So here we are in a session that identifies volunteers as a priority, but our conversations today have made us realize it is more than a conversation – it is a Call to Action.
Guest blogger : Wendi Campbell
It is no surprise to anyone at the Summit that volunteers are an integral part of the work we do. They are a direct link to achieving the missions of our organizations and for many of us part of our mandate to engage community in our work.
So here we are in a session that identifies volunteers as a priority, but our conversations today have made us realize it is more than a conversation – it is a Call to Action. It is time to engage in community partnerships, engage with youth and enhance the impact of our work through strong volunteer supports.
We know from the National Survey of Giving & Volunteering that we are working with a small segment of the
society who currently volunteer. We know that we live in a county, in communities where there is a significant talent pool. So our objective is engaging the abundance of talent – new volunteers – to deliver our missions.
Simple? (or not) We heard from the panel today about the tendency for organizations to create “round hole roles” for a changing volunteer base that is made up of “square pegs”. Both types of roles are important but we also need to ensure that we are also reacting to the needs of our volunteers and be willing to work outside of our defined roles and what we think we need (or what we think we can manage) Are we limiting how we can engage talent because of the processes we have developed in our organizations? Groups here today are discussing the need to be a shift away from traditional volunteerism to a model of community/civic engagement.
The concept of integrated HR was a great point of discussion at our table (wondering if Priority Group # 1 would like to stop by for coffee?) It takes staff and volunteers to deliver services. Our strategic planning processes need to include both and our HR practices need to have some crossover to treat our volunteers the same as paid staff – as valuable members of our teams. We also need to look at the culture organizations and ensure that it includes youth & diversity to reflect all areas of talent potential.
Now the big question – What will volunteerism look like in Canada in 2017?