Volunteering

Virtual Volunteering, Is it Here to stay?

The Future of Virtual Volunteering

The World Of Volunteering Has Changed During The COVID Pandemic, During This Time, 56% Of Canadian Nonprofit Organizations Have Offered Some Type Of Virtual Volunteering. In BC, We Are Seeing More COVID-Related Restrictions Lifted, So Now We Can See Each Other In Personal Gatherings, We Can Dine In Restaurants Again, And We Don’t Have To Wear Masks As Often, So With Fewer Restrictions, What Is The Future Of Volunteerism? 

Many nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to support their work. These organizations faced big challenges during the pandemic such as: 

  • Staff layoffs 
  • Shorter staff hours 
  • Fewer donations 
  • Cancelled fundraising events  
  • Ways in which volunteers are found, screened, trained and managed.  

Virtual volunteering is an excellent way for many organizations to continue to work with volunteers. For volunteers, it’s easier to give their time and talent to charities and nonprofits from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Is virtual volunteering here to stay? 

A survey of 300 Canadian charities and nonprofits “found that many organizations had suspended, postponed or cancelled programs and services, or found new ways to deliver them while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. About half of respondents had transitioned some volunteer roles to remote delivery (virtual, online, phone), and usually offsite from the organization supported, but 40% have suspended volunteer work.” 

The Benefits of virtual volunteering

For organizations during the pandemic they are: 

  • Increased flexibility for volunteers and participants 
  • Better technology skills for staff and volunteers 
  • New volunteers  

For volunteers during the pandemic they are: 

  • Learning new technology skills  
  • Better life satisfaction 
  • Lower psychological distress 

Seniors are volunteers who have seen the greatest change in their ability to volunteer, and results of a Statistics Canada survey in 2018 show that baby boomers and seniors are among Canada’s busiest volunteers. On average, they give the most volunteer hours per person. They are also the most vulnerable to COVID, and because of this, many seniors have either reduced their volunteer work or stopped completely.  

Post-Pandemic 

What do nonprofit organizations see in the future of virtual volunteering?  

  • 50% believe virtual roles will return to in-person when possible 
  • 50% of new virtual roles will remain virtual 
  • 30% of new virtual roles will move to in-person roles 

The survey also shows that nonprofit organizations anticipate seeing the following changes in volunteering as COVID related restrictions lift: 

  • New and adapted programs and roles 
  • More volunteers with more technology ability needed 
  • Volunteers with different skills needed 

We’ll see the return of seniors to volunteer roles and this is an important part of who does vital volunteering and the time given to volunteering hours. Some will have developed technology skills during the pandemic just to remain connected with their families and community (zoom, email, internet skills). 

It is still early days as volunteering opportunities increase, and so we’ll have to stay tuned to see how many volunteer roles actually stay virtual and how many will stay in-person. There’s no doubt that virtual volunteering changed the way in which volunteers are able to reach out to their communities and enjoy the benefits of what it means to be a volunteer. 

How can you volunteer?

To see virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities, or if you are a nonprofit in the Tri-Cities looking for volunteers, please visit Community Volunteer Connections. Your registration includes Volunteer Voice our weekly volunteer opportunity newsletter.. 

Kind regards,  

Carey 

Coordinator of Volunteer Resources 

clepage@volunteerconnections.ca 

Community Volunteer Connections 

Friends of the Library Volunteers

Education concept. Bookshelf with books and textbooks in form of heart. I love reading. 3d

Love Your Library

There are many reasons to volunteer your time and talent, and for those who love libraries, Friends of the Library groups need eager, passionate and committed volunteers. Through Community Volunteer Connections, we can help you find those fulfilling opportunities with Friends of the Libraries.

Why volunteer for a Friends of the Library group? At Community Volunteer Connections, we know Libraries are an important part of our local communities, as they are the cornerstones of community health, social connectedness and knowledge. There are more than 3,100 public libraries in Canada, and many of them have opportunities for volunteers in their communities. In fact, we have these opportunities within our local libraries right here in the Tri-Cities.

Where else in your city can you find a public space that provides public programs to such a wide range of age groups, and social backgrounds? There are so many different interests in use of the public library!

What do Friends of the Library Volunteers do?

A library flourishes when it has support in the community, both literally and financially. This is where the Friends of the Library groups are so important to their local public libraries. The Friends of the Library groups are stand alone organizations that work in supporting the Public Libraries through advocacy and fundraising.

Your volunteer work with the Friends of the Libraries helps advocate for all the exceptional library programs, such as:

  • Children’s story hours
  • Teen reading buddies
  • Streaming platforms
  • Newcomer programs
  • STEAM Playground (Terry Fox Public Library!)
  • Senior’s outreach
  • Mobile library
  • 3D Printing Station (Coquitlam Public Library!)
  • Computer literacy & skill development
  • Virtual Reality games and technology toys
  • Book Clubs
  • Job seeking help
  • Tech Toys
  • English language practice groups
  • Virtual Cooking classes
  • Free access to Ancestry.com (Terry Fox and Coquitlam Public Library!)

Your volunteer fundraising activities help the public libraries by providing money to buy non-budgetary items. Here are a few examples of fundraising activities held by various Friends of the Library groups:

  • Book sales
  • Book sale preview events for VIPS
  • Trivia nights
  • Spelling Bees
  • Silent auctions
  • Birthday books
  • Literary baskets
  • Music in the library events
  • BBQs
  • Book-themed parties
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Golf tournaments
  • Art receptions
  • Stalls at local Farmers Markets
  • Bottle drives
  • And many, many more creative ideas

What ideas can you imagine to help raise funds for your local public library?

Funds raised by Friends of the Library are used for?

They’re used for any number of non-budgetary needs of the libraries. Each library has its own specific goals and needs.

Here are examples of what funding Friends of the Library groups provide for special programs and initiatives:

  • Mobile libraries
  • Equipment for the visually impaired
  • ESL learning books for newcomers
  • Book club sets
  • STEM learning programs and equipment
  • 3D printers
  • Summer reading clubs
  • Writers’ festivals
  • Comfy reading rugs
  • Speaker series
  • And many other diverse non-budget needs of the library

The Covid Pandemic and Friends of the Library Volunteers?

Community Volunteer Connections knows that at the moment, some have been holding virtual zoom meetings for its executive and membership. Most, understandably, have cancelled events and activities.

As Kim Constable, Manager of the Terry Fox Public Library (FVRL) states:

“The Friends have not been meeting during the pandemic, but, as the situation evolves, we are certainly looking forward to getting back together once it’s safe and possible to do so! This will be in keeping with Provincial Health Orders as well as FVRL’s Covid-19 Safety Plan.”

The libraries have been keeping their Friends of the Library groups updated regularly with changes to library services and upcoming virtual programs of interest. Plans are now taking form for when the Friends of the Libraries become more active. Here at Community Volunteer Connections, we will know when the volunteer opportunities open up. Stay tuned to our Community Volunteer Connections website and newsletters for those volunteer opportunities. See our contact information below.

How do I volunteer for a Friends of the Library Group?

After reading about the amazing, critical, and supportive work that the Friends of the Libraries do, you may ask yourself “how do I volunteer with a Friends of the Library group?” You may even sign up your friends and family to volunteer with you!

If you wish to sign up now to register with the Friends of the Library groups, please contact them directly here:

  1. Friends of the Library for Terry Fox Public Library (Port Coquitlam), part of the Fraser Valley Regional Library System https://www.fvrl.bc.ca/friends_of_the_library.php
  2. Friends of the Library for the Coquitlam Public Libraries is currently holding frequent zoom meetings https://www.coqlibrary.ca/about/friends

You may now also sign up for the Community Volunteer Connections newsletter, Volunteer Voice, for opportunities. Once the Friends activities and event volunteer opportunities become active again, you’ll find information about the Friends of the Library volunteer opportunities, who they’re best suited for, and how to apply. Please contact us here to receive our Volunteer Voice newsletter. You'll find other charitable organization's volunteer opportunities as well!

  1. Our website https://volunteerconnections.ca/
  2. Sign up for our weekly newsletter which sends you a variety of current volunteer opportunities https://volunteerconnections.ca/add-me-to-your-list/
  3. Contact Carey at clepage@volunteerconnections.ca

Tips for Finding a Volunteer Position

Can't decide where to volunteer? Here are five things you should think about when deciding where you want to volunteer.

1..How would you like to spend your time?

You are giving your time and energy to a worthy causeYou want to make sure that you feel you are making a difference in your community by supporting a cause you believe in. Check out the website of the organization you are interested in and learn more about their cause and volunteer practices.

2. What skills do you want to gain?

Volunteering is not always about sharing your skillset, but also about gaining new skills. Do you want to improve your English language skills? Look for volunteer work in group settings, where you will be able to converse with other volunteers and clients.

3. How responsible do you want to be in your role?

Do you prefer working in a group setting, or independently? Reflect on your personality and interests to determine where you’d be most comfortable. If you believe you have the leadership skills and experience, consider joining a Board of Directors for an organization you wish to support.

4. What type of setting would you like to work in?

Do you enjoy working in the outdoors and wish to support an environmental cause? Or would you rather work independently indoors? Now with virtual volunteering on the rise, there is also the option of volunteering from the safety of your own home. Many organizations have switched to virtual volunteering to keep their programs running and rely on your help to support them. Discover these opportunities today.

5. What's Your Availability?

A few hours a week? Once a month? It's all about fit. Reflect on how much time you have to offer. When seeking volunteer jobs, ask about requirements.

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