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Updated: Nov 21, 2023

As developers of a membership management solution made specifically to cater to the needs of non-profits and associations, we at Vendere Group have the honour and privilege of knowing how they think and how they work. And one thing is abundantly clear: volunteers are the lifeblood of each and every one of these organizations. That is why this article will focus specifically on volunteers and volunteering. Not only are we intimately familiar with the subject, but it is also something we believe wholeheartedly in.

So what exactly does it mean to volunteer? It’s about contributing your time, your energy and your expertise without being compensated financially in return. It’s about helping other people, beyond the scope of your regular job and your family obligations. It’s about giving back to the community and the society you belong to.

Some people decide to volunteer to fight for a cause they believe in. For others, it is an expression of kindness and empathy toward others. It’s as natural to them as what led them to their chosen career path. For these people, volunteering is deeply embedded in their core values. Perhaps their parents were involved in their community and they are emulating this learned behaviour. Perhaps it is something that has been passed down from generation to generation in their family — a tradition they wish to see their own children embrace.

The interesting thing about being a volunteer is that studies show that it does as much good for you as it does for the organization or cause you are helping out with. In other words, volunteering is good for the body, mind and soul, as well as the broader community. To get a better idea of the kind of people who are likely to raise their hand and roll up their sleeves, let’s take a closer look at some of their motivations.

  1. To feel valued and appreciated.

  2. To take part in an athletic or cultural activity and to share the experience with others.

  3. To explore a new hobby or pastime.

  4. To support a cause that matters to them.

  5. To be a helpful member of the community.

  6. To feel better about themselves.

  7. To advocate for other people’s rights and interests.

  8. To contribute something to society.

  9. To meet people.

  10. To relay their knowledge to others.

Clearly, the person or the group on the receiving end of someone’s volunteer efforts isn’t the only one to benefit. More often than not, whatever people put out into the world eventually comes back to them, generating a chain reaction of goodwill and inspiration.

  • Alleviate stress and anxiety.

  • Help in overcoming depression.

  • Make you feel happier.

  • Make you make the people around you feel happier.

  • Stay fit and healthy.

  • And that’s just the beginning!

So where do you start? It’s easiest to begin by thinking about what interests you, what you feel strongly about, where your passions lie. Or you might have a concrete goal in mind that you want to work toward. Once you have a better idea of what it is you want to do, the next step is to think about where your help would be most needed.

  1. Cultural sphere

  2. Sports and physical activities

  3. Recreational and leisure pursuits

  4. Social affairs

  5. Community issues

  6. Education

  7. Economy

  8. Health

  9. Environment

  10. Politics.

There really is something for everyone! Your investment can be tailored to suit your schedule. And the payoff is incredible: making time to work toward a meaningful purpose can be a very rewarding experience indeed.

Interested in a few telltale statistics on volunteers in Quebec and Canada?

Associations, Membership management, Membri 365, Volunters

In Quebec:

  • 26% of volunteers are 65 years of age or older.

  • 17% are in the 45–54 age range, and the same percentage can be found in the 55–64 group.

  • 41% of volunteers get involved because it makes them feel good or because they wish to lend their support to a cause they believe in.

  • The highest proportion of volunteers (37%) can be found in the cultural and recreational field.

  • 52% of volunteer commitments involve 1 to 10 hours of week per month.

In Canada:

More than 24 million Canadians served as volunteers in one capacity or another in 2018. That represents 79% of the population 15 or over.

That same year, volunteers invested 5 billion hours in volunteer activities. That works out to the equivalent of about 2.5 million full-time jobs during the course of a year.

Yes, but… it’s all fine and dandy to want to help your fellow human being. But you might run into some stumbling blocks that can stall your momentum. Some of these obstacles are listed fellow.

  • Lack of time

  • Lack of the required skills

  • Lack of opportunity

  • Lack of interest/engagement

  • Shyness.

These days, everyone is short on time. It is one of the rarest commodities going in our modern, hectic lifestyles. That is why the main challenge facing today’s associations and other non-profits with a volunteer-driven model is finding people to take up this mantle.

Never fear, however. We have a few well-thought-out solutions that you can use to overcome this challenge and win in the volunteer recruitment game.

  • Be clear and concise in stating your needs when looking for volunteers. The right words tend to attract the right people.

  • Use one or more websites to reach out to potential volunteers.

  • Let your social media followers know what your volunteer needs are. Social media is a particularly effective tool in connecting with younger prospects.

  • Talk to your members and other volunteers and tell them what you are looking for. You’d be surprised how often this works!

  • Lean on the benefits and advantages of giving back; there are lots of people who respond to those kinds of messages.

  • Accept the terms as given and share the workload. Take everything in stride.

  • Actively encourage families or friends to volunteer together. It’s a great way to attract volunteers to your organization, so they can see first-hand how they can make a difference. Young people especially tend to respond favourably to this kind of initiative.

Now… once you have your volunteers, what can you do to keep them? Aha! That’s the crux of the issue. Here are just a few strategies that may prove helpful.

  • Don’t hold back: provide your volunteer prospects with any and all information they need.

  • Train your volunteers: it’ll help keep them from getting discouraged and giving up.

  • Treat your volunteers well. Show them how much they matter to you.

  • Be open in providing your volunteers with the information they want and need.

  • Don’t overlook the importance of volunteer onboarding.

  • Assign tasks to different volunteers based on individual preferences and areas of expertise.

  • Make sure you have a backup in place if needed.

  • Introduce your board members.

  • Listen. And listen carefully.

  • Organize friendly, casual get-togethers before or after volunteer shifts.

  • Show your volunteers you are grateful, with a special meal or another recognition activity.

A volunteer engagement strategy is imperative in keeping the people who contribute to your mission satisfied and fulfilled. As you may have surmised, you need to think about the whole person when you’re working with volunteers. Appeal to their better nature. The more open and authentic you are, the more responsive and loyal they will be.

Associations, Membership management, Membri 365, Volunters

At Vendere, respect, integrity and teamwork guide us in everything we think and everything we do.

We know that volunteers are what keeps associations and non-profits running like a well-oiled machine.

Volunteers put the “passion” in “compassion.” And that’s something that warrants all our admiration and our respect.

Membri 365: Made for today’s non-profits.

Associations, Membership management, Membri 365, Volunters

Looking for further information on what Membri 365 can do to make your association run even more smoothly? Contact us today. We would be happy to discuss the issues facing your organization and help you address them by optimizing your volunteer management.


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