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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. 


2023 AGM - June 12, 2024

Published: Apr 9, 2024 @ 9:07 AM

Our 2023 AGM is coming up on June 12, 2024. Join us as it will include:

  • A brief business meeting
  • A presentation of the year in review
  • A discussion on how to use our/your data to support volunteer recruitment to your cause

See you all there: REGISTER


Next. Symposium Community Learnings

Published: Nov 14, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

Our Next. Symposium group gathered again to further process and reflect on their learnings from the event! Here are some of their key takeaways:

  • when the world feels heavy know that there are little bits of kindness happening everywhere
  • Gen Z should take over the world immediately
  • the charitable sector is made up of human beings and these humans need space in their jobs to FEEL and not just work
  • we are in a time and place where radical change is needed
  • sometimes the best way to start a tough conversation with a volunteer is to say “sounds like you are not having a good time?”



Next. A symposium on community belonging, engagement and volunteerism

Published: Jul 25, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

Join us on Wednesday, September 27 at 11:00am MST for a symposium  This will undoubtedly be a moment to remember as an extraordinary group of humans who have profound impact in their communities gather to share insights, illuminations and lessons from the past. Take this opportunity to shift your understanding and feel invigorated about the work of compassion and causes. This imagining is meant for anyone and everyone who engages other humans in community work; volunteer managers, grassroots organizers, community leaders, executive directors, board members, civil workers, people who work in the charitable sector, volunteers, people who care about their community but are not really sure what that looks like! 

The symposium will feature ten, 3 minute moments (think TikTok but with the lens of social justice and belonging), a full some space for conversation and parting thoughts. 

To read more about the people involved and register click here

email for more information.


Value Of Digital Transformation

Published: Jul 10, 2023 @ 2:22 PM

Have you ever wondered what the value of a digital transformation looks like? Well here are some numbers to answer that question. It's not always our fav, in this sector, to quantify in $$ the value of the work . . . but occasionally a board or a funder requests it to gain a better understanding of the impact or reach of the organization.

  • The value of volunteer labour provided by our matching services is estimated to amount to $1.6 billion, since September 2019 when we began tracking this measure.
  • Over the same period of time, the cost savings for organizations who used our recruitment services was estimated at $9.0 million.
  • Regional partners, our peer capacity building organizations, across Canada saved an estimated $4.7 million through our collaboration efforts.

For every dollar investors contribute to Propellus we return 486% in cost savings and labour value to the sector. These staggering figures reflect the value of long-term collaboration and the power of digital transformation inside the charitable sector. (**compared to 31% in 2016)



2022 AGM - June 1

Published: May 17, 2023 @ 2:04 PM

Our 2022 AGM is coming up on June 1. Join us as it will include:

  • A brief business meeting
  • A presentation of the year in review
  • A discussion on how to use our/your data to support volunteer recruitment to your cause

See you all there: REGISTER



Connect With Us!

Published: May 2, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

Sharing and learning with our fellow humans is one of our most favourite things here at VolunteerConnector. We love hearing how organizations and communities are navigating the world. It is also fun for us to share what we have been working on! We have some opportunities coming up to create spaces for building understanding and relating. Please feel free to join us for any or all and to let us know at if there is something you want to chat about! 

We know where some volunteers are! 

Festivals, Fairs, Rodeos Oh My!

Tips and Tricks for Boards 

Can I ask you a question? 



Thank You!

Published: Apr 21, 2023 @ 6:00 AM

In celebration of National Volunteer Week I had this great idea of visually displaying the thousands and thousands of different roles that humans have connected with over the past year via VolunteerConnector. Alas, it turns out that a 100 page pdf is pretty hard to condense in a way that is not just a black void so here we are, a bejewelled valentine of sorts as a deep and heartfelt acknowledgement (with a couple of those volunteer roles inside the heart).

To the people who wake up in the morning and think about someone else, to the person who wakes up and sees a gap in their community and tries to fill it, a person who speaks out at town council on causes they care about, the person who manages social media for the group that does not really know about this space, the person who hears a neighbour has a bunch of sick kids and leaves some muffins, the people that use their skills on boards, the people who share their community stories, the list goes on and on. You not only make people’s lives better, you make our communities places of comfort and belonging, you make other people want to keep going, you create places and spaces where people feel safe. So from our hearts- thank you. Profoundly thank you for being the reason we get to exist. Thank you for believing that changing our world is possible. Thank you for trying. 



2022 Year In Review

Published: Mar 2, 2023 @ 4:40 PM

We don't often talk about the $$$ required to run the VolunteerConnector. The last few years have been especially lean, requiring our board to approve targeted investments into the life of the Connector. What you may not realize is that, as a registered charity, we are almost 100% funded through grants and donations. It also means that every upgraded subscription goes right back into the development of the features and future plans of the platform.

Every single investment in the the VolunteerConnector enriches the lives of every Albertan as barriers to volunteering get further reduced. These investments echo not just this year or next but through to the next generation of volunteers looking to engage in community.

Yesterday we received some welcome news. We were approved for an Alberta CIP Grant! Thanks to the team at the Alberta Ministry of Culture.

So, ever wonder what happens when the government grants to a cool place like the Connector … it means improved access to volunteering for everyone! Not only that, thanks to our many and growing Regional Partners across the country it means that access to volunteering improves for all Canadians!

Here's a sample of our 2022 Year in Review:

Looking forward to even more to celebrate in 2023! Its off to a great start!!

Your VolunteerConnector Team



Shout Out To Boards & Highlighting Cool Opportunities

Published: Feb 22, 2023 @ 6:17 PM

This blog post is a two parter - shout out to boards and highlighting some cool opportunities on VolunteerConnector so here we go! 

We are heading into board recruitment season, lots of organizations and causes are looking for lots of positions. If you are reading this and don’t think you belong on a board or you don’t have the “right” qualifications, you are EXACTLY the person who should be there! So think about using that board filter at the top of the page and finding a cause that resonates with you. If a board feels like too much commitment- hooray for being honest about how much energy you must commit. Many boards also have committees where you can lend your expertise, perspective and lived experience. 

Alright, part two - here are some opportunities that we don’t see every day and sound cool to us:

Love the term “relational rockstar” -

Social Media Coordinator

Use your design skills to help an awesome national organization - 

Volunteer with Canada Confesses' Design Team!

Give some time and enjoy the theatre - 

Theatre Attendant

Volunteer as a family! - 

Literacy for Life Foundation

Happy Volunteering,

Your VolunteerConnector Team