“I have always enjoyed helping other people, and this was an excellent opportunity to do just that. Volunteering as a literacy tutor also gave me the opportunity to get out in the community and meet a wide variety of lovely people.” (A
Where are they?
Overall, fewer Canadians are volunteering. According to the National
Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, Canada is experiencing
a sharp decline in the number of people willing to volunteer. Between
1997 and 2000, there were one million fewer Canadian volunteers. Lack
of time was the reason most often given for not volunteering (identified
by 76% of non volunteers).
This same national trend is reflected in the
literacy community as well and in recent years the number
of volunteers has declined. In fact, in CLO's volunteer
survey (2005), 77% of literacy
practitioners indicated that they would like to increase
volunteer participation in their agencies. Given this reality,
how can you effectively recruit
those precious but time-poor volunteers? This can be especially
challenging since almost every other not-for-profit organization
in your community
is probably trying to recruit them too!
Finding the right
volunteers also involves knowing where to look. Make sure
you keep abreast of changes or trends in volunteer patterns.
For example, in recent years "family volunteering"—where
the members of a family volunteer for the same organization— has
become a popular trend. Volunteer Canada (www.volunteer.ca)
and Imagine Canada (www.imaginecanada.ca)
sources for information about volunteer trends.
In its promotional
tool kit, Celebrating Literacy Volunteers in Your Community,
Community Literacy of Ontario provided the following scenarios
for places or opportunities where you might find volunteers:
around the corner: Two-thirds of Canadians volunteer
because they or someone they know has been personally
affected by the cause an
- Waiting to be asked: Over 50% of volunteers said they became involved
because they were personally asked by someone from the organization, a family
friend or employer.
- Education: Volunteering tends to increase with the level
of formal education.
- Being youthful: The fastest growing segment of the
volunteer population are young adults between the ages of 15 and 24-nearly
one third of this segment volunteers. Unfortunately, the actual number
of hours they volunteer is decreasing.
- Working: 67% of volunteers are
employed. Employed Canadians volunteered more often than did those
who were unemployed or not in the labour force.
Part-time employed people had the highest rates of volunteering. However, those
who are either not in the labour force or are unemployed contribute
more hours than those who are employed.
Canadians who attend a place of worship on a weekly basis
are more likely to volunteer
and spend more time volunteering than the national
average. They also tend to give more and larger financial donations to
charity as well.
- Learning: Canadians in general and literacy volunteers in
particular have indicated that learning new skills is important to them.
that the opportunities you provide should allow volunteers to gain new skills
or increase their level of expertise.
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