Happy Holidays!

Hello and Happy Holidays to you!

We have had a great year and we’ve really enjoyed getting out to know more of you in our over 450 meetings in community. It’s been insightful, heartwarming, fun, funny, silly, sobering, thought-provoking, and enlightening. We feel really glad to know you. Thanks for taking us up on the offer for a coffee. You know how much we love our cozy, warm, beverages!

Our office will be taking some time to rest until 2017. We will be closed from December 23-January 2nd. We will catch up with you again on January 3rd.

If you need last minute volunteers, don’t forget about our twitter handle @volunteercal, which is run by our fabulous volunteer, Tyler.

As we sign off for 2016, we want to share with you our new volunteer recognition feature why.yyc on instagram. It features the stories of volunteers in Calgary. Want to feature someone? Contact Jeff.

That’s it from us in 2016!

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With love and warm wishes from:

Doug, Kelsey, Lori, Janet, Jeff, Andrea, and Tracy

Sweet Way to Onboard!

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As a Volunteer Coordinator, I am always looking for new ways to engage and recognize our amazing volunteers, and first impressions mean a lot.  I interview every candidate before they become volunteers, and during the interview I like to add a few fun questions like, ‘If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?’ as well as ‘What would you say is your all-time favourite chocolate bar?’.  I make note of the chocolate bar answer and when we onboard new volunteers, I make sure we have the paperwork, their nametags, and their favourite chocolate bar ready for them.  It is a fun and easy way to make new volunteers feel welcomed and appreciated right from the get-go.  I have gotten all kinds of positive responses from people when they see that we remembered their pick.  One of the best moments was over the summer, when we did a group onboarding for our Summer Camp volunteers.  The group of 19 youth walked into the room to see their welcome packages all made up, each with the chocolate bar of their choice.  I heard them talking to each other saying “they remembered!”, “that’s so nice!”, or “Remember when they asked us that question in the interviews?”.  It makes me smile every time.

  • Rachel Stelmach, Coordinator Volunteer Resources, Telus Spark

Doug’s Open Letter to Community

 

IMG_3264Six (well, ok, eight) months in – a reflection and a look forward.

I was asked the other day about what’s on for the next 12 months at Propellus. I thought that since I’ve only had coffee with 179 of you this year, the rest of you might be wondering what’s in our heads.

Let’s frame this up before jumping into it. So, a Volunteer Centre has four pillars. In short, they are Promote, Connect, Strengthen and Lead. You can read all about that here.

When we look back over the last few years, we’ve been very focused on the Strengthen pillar. You know this about us.  It’s allowed us to develop some really great stuff to help organizations get stronger. I’m really proud of how Propellus has focused on evaluations and assessment.

When we brought on the role of Evaluations Specialist, in addition to strengthening our own measurement, it led us to initiate an Evaluations Learning Community, which offers peer learning to our members. This year the Learning Community advisory council worked together to plan an evaluations conference. We are so pleased to be offering conference this fall where we host Michael Quinn Patton!

We’ve listened to you. So our assessment tool, which helps you get a quick snapshot into learning needs of your organization, has been up and running for almost a year. Also we’ve heard many of you describe yourselves as ‘the jack of all trades, master of none’ who needs quick access to tools you can use in your day to day job. We launched our resource bank earlier this year to provide you access to those tools!

Again, we want to go for coffee with you . . . Lori and Andrea would absolutely LOVE to hang out with you and review your assessment/point you to resources/connect you to opportunities for further learning!

As I’ve met with many of you this year I’ve heard the confusion and frustration you feel about this question, “where is the Volunteer Centre of Calgary?”

We’ve heard you. While we’ve continued to promote the volunteer opportunities on our database and host conversations, even a learning community for volunteer engagement, that is not enough.  After all, there are over 117 million hours spent volunteering in this amazing community of ours.  I agree, we can do more to support you!

So what does that mean? We haven’t got it figured out yet, but here are the steps we are taking:

  • We have expanded our volunteer team to include Tyler, Chandni, Shreya, and Manisha.
  • You can connect with Jeff as his role is changing and he is learning from the community what promoting volunteerism means.
  • We are exploring some fantastic opportunities to partner with organizations like MRU, Volunteer Alberta, Ignitech and more. Let Janet and Kelsey know who else we need to be meeting with. We’re listening!
  • Of course I’m still coming out for as many coffees (actually, it’s tea) and events with as many of you as possible because I love hearing your stories! Be sure to invite me to the places I don’t know about yet.

I hope you can see that we want to include you in shaping the future of this community organization.  What does the next twelve months look like for Propellus? Listening, acting on your advice and finding fantastic partners, so together we can continue to create a thriving engaged Calgary for each and every person!

Doug

Why We Celebrate

Did you know that Canada is a leader in the non-profit and voluntary sector? Canada is second only to the Netherlands when it comes to this sector. Of the plentiful non-profits in Canada, 54% of those are run entirely by volunteers. Who exactly are these volunteers and what do they do?

In this fast-paced world, volunteers are stepping up more than ever, and are taking advantage of advances in technology to contribute their time and talents in more ways than ever. The person checking their email on the train beside you in the morning could very well be a volunteer taking advantage of those precious few minutes to work on their volunteer projects. Continue reading

Engage: Festival Volunteers

With schools on break, family arriving from out of town and taking off work for some fun in the sun, people are always looking to put some of their summer time to use volunteering at one of the many festivals around town. From music festivals, foodie festivals and outdoor fundraisers, there are endless volunteer opportunities for people in the summer. When done well, recruiting and engaging event and festival volunteers can create life-long, year-round volunteers.    Continue reading

Template: Volunteer Application and Position Evaluation

A key to Volunteer Engagement, is placing volunteers into roles that suit their needs and interests. How do you achieve this placement? A well formatted volunteer application form can help.

Once the volunteer has settled into the position, it is time for evaluation. Is this the right fit? Is the organization and the volunteer achieving desired outcomes? A volunteer position evaluation can help. We have a template for that too! Continue reading

Template: Family Volunteer Agreement

With schools on break, vacations being taken over the holidays and family arriving from out of town, people are always looking to put some of their time to use in service to others – and they are looking for a rewarding dat to spend time as a family. Which is why, we thought the Family Volunteer Agreement form would be the perfect template for the season.  Continue reading