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Whether you are just starting to build a volunteer program or have been doing it for years, draw the many community resources that can update you on best volunteer management practices and help with advocacy and training.
Connecting with your local Volunteer Centre is a great way to start the process. These centres connect volunteers with non-profits, help organizations build capacity and facilitate a network of resources, opportunities and organizations.
The Professional Association of Volunteer Leaders-Ontario offers professional development through certification, conferences, regional workshops, advocacy and standards of practice.
For a Canadian perspective on volunteerism, check out Volunteer Canada, which offers non-profit organizations a wealth of research, tools and resources including legal advice and insurance.
The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration is a strong supporter and promoter of volunteerism in Ontario. The MCIIT website offers resources on a wide range of relevant topics, everything from applying for volunteerism grants to involving newcomer youth as volunteers.
The Ontario Non-profit Network keeps up to date on legislation and policies that affect non-profits so it can advocate effectively for the non-profit sector across Ontario and help build stronger networks, voices and communities.
Imagine Canada’s main mission is to support and grow Canadian charities. Its website delivers an excellent resources page with information and tools that can help build your organization’s capacity.
Having trouble engaging or retaining volunteers? Maybe it’s time for your organization to try something new! The following flexible options might better meet the needs of some of your would-be volunteers.
Many people hesitate to volunteer because they aren’t sure whether they will enjoy the experience. They often won’t commit long term until they know more about your organization and are certain they will be linked to a meaningful position. Simple short-term opportunities such as selling tickets at an annual fundraising event are an excellent way to build relationships with potential volunteers. In the long term, this approach can save your non-profit time and money as you won’t be onboarding as many volunteers who lack commitment.
Although people often volunteer because it’s an easy way to meet new friends or connections, others would prefer to volunteer alongside people they already know. Make it easy for these folks by providing group opportunities. Consider blocking off an evening for new and current volunteers to stuff envelopes for an annual donor mail-out (don’t forget snacks and music!) Group volunteering not only means will you get more done more quickly, but you’ll be creating relationships between other volunteers―and better relationships means better engagement and retention of volunteers.
In a world in which people shop, network and do business online, virtual volunteering makes a lot of sense, especially for those who work full-time, provide child or elder care, or live with disabilities. Virtual volunteers can contribute to your organization in many ways, such as designing marketing materials, writing blogs, creating funding proposals or providing admin support. If you’re short on virtual volunteering ideas, head over to VolunteerMatch. (And when you’re posting on Spark, don’t forget to indicate that your position is virtual so that anyone in the province can volunteer with you!)
Before you implement a virtual volunteering program keep the following tips in mind: