Ontario Non-Profit Network)

April (Helping Hands Cochrane)

Alina (Vantage Point)

Katie (Community Foundation of Nova Scotia)

Aditi (Pillar Non-Profit Network)

Corrina (Volunteer Connect York Region)

Turlough (Winspear Centre

 The ideas were so fast and furious! If you missed us and you want to engage in conversation, we are gathering again on November 8 at 11:00 MST. Email us for the invite



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