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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.
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.
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/
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
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!