Vancouver, BC: Like many other businesses, BBB is a not for profit 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.
Danielle Primrose, president and CEO of BBB Serving Mainland BC, says volunteering is a decision that requires the same effort as finding a job. “Volunteering can be a rewarding experience, but your time is your investment and you want to be sure that you get a return from that investment. Just as if you were donating money, you need to do your research.” she says. “You need to interview the organization to make sure it is a good fit for you.”
BBB and Volunteer Canada recommends researching the following when choosing a place to volunteer with:
- Choose a mission-based organization. Research its mission, vision and standards to make sure that the organization 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, privacy legislation 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. 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 Process. 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.
- Maintenance of volunteer records. 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 and Evaluation. How does the organization recognize and develop their volunteers. In order to track progress and measure success, appropriate benchmarks and goals should be set and communicated clearly.
For media inquiries, contact:
Simone Lis, Vice President
Better Business Bureau