Volunteer Lethbridge’s unique approach to community collaboration
Network leaders play an important role within the nonprofit sector. They create spaces for citizens, volunteers and organizations to collaborate and support one another. Volunteer Lethbridge is a nonprofit Network Leader in Alberta that promotes and fosters the value of volunteerism, community and the nonprofit sector.
Currently, Volunteer Lethbridge is working with the City of Lethbridge on mapping the assets of their community, to bring value to the city and the organizations they serve. This approach will assist in pinpointing the assets within the community and provide the opportunity to identify some of the gaps that could be filled to meet the needs of their community better.
“The city is really moving forward in a dynamic way to map the assets of our community and then be able to evaluate and see what are some of the trends, where are some of the gaps, and what are some of the programming that we need to develop,” says Diana Sim, Executive Director at Volunteer Lethbridge.
This Network Leader mindset encourages Diana to seek partnerships and potential connections to benefit nonprofits, volunteers, Lethbridge residents and their community as a whole.
“Our mission is about building connections and empowering individuals and organizations to enhance volunteerism and grow volunteer capacity,” says Diana.
Leveraging networks to help nonprofits grow in capacity with SCiP
One way Volunteer Lethbridge helps local nonprofits grow volunteer capacity is by promoting and leveraging the Serving Communities Internship Program (SCIP)* in their community. SCiP connects nonprofits with post-secondary students by facilitating internship opportunities for students to apply their skills and knowledge.
“As a Network Leader, we receive supports to be the local champion of SCiP and skilled volunteerism,” says Diana. “Over the past few years, I’ve leveraged SCiP in developing relationships with our local post-secondary institutions. The win-win-win ripple effect continues beyond what we see.”
By promoting SCiP in their community, Volunteer Lethbridge increases awareness of volunteerism and builds the future workforce of nonprofits by providing students a first-hand experience into the value of working in the nonprofit sector.
“SCiP interns really support the work of diverse agencies. It provides opportunities for students to gain experience and it helps relieve extra demands on staffing resources. More is accomplished with more people,” says Diana.
Connecting students with volunteer opportunities
Volunteer Lethbridge holds two volunteer fairs each year; one in September at the University of Lethbridge campus. The fair helps students discover ways they can connect with the community through volunteering and participating in SCiP, and prepares them to be a part of the community beyond their studies.
“Promoting SCiP always peaks interests, as students learn ways to gain valuable work experience and benefit financially as well,” says Diana. “Student engagement in the community is a great way for students to build their network, get to know the community and enrich an organization.”
*Administered by Volunteer Alberta and funded by the Government of Alberta
Over the years, Volunteer Lethbridge has established a solid reputation as a leader in the voluntary and nonprofit sector. Their services continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of nonprofit agencies, individuals and the community at large.
Volunteer Alberta Intern