Latest News | Recent Posts

Volunteering: How it Changed My Entire Outlook - Guest Blog

Published: May 19, 2021 @ 11:22 AM

For the longest time since I can remember, I had never been a fan of little children. All the screaming, crying, messiness - it just drove me insane. People would look at me like I was an alien from an outer planet when I told them I very much disliked kids. Now, however, you can find me daydreaming about what it would be like to have my own kids someday. So, how did that change? Long story short, volunteering changed my entire outlook on children.

I first started volunteering out of sheer desperation. Applications for a specific high school I wanted to attend were drawing to a close, and they required a certain amount of volunteer hours. The hours I currently had in my bank? Zero. I know, my motivations for donating my time weren’t all that noble. But, we all have to start somewhere, right? Well, after countless hours of searching, I came up with one possible opportunity. Unfortunately, though, the opportunity involved helping kids with their bible study at my church. Biggest. Nightmare. Ever. Reluctantly, I headed towards my first shift. Two hours later, I was drained. The next shift rolled around, and I was in a debate with myself over whether to go or not. Finally, my morals poked at my sides, and I dragged myself to the church. This persisted for the next couple of months. Despite my earlier hesitations, however, I began to notice a change in myself. I was so much more open-minded, and the kids there were starting to grow on me. The way they would look up at you adoringly when you read aloud, and the way they beamed when you gave them a high five. Soon enough, I began to look forward to my upcoming shifts.

Through this experience, I have learned that beautiful things don’t come without hardship. Although I endured countless hours of wailing children, I was also rewarded with the sacred relationship I formed with them. I have also learned that persistence is key to success. If I had not pushed myself through those first few weeks, I never would have found myself here now. I hope that my story can encourage others to persevere, as there will always be a prize at the end.

Thank you,

Yuri Choi



Just a Little Bit

Published: May 11, 2021 @ 2:25 PM

One of our fav people, Adam Grant, wrote a widely shared article in the past couple weeks about our current state "languishing". The zoom conversations that I am having where people have the energy to have their cameras on involve a lot of blank stares. I, myself have been trying to complete my online grocery order for 2 weeks. It's a time. We are all holding our breath and putting one foot in front of another.

The bandwidth required for taking a new volunteer role or imagining if that gala fundraiser can happen in the fall may not be present right now. It is ok, this is where mircovolunteering comes in. Liking, sharing, commenting on social media is a little something to elevate a cause you care about. It matters.

Check out this awesome example from the cool people at GlobalMedic!  



Stats Stack Up!

Published: May 4, 2021 @ 1:14 PM

Want to see how we compare to the latest data released from Statistics Canada from 2018?

Younger people most likely to volunteer? Same!

  • People under 35 make up 52% of our traffic.

Millennial and Baby Boomer women had higher rates of volunteering than men within the same generations – Totally

  • 63% of our users are female!

Event organization and fundraising most common types of formal volunteering – Um, what?

  • Our most popular types of formal volunteering are in marketing and pr, tutoring and mentoring, and admin.

People are really into informal volunteering – Yeah, of course!

  • People love to find informal volunteer opportunities on the Connector. They are spreading acts of kindness, cheer, and taking the time to do small things for each other and the planet. The role “Messages of Cheer” was viewed 24,000 times in just a couple of months!

Young people love disseminating information? YUP!

  • Just like roles in Marketing and PR are popular, spreading info, advocating and being formal or informal ambassadors are all pretty popular opportunities. Most postings are filled within 2 weeks or less!



What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Volunteering (Part 2 of 2)

Published: Apr 27, 2021 @ 9:08 AM

Last week to celebrate National Volunteer Week we started a conversation about the unspoken realities of volunteerism. We are continuing to feel all the feelings!  

Unintentional harm is still harm. 

It is difficult to acknowledge that hurt can still happen with the best of intentions. Lots of reasons for this...structures, ignorance, systems not designed for the human. The act of volunteering can result in harm for people. Whether that is the process of recruitment requiring someone to interact with police or whether that is a board meeting that is not a safe place, we all need to own our part in assessing the ways in which we magnify or create harm and oppression.   

Lots of volunteer roles allay guilt but do not address root causes. 

There has been a shift in the past decades where organizations have altered their volunteer roles into a more skilled and flexible place. Volunteerism in most forms still offers a very “thin relationship” (Dean Spade). One can't help but wonder if we dedicated more time and energy to thinking about and addressing the complex and unique problems in our own communities instead of getting the hit of dopamine for something mundane for an industrial charity what we could shift for each other? For our communities?  

Are you uncomfortable again?

Maybe this is still feeling like a lot, maybe you are about to write a second email to tell us exactly why we are way off base, maybe you are feeling defensive of yourself or your organizations. That is still ok. Centre the voices of people in your organization who are underrepresented, do what they recommend, circle back to check to see what still needs to be done. There is still not a checklist for solutions, a certification for completion and perfection is still not possible so just start doing something. 

Still keep on learning.

Inspiration and information for this piece was taken from the below people and spaces:



What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Volunteering (Part 1 of 2)

Published: Apr 20, 2021 @ 1:58 PM

This week is National Volunteer Week here in Canada, a time to celebrate the time, energy, and value that volunteers offer to communities and organizations across the country. Volunteerism and the giving sector have a reputation as a feel-good time and space, it is the warm and fuzzies in a world where these moments can feel few and far between. We should celebrate people for the good work they do but we also need to acknowledge some truths. This is not about to be some big expose on the sector or volunteerism it is just going to outline things we all know but never say. 

Volunteering is an act of privilege. 

It costs on average $1700/year to participate in volunteering. There are many people in our country who do not have the luxury of spare time or energy to dedicate to even thinking about pursuing something that sparks joy in their spare time because their spare time does not exist. They are too busy meeting basic needs for themselves and their families. It means those voices are often missing at the tables in spaces designed to support these same humans. 

Saying everyone is welcome as a volunteer is different from ensuring everyone is welcome. 

In recent qualitative research out of the United Kingdom which collected the stories of BIPOC volunteers and compared them to the experiences of white volunteers. Black, Indigenous and People of Colour volunteers described environments where they felt they had to go over and above to prove their value, battle to make their voices heard, spend extra time and energy to fit in, experience consistent invoking of racial stereotypes and microaggressions. A black woman described her experience of volunteering - "it hurts, it hurts all the time" (Dr. Timbrell) 

Are you uncomfortable?

Maybe this felt like a lot, maybe you are currently composing an email to tell us exactly why we are way off base, maybe you are feeling defensive of yourself or your organizations. That is ok. Centre the voices of people in your organization who are underrepresented, do what they recommend, circle back to check to see what still needs to be done. There is not a checklist for solutions, a certification for completion and perfection is not possible so just start doing something. 

Keep learning.

Inspiration and information for this piece was taken from the below people and spaces:  



Virtual Volunteer Centres

Published: Apr 13, 2021 @ 9:49 AM

Great news!!! We are very proud to introduce Virtual Volunteer Centres! These are designed for communities across the country that do not have a physical centre for volunteer engagement but see the benefits of democratizing the volunteer experience. This is a free solution for people who are about thriving communities, organizations, and citizens.

Perhaps you are the mayor, reeve, or council person in your town, or you are the person who plans special events, or you are just the person who knows what is going on! We have created a toolkit to help your community benefit from the connector. 

As a Virtual Volunteer Centre your community will have access to live data about volunteerism in your community, be able to report on the value of volunteerism, shape the future of digital volunteerism and best of all make the experience of organizing volunteers a pleasurable and supported one! 

If you are wondering if this is you or you know for sure and you want to get started, just get in touch!



7 Reasons to Consider Volunteering - Guest Blog

Published: Apr 7, 2021 @ 11:48 AM

Looking for Work? Here are 7 reasons to consider volunteering.

My name is Michael Slattery, I am an Edmontonian Freelance Photographer. A while back I was watching Tim Ferriss on YouTube. Tim considers himself a human experiment. He tries to master life and documents the results online.  In Fast Inc.'s article, "How to Be the Ultimate Networker, According to Tim Ferriss." 

Tim shares an unusual strategy to find work. Of course when looking for work continue to refine your resume, cover letter and apply. But there might be other strategies to finding work.

If you are looking for work have you considered volunteering?

If you are an artist looking for work, all the more reasons to volunteer, I'll explain below.

Here are 7 reasons to consider volunteering:

  • Volunteering gives a break to looking for work. Looking for work can sometimes be depressing and frustrating. Volunteering gets us out of routine, meeting new people. We start feeling connected, appreciated and valued!
  • Non-profits welcome the unqualified. I am wanting to branch out into Social Media Marketing. I visited Volunteer Connector in February 2021 to see what opportunities I could find. Lo and behold Defend had a volunteer opportunity for Social Media help. I applied, and told them I am just starting out. I landed the position and am currently serving as a Co-Lead for their Social Media section.
  • You will gain experience in your area of choice plus also learn many new skills. My Defend volunteer position has broadened my skills and I am learning public relations and how to write press releases. Non-profits would love to work with photographers, video creators and editors and social media help. 
  • Non-profits are in high need for creative work to help them with their online presence. You could do piece work for a series of non-profits and use this in your portfolio. Or you could focus on one non-profit and potentially their full media person. 
  • Volunteer work is appreciated and valued.  My experience with Defend so far is they are very happy people are filling roles. They also are graceful when projects are not done, when life gets busy.
  • There is a great satisfaction knowing our resources are being used for a cause. There were many positions open at Volunteer Connector. I choose Defend because our values lined up. I feel very fulfilled knowing my time and skills are being used to help other people in need.
  • Bonus! You just might land a job with the company, or perhaps there is someone in the company who knows someone who can help you. A big plus is volunteering puts you around people who are kind hearted and like helping out. Who knows they just might lead you to your next position!

I would like to thank the work VolunteerConnector does promoting volunteering! Their services have opened up a door for me to volunteer and grow my skills!

Thank you,

Michael Slattery



Black Lives Still Matter

Published: Mar 30, 2021 @ 12:36 PM

Last June we posted an awesome blog stating our allyship with Black Lives Matter. It contained a bunch of resources, a statement on our striving to be anti-racist and links for furthering learning. If you missed it or want to review it again, it is here. It is one of our most viewed blogs posts. 

This blog, nine months later, is just a friendly reminder to keep trying. Keep speaking up, keep listening to and centring BIPOC voices. Keep feeling uncomfortable and interrogating biases and beliefs. Continue to engage in activism, marches and calls to action, follow people on social media who are doing the work and support black owned businesses. 

Anti-racism is lifelong work, keep trying. 



National Volunteer Week - Recognition

Published: Mar 23, 2021 @ 3:20 PM

We are about a month away from National Volunteer Week (April 18-24) and that can only mean one thing...there are numerous conversations and discussions trying to figure out the magical world of recognition. How to make the humans who give their times and skills to an organization feel seen and acknowledged for the work that they do? 

This question is sometimes complicated by a budget, usually already stretched to the limit. The results are often varied and well let's be honest we all have a drawer full of pens, stress balls and reusable grocery bags and closets full of t-shirts and random ball caps. 

There has been some research into this and it turns out the answer is actually very simple...volunteers want to be thanked and know the impact of their work. That is it, as simple and as complicated as that: a thank you note that outlines their contribution. 

If you are looking for inspiration, Beverly from Chatham, Ontario has spent her year writing over 1000 thank you notes. 



High, Low, Sourdough

Published: Mar 16, 2021 @ 3:25 PM

Happy Covidersery to everyone! The past 12 months have been A LOT. High highs, low lows and lots of sourdough. Here at VolunteerConnector we have seen the best of humans. Organizations continuing to the great work they have always been doing or in some cases pivoting to support the changing needs of their community. 2.2 million people looking on the to find causes and opportunities that ignite their minds and spirits. We have also seen people doing great work outside the confines of organizations through mutual aid.

If you are interested in learning more check out this article in the New Yorker or this research conducted by our friends at Volunteer Scotland



Newer Posts Older Posts