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Volunteer Management

Ideas to Inspire

Get Sparked!


Whether you are just starting to build a volunteer program or have been doing it for years, this section will have something of interest for you. Connect with  great organizations that are here to help and find out how to borrow from the best with the information and resources here. Also find out how you can do things differently to engage volunteers in new ways.



There are so many resources you can draw on to help your organization deliver an accessible and successful volunteer program.  The following organizations are helpful for establishing a great volunteer program and keeping up to date on best practices. They also provide support for non-profits through advocacy, training and creating conversation for and about the sector.

Volunteer Centres and the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN)

Connecting with your local Volunteer Centre is a great way to start the process.  Volunteer Centres connect volunteers with non-profits, help organizations build capacity and facilitate a network of resources, opportunities and organizations.  Find your local volunteer centre by looking at this map.


Connecting with a professional association of volunteer leaders is a great way to get started and network with others in your position.  Visit http://www.pavro.on.ca/ to learn more.

Volunteer Canada

For a comprehensive Canadian perspective on volunteerism, Volunteer Canada shares a wealth of information, tools and resources for the non-profit sector.  Explore their website: http://volunteer.ca/

Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration & International Trade

The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration (MCIIT) is a very strong supporter and promoter of volunteerism in Ontario.  Their website has plenty of information on volunteering, and resources for volunteer -involving organizations.  Here you can find resources on everything from volunteerism grants to involving newcomer youth as volunteers.  Check it out here: http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/citizenship/volunteer/supportfornonprofits.shtml

Ontario Non-Profit Network

The Ontario Non-profit Network advocates with and for the non-profit sector across Ontario. They keep up to date on how legislation and policies affect the non-profit sector and works to build stronger networks, voices and communities, collectively.  You can visit them here: http://theonn.ca/

Imagine Canada

Imagine Canada is a charity whose main mission is to support and grow Canadian Charities.  They have an excellent resources page with information and tools that can help build your organization’s capacity: http://www.imaginecanada.ca/resources-and-tools


Having trouble engaging or retaining volunteers? Maybe it’s time to try something new! Much of the recent research done with volunteers tells us people are looking for new ways to volunteer. Here are some top tips for trying out different ways of offering volunteering opportunities to meet these new needs.

Group Volunteering

Millennials, boomers and teenagers are all interested in the social side of volunteering. Some want to meet new friends or network and others want to volunteer with people they know in social, corporate or family groups. Have a look at your volunteering opportunities and think about which ones could actually be done by a group of people. The classic example is the big envelope stuffing for the annual donor mail out. Why not do it in an evening, put some snacks out, some music on and invite new and current volunteers to come in and work together? There are many tasks that can be re-framed as a group activity. Not only will you get more done more quickly, you’ll be creating relationships with your organization and with other volunteers. Better relationships means better engagement and retention of volunteers. Be sure to post your group volunteering opportunity under ‘Suitable for Groups’ on Spark!

The ‘One Time Thing’

Time is the number one thing that people worry about when looking to volunteer. Often people don’t want to make a long term commitment to get involved until they:

Know what your organization is like
Know that giving their time will be worth it for them and for the cause

Offering simple, short term  opportunities such as pitching in at an  event is an excellent way to help potential volunteers ‘try before they buy’. It also saves your organization time and resources as you and the volunteer will get to know if it’s a good fit. The one-timer is a great way to start to build a relationship with potential volunteers.


Virtual Volunteering

Do all of your roles have to be in person at a particular time? What if some volunteers could be working on your behalf all the time without constant supervision? We shop, network and do business online. It makes sense that we should be able to volunteer remotely too. Think about the kinds of skills someone could offer you in their own time from the comfort of their own home. Graphic design, writing content for your website,  craftingfunding proposals, or  even administrative supportcan now be done with the  help of a modem or phone.


Key tips for Virtual Volunteering Opportunities:

  • Be very clear about what you want done and when you want it done
  • Create projects that can be done in a finite amount of time
  • Check the potential volunteer’s credentials to make sure they have the skills you need. Ask for references and look them up on Linked In.
  • Ensure that you are still prioritizing supervision and recognition. Check in and say thank you often by email or by phone.

Virtual volunteering makes getting involved much more accessible for people with disabilities, are working full time or have caring responsibilities. For great examples of virtual volunteering opportunities, have a look at www.volunteermatch.org  Don’t forget to indicate that your position is virtual on Spark so that anyone in the province can volunteer with you! 

Meet Bonnie Blain - Hospice Muskoka Volunteer & Ontario Senior of the Year Award Receipient

Your Stories

Meet Bonnie Blain a volunteer with Hospice Muskoka who was raised in Muskoka and who has many interes...

Spark Plugs

Great stuff from around the world. Check back often to see what's new!

Orientation and training can help new volunteers feel energized about your cause! Check out this recent blog post on Classy.org for tips on giving volunteers the tools they need to suceed.

Want to kickstart new ways to mobilize large numbers of volunteers for your cause? Take a look at the four factors in this article that can help you succeed!

This article, revived from the NPQ archives, challenges nonprofits to think more about social inclusion when engaging volunteers. Check out the Key Questions section to see how your organization measures up!

Want to stay up to date on Ontario's accessibility laws? Take a look at the resources the Ontario Nonprofit Network has gathered to help nonprofits understand how to support persons with disabilities.

Êtes-vous l’organisateur d’un évènement ou festival ?

La Direction générale de l’accessibilité pour l’Ontario a publié un nouveau guide intitulé « Organiser des évènements accessibles: Pour que tous se sentent les bienvenus ». Il comprend de l’information sur des actions sans frais ou peu coûteuses qui peuvent aider à réduire les obstacles pour les personnes handicapées et rendre vos évènements plus inclusifs.

Hosting a community event or festival? 

The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario has published a new booklet titled, “Planning Accessible Events: So Everyone Feels Welcome.”  It includes information on no-cost or low-cost actions that can help reduce barriers for people with disabilities and make events more inclusive!

Getting to know the unique strengths and talents of their volunteers has been the key to sucess for Braille Institute San Diego. Find out what else they do to keep volunteers feeling the SPARK!

Support the impact volunteers want to make at your organization by ensuring staff understand how they make a difference. This article shares some great tips to help get staff excited about volunteer involvement.

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