Announcing our partnership with VMPC

New Member Benefit: 3 months free trial with Charity Republic for any VMPC Members

To help bring more value to your VMPC membership, VMPC is delighted to announce a new partnership with Charity Republic for a 3-month risk free trial.

What is Charity Republic?

As a Canadian-based social enterprise established in 2010, Charity Republic seeks to empower individuals and organizations to promote positive social change through volunteerism and community engagement. Charity Republic was designed as a web-based tool for non-profits and charities with the help of over 60 volunteer coordinators and is effective in scheduling volunteers, generating useful reports, detailed volunteer profiles, and communication. Visit their website (www.charityrepublic.com) for a free demo of their product.

Want more info?

Charity republic does several free demos of their software weekly. Before committing to the free trial, their staff will walk you through their software, via a 30-minute webinar, and answer any questions you may have. Their webinars are every Monday (10:00am-EST), Tuesday (11:30am-EST), and Wednesday (2:30pm-EST). You can always contact info@charityrepublic.com with any questions.

How to access your free trial:

To access your 3-month free trial, provide the promo code VMPC when signing up for your free trial at www.charityrepublic.com. You will not have to pay in advance for the software.

Contact Info for Charity Republic

info@charityrepublic.com

519-804-1962 / 1-866-505-7241

Thank you for supporting VMPC!

How to Sustain Volunteer Efforts After Returning Home

You’ve just returned home from a once in a lifetime volunteer opportunity abroad, but find yourself looking for a way to continue giving back. What can you do? You may feel as though your efforts are best put to use abroad, but there is a great deal of help and support to offer your community after returning home.
Volunteer Cork Board

#1. Get writing

Submit an article to a local newspaper or story idea to a local TV station.
Chances are, local news outlets will be very interested in what they call a “human interest” story about your experiences abroad. Particularly if you have great photos or videos to accompany the story. Newspapers are always looking for guest writers. You can submit a story to their editor and if they are interested, they will publish it. They may make some changes to your article, but that’s common and nothing to be worried about. You may even be offered compensation for your article, which you can donate back towards the cause you’re raising awareness for.

For visual media, such as a local TV station, a reporter may come to your home and interview you for stories about your experience abroad. This is a great chance to showcase the organization you volunteered with, what you did while you were there, what others can do, and why you’ve chosen to remain involved after returning home.

#2. Document your trip

Make a documentary or photo collage of your trip. In this day and age, most of us have smartphones or digital cameras with lots of memory. Getting great pictures and videos of your trip is easy to do.

You can put something together and upload it to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms. Whether it’s a quick 30-second video, a collage you put together on your smartphone, or a more in-depth story using complex video editing options, you can still communicate the importance of the cause you’ve volunteered for and continue to raise awareness and funds for them.

3. Organize a fundraiser

Before you get started, understand that this could be a big undertaking. See if friends, family members, or teachers would be willing to help you organize a fundraiser. The size and features of the fundraiser are completely up to you. You can contact the organization you volunteered with to see if they offer support for volunteers who are putting together events.

Some ideas for fundraisers are:
– Silent auctions
– Walks/runs
– Charity barbecues or dinners
– Garage sales

Here are some tips for planning a successful event:

  • See if local businesses, or friends and family members who own businesses, would be willing to donate a prize for you to give away or auction off.
  • Take time to think about the perfect location – You want it to be easy for people to get to, but not be too crowded or busy. Also, consider things like parking, accessibility, and access to restrooms.
  • Advertise online and with flyers leading up to the event.
  • Create an event hashtag and promote it on social media.
  • Contact local media to see if they would be willing to share details of the event, either in a story, or on their event calendar.
  • Make sure you have lots of extra hands to help on the day of the event.
  • Be sure to keep a positive attitude.

#4. Volunteer on a local level

Many national organizations have smaller chapters or offices on the local level. There are usually a limited number of staff members at these offices, so ask whether they need assistance with upcoming events, administrative tasks, or on their planning committees.

#5. Spread the word

Those who know about your volunteerism abroad may not realize that issues often remain long after your return. Continue to update your friends, family, and co-workers about what’s happening with the project or cause you volunteered with, and inform them of ways they can help.

Whether it’s a monthly newsletter, social media post, or phone call/text, the bottom line is that you can bring awareness to the cause by keeping people informed. It may help if you stay in touch with your organizer, or fellow volunteers too. This way, you can share photos, updates, and see the progress – All great things to share in that monthly newsletter.

#6. Write a blog

Writing a blog is a great way to spread the word, like the last point, but with a wider audience. You can reach people worldwide through a blog and may even notice some of the same people coming back for updates, or some who have donated time or money themselves because of your blog.

Starting a blog can be intimidating, but setting goals for yourself and your content at the outset will help ease you into the process.

Some of your blog goals might be:
– To blog once per week.
– To use your blog to make connections in a safe manner on a local, national, or global scale.
– To raise awareness of the project and its changes as time goes on.
– To highlight volunteers, or people affected by the organization’s work.
– Keep track of the number of views, likes, shares, comments to better understand the type of content your audience likes.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to have someone proofread your blog, particularly if you’re going to promote it on a larger scale.

You might decide to do one of these things, or a combination of them. There’s no right or wrong way to give back after you return from abroad. Do what suits you best and understand that any form of continued volunteerism is greatly appreciated by the organizations you’re volunteering with.

The pros and cons of short-terms vs. long-term volunteering

There are many advantages to volunteering in your community. Whether it’s a one-off event, or a long-term position, giving back through volunteerism shows dedication, and highlights your attitude towards the well-being of others. In this day and age, many employers consider volunteering “real” work experience, as these opportunities are both valuable learning experiences and require a great deal of dedication.

Volunteer Cork Board

One-day Volunteering

PROS 

  • Many volunteer organizations have one or two big events each year. Though these are huge fundraisers for them, the events usually surpass the amount of manpower and capabilities of staff members. This results in a need for support from community volunteers.
  • These short-term opportunities allow you to diversify your experience with several different positions across many events or fundraisers. You may find yourself helping with registration at one event, then at a prize booth at another.
  • Volunteering at a few one-day events each year will help you achieve your community service hours quickly. You may even decide to continue volunteering long after your hours have been completed.
  • One-day events take less time from your schedule, so these types of positions can be great for busy people. Volunteering for a few hours on a weekend is do-able for most and still allows you to give back to the community.
  • Volunteering at one-day events gives you the opportunity to meet dozens, if not hundreds, of people. It is a great chance to network and make valuable connections in the community – something that may be helpful for you down the road.

CONS

  • When a large event has wrapped up, there may be no more work for the volunteer until the following year even though a volunteer may be interested in further contributing their time throughout the year.
  • It can be a little overwhelming if you’re new to the role and not very familiar with the organization you’re volunteering for. Be sure to take advantage of orientation sessions and know who to ask about the organization and your role when you have questions.
  • There is limited ability to apply your expertise and skills in a short-term position or to learn new skills.
  • There is limited time to get to know people in depth. Consider exchanging contact information to meet new acquaintances again after the event has wrapped up.
Long-term volunteering

PROS

  • Usually, long-term positions, such as committee or board positions allow you to fulfill a “role” such as Sponsorship Coordinator or Food and Beverage Coordinator. As you gain experience in the community, you may take an interest in a particular organization or role, and ask to join the group of volunteers who plan the events. You will be responsible for the success of this aspect of the event. You may even be interested in being a Volunteer Coordinator, ensuring positions similar to ones you had volunteered for in the past are filled.
  • You can learn a lot by volunteering on a committee or board. Even though you’ll likely have a dedicated role, you will still hear the updates from others, and perhaps even give feedback or useful suggestions to help them out. For example, when the Treasurer gives an update about the budget, it’s a good opportunity to understand the financial side behind the effort you’re volunteering for, or if the Volunteer Coordinator mentions they are struggling to recruit enough volunteers, you may have helpful suggestions for them.
  • Long-term volunteering looks great on a resume. It shows dedication towards your community, a strong work ethic, and an eagerness to expand your knowledge and skill base. Additionally, these opportunities may help to fill gaps in your resume, such as school terms, or if you’re in between jobs.
  • You have an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships and get to know people on a deeper level when you meet often during volunteer shifts, at events, etc. Often, those friendships grow beyond your role and blossom regardless of whether you are volunteering or not.

CONS

  • Committee or board work can be a significant time commitment, upwards of a few hundred hours per year, depending on how much work you take on. Make sure you know what your limits are, and communicate them with the Chair of your committee or Volunteer Manager. Because these roles often have a greater level of responsibility, it’s important the work does not prevent you from fulfilling your other responsibilities, such as work, school, family, and friends.
  • Depending on the nature of the work, you may begin to develop a strong emotional connection. Most times it is not a bad thing, but can be if left unnoticed. Be sure that you don’t bring any emotional baggage home with you. If the work becomes overwhelming, talk to someone you can trust about your difficulties and think of ways to help offset the stress – even if it means finding a different volunteer opportunity.
  • You may notice increased expenses if you are required to do a lot of driving, or purchasing items on behalf of the organization. Be sure to ask if these costs can be reimbursed, such as by submitting mileage, or expense claims.

Regardless of whether you’re able to volunteer for a few hours on a weekend, or long-term over the course of years, the greatest part about volunteerism is the satisfaction you feel when you know you’re making a difference. Many people don’t realize the time and effort that goes into volunteering (e.g. putting events and fundraisers together). Only through volunteering with an organization, can you appreciate the effect that volunteers have. Many organizations only have a small number of staff members due to budget restrictions, and support from volunteers like you is essential to their success.

 

Charity Highlights | Volunteer MBC

Welcome to our charity and non-profit highlight. We shine the spotlight on a different charities and non-profits who, in our humble opinion, deserve some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we will be highlighting Volunteer MBC, a volunteer centre serving the cities of Mississauga and Brampton, and the Town of Caledon.

Volunteer MBC logo

It can be difficult to locate all of the volunteer opportunities in your community. Thankfully, there are organizations like Volunteer MBC who aims to promote and support volunteerism in an effort to engage and connect volunteers in the community.

All of Volunteer MBC’s volunteer opportunities can be found on their website, which utilizes three methods for locating meaningful volunteer opportunities. The first is a self-directed search, which allows users to look for roles based on their areas of interest in the On-line Volunteer Referral System. You may also arrange an in-person consultation in order to discuss your interests, expertise, and passions in a one-on-one setting, or you can use the email consultation service, which matches you with a volunteer opportunity based on information obtained on their Volunteer Opportunity Request Form.

Volunteer MBC is a training member organization of PREB-Ontario, a provincial volunteer recognition program based on Employment and Social Development Canada’s National Occupational Classification. They are also active members of the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN), which “provides a provincial network and voice to strengthen the individual and collective ability of Volunteer Centres in Ontario.”

As outlined on their website, Volunteer MBC’s values and focus strives to foster a community culture of respect, understanding, inclusiveness, and empowerment to all volunteers. Their goal is to link volunteers to organizations and opportunities they will succeed in, as well as to be a strong advocate for volunteerism in the community.

Volunteer MBC opened their doors in September 2008 with their main branch located in Mississauga and a satellite location in Bolton. Members gain access to benefits such as the ability to submit volunteer positions to the centre’s On-line Volunteer Referral System, networking opportunities with volunteers, organizations, and community partners, access to a members-only Good Practice Bank with sample policies and procedures, and more. Additionally, the Region of Peel has provided a grant for 40 Volunteer MBC member organizations to use Charity Republic’s volunteer management software. This offer ends in August 2016.

Do you know of an organization that deserves to be featured on our blog? Let us know!

Charity Highlight | Pink Pearl Foundation

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

Originating in Niagara Region, Pink Pearl Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that provides support, facilitates connections and empowers young women who are courageously working through the social and emotional challenges of cancer, currently across southern Ontario.

View More: http://nataschiawielink.pass.us/pink-pearl-proofs-1Meet Elise Gasbarrino, a 31-year-old ovarian cancer survivor and Founder of Pink Pearl Foundation. While undergoing cancer treatment in her early twenties, she felt certain elements were missing from her experience—a way to connect with women her age facing the same issues, and a means for women to conquer their issues together.

Fast forward 10 years and her vision has transformed into this extraordinary charitable organization made up of more than 30 dedicated volunteers, focused on bringing together young women affected by cancer through a network of peer support and innovative programs.

The Pink Pearl Foundation has successfully raised more than $185,000 to date through reputable fundraising initiatives, such as the Black & White with a Touch of Pink annual springtime gala. Funds raised provide effective and fully-funded programming for young women, between the ages of 18 and 40, battling cancer of any type.

Continual programming for fePink Pearl Foundation Retreatmale participants currently includes: day-long and over-night wellness retreats; ask-the-expert health information sessions; and in-hospital support packages.

So, how can you get involved? Start by checking out their exciting volunteer opportunities. Perhaps make a donation to help facilitate their cancer support movement. Or organize a group of friends to attend an upcoming fundraising gala on April 8, 2016 in Toronto! However you decide to get involved,  the Pink Pearl Foundation will sincerely appreciate your efforts!

Thank you for taking time to learn about Pink Pearl Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping bridge gaps in cancer support and care. To learn more and help spread the word, visit: www.pinkpearlfoundation.org

Twitter: @PinkPearlFdn
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pinkpearlfdn
Instagram: www.instagram.com/pinkpearlfdn

OVCN and Charity Republic’s Strategic Partnership Provides Easy Access to new Volunteer Management Software

OVCN logo 1Charity Republic logo (for IC)

 

Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) is pleased to announce a first-of-its-kind partnership with Waterloo Region’s leading volunteer software startup, Charity Republic. The partnership brings a solution to those who manage volunteers, making the software available to not-for-profits and charitable organizations across Ontario through their respective Volunteer Centres. The new software, a CRM for not-for-profits, creates easy and affordable access to an all-in-one web and mobile platform, making it easier to schedule, track, manage and report on volunteers.

Founder and CEO of Charity Republic, the Kitchener-based software company that designed the software, Popy Dimoulas-Graham said, “It is an honour to work with the OVCN and its member organizations to create a volunteer management solution that benefits volunteer managers and volunteers, as well as have a long-term impact on building capacity for charities and not-for-profits.”

Prior to and during the software development process, Charity Republic’s development team collaborated with over 60 charities and not-for-profit organizations to ensure that the software met the unique needs of its users, and helped them build greater capacity.

Speaking on behalf of the OVCN, PREB-Ontario’s Project Manager, Cody Palmer-Almond said, “Now that volunteers have the opportunity to gain a personalized, official PREB Certificate using the PREB-Ontario program, accurate and proper volunteer management is critical. The program not only helps managers of volunteers better record volunteers’ time and activities, but it also makes it much easier to accurately transfer volunteers’ attributes to PREB-Certificates.”

“This is the value that our amazing relationship with Charity Republic has brought to the voluntary sector and we are so thankful for their commitment to quality and excellence.”

This is not the only partnership OVCN has created with businesses in Waterloo Region. Volunteer Attract, has developed OVCN’s PREB-Ontario system, a set of proprietary online tools used to prepare personalized, official PREB Certificates. The company is also developing the OVCN and ChangetheWorld websites. These partnerships allow for closer collaboration and more complimentary, unified systems with greater user experiences.

About Charity Republic

Charity Republic is a software company specializing in software solutions for charities, non-profits, high schools and universities. The company promote meaningful volunteerism and community engagement via accessible and efficient technology solutions. In addition, they are already working with over 35 school districts and universities across Ontario, helping students and teachers to track and manage co-operative education, community service, practicums, volunteer hours and activities.

About OVCN

Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) is an unincorporated network of Volunteer Centres led by a Steering Committee. OVCN provides a provincial network and voice to strengthen the individual and collective ability of Volunteer Centres in Ontario, to promote and develop volunteerism. OVCN also inspires and strengthens leadership through community service and volunteer engagement, and promotes the 3Rs of volunteerism – Recruit! Retain! Recognize!

For more information, please contact:

Charity Republic
519-804-1962
info [at] charityrepublic.com

Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN)
519-731-5550
communications [at] ovcn.ca