Volunteer Forum held in Three Hills

Shovelling a sidewalk to help a neighbor, preparing Christmas hampers for the needy, coaching a school volleyball team; these are all examples of volunteering.
Karen Lynch, Executive Director of Volunteer Alberta came to educate and inspire a group of volunteers on Thursday, November 4, and she came armed with statistics to prove that volunteering is only growing.
From her abundance of stats, all from 2007, Karen revealed that there are 19,000 non-profit/voluntary organizations in Alberta, and 58% of those are completely volunteer run, with no paid staff.
She gave pointers to those in attendance involved in an organization, and in need of volunteers. Karen said, "There is not enough talk about the benefits of volunteering." She pushes that creativity is important in attracting people.
On the same note, she got into the discussion of the Tax Credit that the government provides for those who dedicate their time to volunteering. Karen showed that volunteers who contribute their time to non-profits certainly aren't motivated by tax breaks, and many probably don't even know they're entitled to deduct the expenses they incur in helping an organization. "Do we really want to monetize volunteering so that people are doing this for tax credit?" Comments Karen.
In an overall poll of Canadians, it was found that 84% are donating money, 84% are directly helping in some way( referred to as informal volunteering) such as driving a senior to a doctor's appointment and 46% of the population is volunteering through an organization.
The number one reason people volunteer is because they were asked, and the main motivator for people wanting to volunteer is the fact they are making a contribution to the community,
Another factor to ensure numbers are rising is keeping the youth involved. "[Volunteering] hasn't changed to accommodate the 21st Century", says Karen. There are youth who want to help out, but the issues might include time, money, or disinterest.
The organization "Time Raisers" was started by a group of friends looking to make it easier to find relevant volunteer opportunities. It's an event where the volunteer chooses an agency, bids on artwork, not with money but with their time. A silent auction is held, the highest bid wins, and the volunteer has one year to complete their pledge. Once completed, they are allowed to bring their art home.
Good help is out there, and people are willing to pitch in their time unselfishly. Organizations looking for volunteers need to keep in mind that they are essentially running a business, and they need to sell volunteerism.