It is essential for towns and cities to have a place to go for volunteer matching to create vibrant communities. And, St. Albert Community Information and Volunteer Centre (CIVC) does exactly this.
Also known as St. Albert’s hidden gem, St. Albert CIVC is celebrating their 40th birthday this year as the go-to place for volunteer opportunities and guidance. This is due in large part to St. Albert CIVC’s understanding that community building stems directly from volunteer appreciation.
The importance of volunteer appreciation events and programs
St. Albert CIVC recommends that nonprofits recognize their volunteers to engage and retain them. And, one way to facilitate volunteer appreciation is through planning recognition events, such as National Volunteer Week (NVW).
According to the Director of Volunteer Centre Services, Tracy Aisenstat, volunteer appreciation is what makes NVW special, “because volunteers really do appreciate the thank you.”
When it comes to planning volunteer appreciation events, Tracy says that keeping it simple always works best.
One way St. Albert CIVC keeps it simple is with their Coffee Break Coupon Program. St. Albert CIVC’s program partners with local coffee businesses to distribute coupons for free coffee to volunteers as a way to thank them for their contributions in the community.
“It doesn’t have to be a parade of fireworks, it can be as simple as a cup of coffee.”
Through their Coffee Break Program, St. Albert CIVC enhances their community by building connections between the private and nonprofit sector.
“Both the organizations and the volunteers love it. It’s the notion of giving the coupon that matters, rather than whether or not it gets used. It’s the idea of ‘you matter to me’” Tracy says.
While planning a volunteer recognition event like NVW can take up to 50% of staff time, the best part of planning a recognition event is the chance to celebrate and share inspiring volunteer stories.
For example, St. Albert CIVC shared and celebrated this volunteer story at one of their recent NVW events. And, it is just one example of how St. Albert CIVC builds community through volunteer matching and encourages the spirit of volunteerism through storytelling.
St. Albert CIVC connected a stay-at-home dad with a volunteer opportunity to fulfill his community service hours. With his newborn baby in tow, he ended up volunteering at a thrift store! He enjoyed volunteering so much that he eventually recruited his wife, mother and two friends to volunteer as well.
Stories like this exemplify how volunteering provides people with the opportunity to integrate back into the community, giving them the chance to turn over a new leaf, reignite old connections or make new ones.
St. Albert CIVC’s plans for this year’s NVW event
Tracy says she is seeing a trend towards these events becoming less formal with more of a focus on getting together to laugh and enjoy the company of other members in the community.
Tracy looks forward to NVW this year, as it is a great opportunity to celebrate how volunteering strengthens the sense of community connection in St. Albert and area.
Since 1979, St. Albert Community Information Volunteer Centre (CIVC) has provided community information and volunteer services to community members. The CIVC connects people in the city of St. Albert and area with the information and community services they need.
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