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How to Use Volunterville

1.       Volunteer!

There are many ways to do this and there are many ways to find a place to volunteer in your community. Here are a few options:

Visit Govolunteer.ca

Visit Getinvolved.ca

Contact your local Volunteer Centre

Or directly contact an organization that has a mission you connect with. There are different ways to volunteer, like being a Big Sister, serving on a board, or helping rescue animals find their forever home.

2.       Capture and Tell!

While you’re volunteering, take a picture! It can be of yourself volunteering or of the people you’re helping. Or take a picture of the great ways your organization is recognizing your hard work: thank them for providing that piping hot Timmy’s coffee and donuts.

If you don’t want to take a picture, you can compose a tweet. Use those 140 characters wisely, though, they go quickly.

Not a fan of social media? Write your story down. That’s part of Volunteerville too! Next up…

3.       Share!

Throw your picture up on Instagram, use the hashtag #volunteerville and voila: your photo will now appear on Volunteerville.ca! Tweets with the hashtag #volunteerville will also show up on our website.

If you don’t like Twitter or Instagram and aren’t sure what a hashtag is, you can visit Volunteerville.ca and upload your photo and your story. Or just your photo…or just your story! It’s up to you how you want to share your experience.

Sharing your story builds your community.  We create our story by doing the things we love and spending time with friends and family, and that includes volunteering.

4.       Inspire!

When your picture, tweet or story shows up on Volunteerville.ca, you’ll be inspiring people across Alberta to get involved too.  For many of us, volunteering is a part of our lives that we often forget to talk about and celebrate. Volunteerville is your chance to share your volunteer experiences with the world.

What happens after Step 4? You can do it all over again! You can participate in Volunteerville as frequently as you like. We’ll be throwing in some fun giveaways and contests throughout the year to thank you for being a citizen of Volunteerville. Browse volunteerville.ca right now, and start liking photos, or even share them on your own social media.

Let’s make volunteering go viral!

Make sure to follow @volunteerville on Twitter and Instagram! For more information about Volunteerville, email Lisa at lmichetti@volunteeralberta.ab.ca.

Lisa Michetti, Member Engagement Manager

Visual Impact of Capacity Building

capacity buildingAs a newbie here at Volunteer Alberta, my experiences with the nonprofit sector have primarily been as frontline staff, working directly with the organization’s clientele or volunteers. Through this lens, it’s easier to see the immediate impact of your work. You can see it through assisting a child in an ABC Head Start classroom, prepping and serving meals, caring for at-risk youth in a group home, or helping to put the finishing touches on a Habitat for Humanity home. The immediacy of that impact is what can keep people coming back to volunteer or to work in the sector.

It has been an exciting transition into the world of capacity building in the nonprofit sector. Capacity building, it can be hard to see some of the impact of the work we are doing. We empower organizations to see and understand the gaps and obstacles hindering their long term development. VA provides support, resources, and connections to help organizations achieve their goals in order to better serve their communities.

Seeing the impact requires you to look through a different lens. We may help an organization see that they do not have the proper risk management practices in place and provide the organization with the proper knowledge and training to keep them safe for the future. However, we don’t often get a chance to see how this knowledge is put into place. In some cases, our impact may only be measured through performance evaluations, where we see that we’ve provided a valuable service to the organization, but it can be fulfilling knowing we’ve put the pieces in place to increase the organization’s capacity to serve their community and volunteers.

I feel fortunate to be part of an organization helping to strengthen the nonprofit sector. I will have to change my lens in the future. The next time I drive by a Habitat for Humanity house that I volunteered for, instead of thinking of the sweet floors I put together with my own hands, I can think of how they are increasing their organizational capacity with their risk management policies. This allows for increased staff/volunteer safety, thereby increasing their volunteer participation, build rate, and their impact to the community. Though I will still think about those sweet floors and windows I installed!

Simon Yu, Program Technology Coordinator

Sometimes We Can Move the Needle – preliminary results from SCiP

scipIt’s been just over two years since the Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP) was launched and although there is still one more year left iun the 3-year pilot it seems like a good time to take stock of the journey so far. SCiP was collaboratively developed by stdent organizations (ASEC, CAUS, and AGC), the Government of Alberta, and Volunteer Alberta to ensure mutual benefit for both nonprofit organizations and students. Volunteer Alberta manages the day-to-day programming, promotions, and operations of the program on behalf of the partners.

There are three broad program objectives for SCiP:

  • Create meaningful opportunities for students to develop skills and deepen applied learning opportunities to support personal and career goals
  • Foster an appreciation for community engagement while supporting the efforts of nonprofit organizations to achieve their mission and strengthen local communities
  • Increase student awareness of the important contributions of the nonprofit sector to their communities and the possibilities of working in this sector.

These objectives guide how we measure and evaluate the program and based on the data collected so far we are starting to get a sense of the impact of SCiP, here are some highlights:

  • 375 internships were completed in year one of SCiP and 741 were completed in  year 2
  • By the end of year two of SCiP 5424 students have registered and 765 organizations have registered
  • 103 or 14% of year 2 completed internships were filled by repeat students who also completed internships in year 1 of SCiP
  • 75% of interns are female students, and most interns are 20 – 25 years of age

Survey Results*

  • 85% of organizations indicate that SCiP has a positive impact on their knowledge/ability to strategically engage post-secondary students
  • 94% of organizations indicate that SCiP has had a positive impact on their ability to meet mission
  • 93% of interns indicated they would do another SCiP internship
  • 63% of interns indicated that SCiP increased their awareness of the nonprofit sector as a place of employment
  • 99% of interns reported that SCiP has helped them gain practical skills and knowledge that will have value in their future employment
  • 85% of interns responded that SCiP has increased their awareness of the value of the nonprofit sector  to society/community
  • Before their internship 21% of interns were looking at the sector as a possible place of employment and after their internship 85% of interns were looking at the NPVS as a possible place of employment.
  • Before an internship 5% of interns stated that the nonprofit sector was their preferred sector of employment compared to 14% of interns after completing an internship.
  • 89% of student indicated that the $1000 bursary motivated them to apply for SCiP.

The statistics demonstrate that organizations and students are experiencing significant benefits from participating in SCiP. The program is developing a cohort of post-secondary students who recognize that the nonprofit sector has many professional opportunities and employment potential. Likewise, organizations are gaining key insights into how to mentor and engage students and new graduates meaningfully in ways they might not have considered before. Of course there have been bumps along the way and there is still a lot of work to be done to really capture the full impact of the 3-year pilot, but for now we can take comfort that positive change is being realized.

For the last word here some examples of the positive feedback SCiP has received:

“My internship at Hope Mission was incredible. It was a fun and humbling experience. I learned many new skills helping in the areas of Special Events and Fundraising, and Volunteer Services. I helped with grant writing; I got to help with planning, organizing and coordinating special events. The internship provided housing at the shelter and living there really completed the experience. I learned way more than I expected. I hope to take all I’ve learned with me in my education, my career and my life in general.”

 – Anonymous student Intern, year 2

“We have recruited 12 SCIP interns in the past year and all of our interns have been a great help to the organization. SCIP helps our organization fulfil the need of students to gain meaningful experience in their said field of academic majors. It also benefits the organization to achieve its goals and outcomes because of the relentless efforts done on part of these students in fulfilling their assigned tasks.”

– Anonymous SCiP Organization, year 2

*Report statistics were collected in 2 surveys during year 2 of SCiP from students and organizations. 214 organizations received the survey with a response rate of 80%, 741 students received the survey with a response rate of 54%


Annand Ollivierre, Program Manager

Audio: FAQs About Employee Benefits for Nonprofit Organizations

oassis_newVolunteer Alberta has a partnership with OASSIS, a nonprofit organization providing employee benefit plans specifically designed for the nonprofit sector. Members of Volunteer Alberta receive exclusive access to OASSIS benefit plans in Alberta.

Karen Bentham, Executive Director for OASSIS, recently sat down with us to discuss some frequently asked questions about employee benefits.

Guest Blog: Community Giving Program Helps Nonprofits Achieve Their Goals

oassis_newGrant programs seem to be getting scarcer by the day. Many organizations rely on project funding to allow them to carry out the good work that they do in their communities. One grant program that you may not be aware of is Green Shield Canada’Community Giving Program.

The Community Giving Program provides funding to community-based, nonprofit organizations to help them achieve success with their goals. Green Shield Canada accepts applications from Canadian nonprofit organizations and charitable organizations registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) each year.  The online application link for their Community Giving Program is posted on their website and applications are due by March 15 each year. All nonprofit organizations can apply for funding; there is no need to be a Green Shield client. Green Shield’s objective is to provide funding annually for projects that:

  • Address an under-serviced or under-funded subject, geographic region or demographic
  • Outline clear, measurable outcomes with demonstrable results
  • Include a strategy to address projects’ longer term sustainability

OASSIS is proud to partner with Green Shield Canada as our health and dental provider.   In 2013, eight OASSIS agencies were funded through the GSC program for a total of $158,650 in grants.

For additional information and to apply for funding, please visit the Community Giving Program website.

Karen Bentham, Executive Director, OASSIS

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