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Volunteerism in Alberta: 100 years of Celebrating Community
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Issues and Challenges


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Alberta’s legions of volunteers mirror the depth, the joy, the crisis, the creativity, the challenges, and the victories of being human. Our province is a place of great dichotomies. Sometimes we represent renegade nonconformity and on other occasions we are wholeheartedly traditional.

Under our boundless blue skies, from our great Rockies, to our sweeping prairies, to our glorious northern regions, there is not one corner of Alberta that has not benefited from the tremendous efforts of volunteers.

Writing on Stone Provincial Park.Our ever evolving and complex societies in the 21st Century place extraordinary wants and needs on the voluntary sector. Unlike the private and public sectors, the nonprofit/voluntary sector is not driven by making money. Regardless of the voluntary organization, their common denominator is they all have respective goals of bettering a situation, group, or a cause.

The Bow River Valley.Increasingly, the voluntary sector is being pressured to define itself and public policies using business management practices. Over time, Alberta’s voluntary organizations and its multitude of volunteers have proven that they are highly resilient and adaptive. While the 1990s government cutbacks and downloading onto the voluntary sector placed the word "burnout" on the lips of many people, most volunteers and voluntary organizations rose to the challenge. Forming creative partnerships within the voluntary sector as well as with the public and the private sectors helped alleviate the woes of many cash strapped charities and nonprofit organizations.

Terratima Lodge.Some of the issues and challenges facing the voluntary sector are obtaining appropriate training and education for volunteers and staff, best practice governance, evaluating and assessing accreditation needs, recognizing the Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park.growing professionalism of paid staff, and very import to the survival of voluntary organizations, is the awareness of recruitment needs, retention of staff and volunteers, and fundraising strategies.

Safeguarding the future health of the voluntary sector should also entail taking a watchdog view of trends in volunteerism.

No doubt, the 21st Century contains issues and challenges that the voluntary sector must overcome — but what one learns from studying the history and evolution of volunteerism in Alberta — is that we are doers who do not hide from life.

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Volunteerism in Alberta: 100 years of Celebrating Community

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