Volunteerism is a huge part of the thrust of UPAA-MB as reflected in its annual activities of participating in various volunteer programs in Winnipeg. In line with this, the organization held a seminar about Organizational Development and Volunteer Management on March 14 at Sir William Stephenson Library. The guest speaker, Kevin Freedman, discussed key principles in managing the volunteer program of an organization.
Kevin Freedman has been a volunteer himself for over 20 years for various organizations, activities, and initiatives. He received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in April 2014. He also founded The Water Conservation Challenge. Currently, he is the President of University of Winnipeg Alumni Council and the Corporate Speaker of Canadian Blood Services. He is holding and had held various leadership positions in the community including being a member of the Board of Trustee in Winnipeg School Division and member of the Board of Directors of Assiniboine Credit Union among others.
Mr. Freedman started the seminar by highlighting key facts about the profile of volunteers in Canada. He mentioned that according to studies, sports and social services draw the most volunteers. Statistics also shows that younger people are more likely to contribute their time doing volunteer activities and that higher income, education, and involvement with religious groups correlate to volunteerism.
He discussed a case study about how New York Cares, a leading volunteer organization in New York City, was able to increase activation rates, increase engagement and repeat volunteerism, and create new leaders. Mr. Freedman also talked about the 13 Steps to Driving Recruitment, Engagement, and Leadership by Nancy Schwartz, publisher of Getting Attention e-update and blog. The original article is found here. According to the publisher, organizations may use these principles to improve volunteer recruitment, engagement, and retention rates.
The guest speaker emphasized the importance of training the volunteers properly, using targeted interactive communications to engage volunteers, and having feedback loops in nurturing an effective organizational volunteer program. To build an effective volunteer program, the organization must take into account the factors that draw, keep, increase, and drive-away volunteers.
This year, UPAA-MB will be organizing series of Lifelong Learning Seminars as part of the objective to enrich the skills and knowledge of its members. The second seminar will be held in July.
By Jeremy Malana and Nikki Mailom