About us

We are a diverse and inclusive member association strengthening and creating pathways for volunteerism and civic engagement in Alberta.

Our vision

Thriving communities nurtured by caring humans across Alberta.

Our mission

To nourish wellbeing and healthy communities of belonging by cultivating conditions for volunteerism and civic engagement.

Our values

  • Curiosity: With intention and humility, we understand the needs and perspectives of those we serve. We challenge dominant worldviews, evolve our language, and explore innovative approaches to our work, drawing from successful past endeavors to shape a limitless future.
  • Care: We approach every interaction with care, kindness, and openness. Our commitment is to foster both individual and community wellbeing, ensuring every individual feels valued and supported. Proactively, we strive to eliminate obstacles and, if needed, intervene with compassion. Our dedication to care prompts us to engage thoughtfully, considering the holistic implications of our actions on present and future generations, both human and environmental.
  • Collaboration: We partner for greater impact because we are stronger together. Co-creation with others leverages our different perspectives and strengths and enhances creativity. Collaboration strengthens relationships, weaves stronger networks, and grows mutuality.
  • Authenticity: We show up in our humanness since only when we are authentic can we meaningfully connect with others. We strive to consistently bring an asset-based perspective to ourselves and all those we engage with, walking the talk of living our best selves.
  • Courage: We take risks. We act boldly. We take the first step, and then the next. We leave our comfort zones to head into the unknown. We lean into difference of opinion, conflict and uncertainty, taking action to stay true to our values.

We’re committed to helping Alberta do good, together.

Land Affirmation

We invite you in this moment to pause and breathe.

As you breathe in and out, let it be a reminder of your connection to other people and the land. We are all part of a cycle of nourishment, and just as the land cares for us, we must care for it.

As Volunteer Alberta continues our ongoing (un)learning journey, we see the increasing importance of reflecting on our ties to each other and the land. Our main office is situated on Treaty 6 Territory, in an area that holds many Indigenous names but is referred to by the Nehiyaw people as amiskwaciwâskahikan (ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ) and colonially as Edmonton. Our staff, board, and work extend into Treaty 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 Territories, and we affirm the importance of honouring these historic agreements as well as all future treaties. The land we call Alberta is the ancestral territory and present-day home of many Indigenous peoples, including the Nehiyaw (Cree), Dene (Denesuliné, Dene Tha, Tsuut’ina), Iyarhe Nakoda (Nakota Sioux, Stoney), Anishinaabe (Saulteaux, Ojibwe), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Inuit, and Métis. They have cared for and advocated for the lands, waters, and animals for many generations despite historical and ongoing harmful actions against their communities. We are grateful for their stewardship of this land, and as act of reconciliation and good will, it is our intention to ensure that our organization, along with the entire social impact/non-profit/voluntary sector, can become good partners in supporting the land and communities.

Inspired by Indigenous knowledge systems, we seek to become good organizational ancestors. In doing so we are committed to meaningful reflection and critiquing of our ways of knowing, being, and doing. To help communities thrive and illuminate good ways forward for the sector, we must recognize how colonial systems influence how Albertans perceive and participate in volunteerism and civic engagement. This includes considering the historical and ongoing barriers that exclude Indigenous people from meaningful engagement in our communities. In the spirit of reconciliation, we all have a responsibility to consider how our organizations can contribute to decolonized, inclusive, and equitable volunteer programming and take action to do no more harm. Volunteer Alberta is committed to meeting our responsibilities.

The Volunteer Alberta Team

June 2024

Our strategic priorities for 2024-2026:

From regenerative agriculture, we are learning “It’s all about the soil!” Increasingly, we see our work as cultivating the conditions for Albertans to thrive, individually and collectively. Three key guiding elements help us discern where we can have the most impact.

We are Connectors

Volunteer Alberta convenes networks and collaborates across sectors to nourish relationships and advance collective work. We do this by:

  • Bridging relationships and linking people, organizations and institutions that should know about each other to uplift their work.
  • Facilitating partnerships that advance volunteerism and civic engagement.
  • Convening conversations that cross silos and organizational boundaries to support strategic dreaming and imagining what’s possible in the sector.
  • In the spirit of connection and relationshipping, reaching out with intention to include diverse perspectives and connect them into key conversations.
  • Listening deeply to our members to help us discern what new or renewed conversations will help with their challenges and opportunities.

We are Collaborators

Volunteer Alberta works alongside member organizations and other partners to unleash collective insight, capability, and agency. We accomplish this by:

  • Convening conversations that matter and offering programs to nourish capabilities–supporting organizations to navigate the here and now, and also what’s emerging and next.
  • Co-designing and co-generating initiatives that further volunteering and civic engagement
  • with members and partners.
  • Contributing our networks, systems support, and communications capability to the initiatives of partners and members that align with our mission.
  • Collaborating with and leveraging existing civic engagement initiatives.

We are Change Makers

Volunteer Alberta upholds and uplifts the value of volunteering and civic engagement in the structures and systems of the wider society to enable thriving communities. We accomplish this by:

  • Collaborating with our members and partners to support research, pilots and experiments that can inform future shifts in policy and systems.
  • Working with our partners and members to identify high-leverage initiatives for growing conditions for volunteering and civic engagement.
  • Conducting experiments in governance, systems, routines and roles and widely sharing what we are (un)learning.
  • Advocating both for public policy shifts and also small tweaks that cultivate conditions for volunteering and civic engagement to enable positive change to happen at both the macro and micro levels.
  • Building awareness and shared understanding of the value and impact of volunteering and civic engagement.

Volunteer Alberta endeavours to shine light on promising ways forward for initiatives, organizations and institutions supporting volunteers and civic engagement. Three key concepts help us to be bold and brave:

We are Dream Hosts

  • Inspired by our own experiences of Strategic Dreaming, we support our members and partners to envision positive futures that galvanize and focus work for positive change. We seek to contribute to the “futures literacy” of the sector, helping us lift our gaze to what is possible, to dream big and to honour our collective agency.

We are Seekers

  • Through social research and design, decolonization of our practices, tracking developments in other jurisdictions, and other forays into the unknown, we listen for ways of doing and being that are seeking to emerge in support of communities of belonging and wellbeing through volunteering and civic engagement.

We are Incubators

  • We support the prototypes, pilots, experiments and novel initiatives, and new ways of convening that are so important for finding positive ways forward in our rapidly changing contexts. “The path is made by walking,” and we welcome members and partners sharing ideas we might help incubate.

Our history

Volunteer Alberta (The Association of Volunteer Centres and Volunteer Engaging Organizations) has been a leader and voice in the nonprofit sector since 1990. Working with rural and urban communities across the province, we have grown and transformed to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the sector.

Today, we continue to represent the diverse voices of our sector. We champion and celebrate volunteer centres, volunteer-engaging organizations, volunteerism, and civic engagement in Alberta. We’re looked to for expert advice, guidance, programs, services, and resources to enhance the sector’s work.

Important documents