According to the 2000 National Survey of Giving,
Volunteering and Participating millions of Canadian
volunteers continue to play a vital role in their
communities. But there appear to be some significant changes
in volunteer participation since the 1997 survey. Listed
below are the top ten trends in volunteering as identified
by Volunteer Canada. The topics offer a wide range of
practical and philosophical discussion points.
1. Much comes from the few
One in four Canadians volunteer. Over one-third (34%) of all
volunteer hours were contributed by the 5% of volunteers (who
gave 596 hours or more of their time).
2. The new volunteer
- More young people volunteer to gain work-related skills.
- More seniors who travel or have multiple activities have
less time available for volunteering.
- More new Canadians volunteer to develop work experience
and to practice language skills.
- More persons with disabilities view volunteering as a
meaningful way to participate in community life.
3. Volunteer job design
Volunteer job design can be the best defense for changing
demographics and fluctuations in funding.
4. Mandatory volunteering
Mandatory volunteer programs through Workfare, Community
Service Order and school mandated community work have created a
new category of volunteers sometimes called "voluntolds."
5. Volunteering by contract
The changing volunteer environment is redefining volunteer
commitment as a negotiated and mutually beneficial arrangement
rather than a one-way sacrifice of time by the volunteer.
6. Risk management
Considered part of the process of job design for volunteers,
risk management ensures the organization can place the right
volunteer in the appropriate activity.
7. Borrowing best practices
The voluntary sector has responded to the changing
environment by adopting corporate and public sector management
- Standards, codes of conduct
- Accountability and transparency measures around program
- Demand for evaluation, outcome and import measurement
8. Professional volunteer management
Managers of volunteer resources are working toward
establishing an equal footing with other professionals in the
9. Board governance: challenges and contradictions
Volunteer boards must respond to the challenge of acting as
both supervisors and strategic planners.
10. Volunteer development
Volunteer development is a pro-active response to the
declining numbers of volunteers. By offering opportunities for
training and growth, managers of volunteer resources can recruit
and engage potential volunteers while retaining current
A growing practice among voluntary organizations
is to have volunteers keep time sheets of their hours. The
reasons are two fold. The first reason is for volunteer
recognition award celebrations. The second reason is that it
helps organizations receive funding from sponsors and/or the
government. Volunteer Canada estimates that if volunteers were
getting paid they would receive $10.00 to $12.00 per hour.
Voluntary organizations are in the position to say we couldn’t
afford to operate, provide these services, and benefit the
community, group, or cause without volunteers. Yet voluntary
organizations still have infrastructure expenses such as paid
staff, utility bills, telephone bills, insurance, office
equipment, and furniture.
To find out more about the cataloguing of volunteer hours and the responses by non-profit/voluntary organizations, please see
Reporting the Value of Volunteer Contributions. This report was compiled in 2004 through the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy’s Knowledge Development Centre.
To succeed, non-profit organizations must also be aware of the motivations for and barriers to volunteering and donating. The Canadian Centre for Philanthropy compiled the following two reports based upon the results of the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (NSGVP):
Motivations and Barriers to Volunteering (PDF)
Each report examines the reasons some Canadians cited for their commitment, or lack thereof, to non-profit or voluntary organizations.
Motivations and Barriers to