Summary of changes since 2008 as reflected by volunteer centres:
In addition to the updates, each participating volunteer centres were asked 7 questions around any changes since 2008 on their relationships with their region, their community, their volunteers, their funders, and government. Below is a summary:
- For many of the 5 volunteer centres, relationships with their community have grown, esp. for centres that have increase the use of social media for connecting with their community. They have raised their profiles within the community, and have been able to provide more information to the community. They also recruited more volunteers because of it. Some centres have double their volunteer numbers.
- The internet has also contributed to developing relationships between volunteer centres and other non-profits. Through volunteer fairs and other online hubs, centres are able to make a difference in recruiting, referring and streamlining volunteer.
- There is a change in expectations in what role volunteers want to play, and volunteer centres realized they have to provide more roles in different levels.
- Centres found their community aging, and there are more seniors who need help as well as more senior volunteers. Centres are evolving their programs to adapt to these changes by providing more roles suitable for seniors. Some centres expressed concerns that the younger generation seem to be less interested in volunteering, and they need to be educated on why it is important to volunteer and on the benefits of volunteering.
- Belonging to a regional, provincial or national network: more municipalities have band together regionally to support capacity building; building shared understanding; making it possible to work on a bigger scale and make bigger impacts. For example, Volunteer BC “helps by giving a provincial perspective at funding sources, legislation etc.” and helps provide opportunities to share knowledge and information by providing conferences (Volunteer Futures). However, one centre expressed the fact that each community is different and they should not be lumped together with other communities if they have different needs.
- Funding continues to be a concern in different ways, whether it is changing mandates of major funders, or changes in policies in government funders. The shift from 3-year funding to annual funding from the BC community Gaming Grant has made planning and fundraising more challenging for some centres. In addition, funders are needing more details and information from organizations. There is also a shift from “traditional sources”, that are declining (e.g. United Way etc), to centres having to move more towards earned revenue instead of fundraising.
- For those centres in communities with First Nations/Aboriginal presence, one has developed cultural plan in their recruitment and encouraged cultural components in their programs. Others have seen an increase in First Nations organizations in their communities.