Volunteer Week April 6-12: BBB offers tips on how to choose the right organization

April 03, 2014

April 3, 2014 – CALGARY, ALBERTA – Like many other businesses, BBB is a nonprofit organization that relies on the work of volunteers. With National Volunteer Week kicking off on Monday, BBB is urging volunteers to invest their time and efforts wisely.

Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, says volunteering is a decision that requires the same effort as finding a job. “Although volunteering can be a rewarding experience, you want to be thoughtful and do your research when donating time, just as if you were donating money,” she says. “The purpose of volunteering is to selflessly give back to your community, but people need to ensure they are making a mutually beneficial decision.”

BBB and Volunteer Canada recommend researching the following when choosing an organization to volunteer with:

  • Choose a mission-based organization. Research its mission, vision and standards to ensure you are investing your time with organization that shares your values.
  • Ask about Human Resources policies. Inquire about training programs and how the company views/treats their volunteers. This will help you determine if you will be part of a team environment.
  • Inquire about governance and operational procedures. Find out if policies and procedures are consistent with national and provincial/territorial Human Rights Codes, The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and provincial/ territorial employment standards legislation.
  • Management and administration of volunteer resources. Ask what resources are offered to the volunteers and how they are managed.
  • Risk Management and quality assurance. Determine what risk factors are associated with volunteer activity and how the organization manages and communicates these potential risks.
  • Volunteer Roles. In order to maximize mutual benefit for both you and the organization, determine what your skills and interests are and how you can apply these as a volunteer. Ask what the specific needs of the organization are to determine if it will be a good fit.
  • Effective recruitment strategies. Does the organization reach out to diverse audiences from different background and experience levels? Do they encourage discussion of skills, interests and creative passions?
  • Screening procedures. Ensure the screening process is clearly explained and understand your privacy rights. You will be required to submit personal information but be sure to ask why and how your information will be used.
  • Orientation and training. Does the organization offer role-specific training? Orientation is not just for employees. Volunteers should be given proper orientation to familiarize themselves with the environment, equipment and co-workers.
  • Support and supervision. This should be customized to each role’s needs and requirements as well as the skill level and experience of the volunteer. Opportunities for volunteer feedback should also be communicated.
  • Records management. Just like employees, volunteer information and records should be kept confidential and secure. Ask if the organization keeps informed of current legislation, Human Rights Codes and other relevant guidelines for records management, privacy, access to information, and
  • confidentiality practices.
  • Technology. Up-to-date technology should be available for volunteers to aid in tasks, research, training and communication. Ask if the organization has rules and regulations pertaining to technology use and information access.
  • Recognition. Recognizing volunteer achievements and contributions ensure a positive atmosphere and encourage positive results.
  • Evaluation.  In order to track progress and measure success, appropriate benchmarks and goals should be set and communicated clearly.

Fore more consumer tips, visit bbb.org.  


Media contact:

Leah Brownridge
Marketing Communications Coordinator
Email: leah@calgary.bbb.org
Phone: (403) 531-8793

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually. 

For more information, check out our About Us section.