You Made A Difference – Thank You!

Volunteer Victoria turned 40 this week. Today we are officially 14,602 days old!

Relative to agencies like the Cridge Centre – Western Canada’s oldest non profit which formed in 1876 – we are still a baby. Still, 40 years of business is a big milestone and we are so grateful to all our former and current agency and individual members, board members, and staff and volunteers who have made and continue to make Volunteer Victoria vibrant and relevant.

We are blessed to have team members (paid and volunteer) whose faces still light up every time they help a potential volunteer connect and commit to a volunteer opportunity, and who delight in creating and sharing knowledge, and strengthening the non profit community. One of the many  joys of working with volunteers and the agencies who recruit and manage volunteers is the endless amount of potential that is harnessed on a daily basis and grows with every act of volunteerism. Regardless of age or stage of life, volunteers make a difference.

We also want to acknowledge and thank the many organizations, foundations, and individuals who have invested in Volunteer Victoria over the last 40 years – Victoria Foundation, United Way of Greater Victoria, Coast Capital Savings, Thrifty Foods, and the provincial and municipal governments – to name a few. An investment in volunteerism is more than just a good use of resources – it builds connections, increases health and wellness, and extends the bounds of possibility – for individuals and for communities.  By helping Volunteer Victoria, you have helped many.

So thank you for supporting Volunteer Victoria and for choosing us to be your partner in all things volunteer  and non profit related.  The first 40 years were fabulous and we can’t wait for the next stage of our journey.

Volunteers live long and prosper!


Our United Way

We may occasionally toy with the idea of what to do with millions if we win a lottery  but I think this may be the extent of most people’s philanthropic dreams. (After a long and happy marriage my spouse and I have agreed to split the funds 50/50 and never to talk to each other about what we each did with our half.)

Besides, how much wealth does the average person really need to accumulate before they can make a difference for the things they care about in the community? If you are thinking millions or hundreds of thousands, think again. According to the book, “Excellence in Fundraising in Canada” the average gift in a will in Canada is $25,000 and the average monthly gift is in the $25 range.

$25,000 seems do-able and very meaningful. There is just one problem. We have to die to make the gift, so giving $25 a month seems far more reasonable. But, our wallets are usually filled with loonies, toonies, an old button from a shirt, 1o+ receipts, loyalty cards, an appointment card for a haircut etc. etc. etc. Finding the cash is the first problem and then there is the question of who do I give it to?

Do you remember the book, “The Wealthy Barber?” I have lived my entire working life by the Wealthy Barber principle of ‘saving first’ and it has provided me a guilt free life when it comes to spending. So I wondered, how many of us apply a similar principle to ‘giving first’ knowing that our monthly donations are whisked away at source through pay roll deductions, and our gifts add up over our lifetime? Without having millions to give, even the average joe has the opportunity to make it to the top of the philanthropy charts.

I suspect my thoughts have been driven by the United Way launch next week (September 17th at Spirit Square, City Hall. Bring a lunch, your family, and your friends!) The event nearly always feels a bit like New year’s Eve for me – a celebration that brings people together to look forward to a new year – and with the added benefit of not needing to stay up past midnight.

But more than just a one-time event,  the United Way Campaign is our community’s largest collective impact project – the bringing together of thousands of individuals who make the possible probable because they work together in a united way.

Most Canadians say that when it comes to what really matters, they want to know that they make a difference. I suppose our challenge is to think differently – instead of planning on building or winning enough in hopes of making a large legacy gift at some time in the future, why would’t we give what we can now so we get to witness the large difference we make in our community during our lifetime.

To learn more about the United Way visit

We Blame it on the Sunshine

The team at Volunteer Victoria has been musing on an idea for a couple of days now. After stumbling across a Fantasy Football League, we asked ourselves what would a Fantasy Non-Profit League in Victoria look like?

Of course, our Fantasy League might not  be called a ‘Non-Profit League” at all. There are many who advocate for a new name for our sector – a name that represents the quality of our outcomes and not the type of funding structure we work in. We think it might be fun to be called the “Fantasy Social Good League”, or the “Fantasy Making a Difference League”. If we are going to dream big we might even call ourselves the “Fantasy, We Always have the Resources we Need to Get the Job Done League,” but perhaps this is dreaming too big.

With 947 registered charities and several hundred more non-profits in Greater Victoria, the pool of potential Fantasy team members in the community is very large and very exciting. In a few short minutes we made a fantasy list of emerging and current managers and leaders who we think inspire our community to action and make real and sustained differences. There is no shortage of people or potential.

The pool includes current and recently retired Executive Directors, seasoned volunteer and program managers, financial management specialists, fundraisers, program and front line staff, and of course the central figures in all our organizations – our administrative colleagues. We also thought about our fantasy board members and volunteers – and the types of individuals we need to create a space and organizational culture where anything is possible and everything that needs to get done is achievable and manageable. In our Fantasy League we built a team who can create and sustain the conditions we need for individual, organizational, and community resiliency and good health- it was a blissful exercise.

Then we remembered the rules of the game – even though we may be able to create a Fantasy Team we cannot change the current and real-life conditions in which individuals and organizations work. Or can we? What can we do to reduce the risks in our environment and increase our successes and how can we commit to making the shifts that make a difference?

We probably won’t have much time in the fall to think about our Fantasy League, but we will be thinking about our reality league. While it is not all sunny days ahead, we think it remains the best league to play in.



Just Saying!

It’s August – if you have been paying even the slightest attention to the calendar, the weather, or your vacation schedule, or if you are more than 4 years old, then you already know this. BC teachers are still on strike. You probably know this too.

Here are some things that perhaps you don’t know or perhaps you forgot in the excitement of summer:

  • Victoria and Esquimalt Police departments stopped processing criminal record checks in July. (Both the Ministry of Justice and the Victoria and Esquimalt Police will continue to process CRC for individuals requiring a Vulnerable Sector Check). The Commissionaires Victoria will provide criminal record check services for volunteers living in Victoria or Esquimalt for the greatly reduced fee of $12. They will even come to your office to help process CRC applications.
  • United Way recently announced a change to its funding cycle. Look for applications to appear this Fall for funding that begins in April 2015.
  • The deadline for social service organizations to apply for Gaming Grants is November 30th. You can track all application approvals online.
  • Grant application deadlines for Victoria Foundation and Telus are quickly approaching.
  • 2014 looks to be a big summer in terms of staff changes at our funding partner organizations. Thanks to Catherine Schissel (United Way) and Gina Pecorelli (Telus) for your care and support and good luck in your new adventures.
  • Just when organizations got logic models and theories of change vocabulary and practice under control, along comes Collective Impact. If you have a little time to invest in learning more about Collective Impact visit Volunteer Victoria will host a Collective Impact Webinar in partnership with the McConnell Foundation in September.
  • Norm Smookler is offering free Exceptional Leader evaluations to anyone in the non-profit sector. This is great tool to help you figure out your leadership strengths and preferences. Visit for more information.
  • Did you know that Service Canada has a program called Work-sharing? Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The program provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is a three-party agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada. Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to a reduced schedule of work and to share the available work over a specified period of time. The goal of the Work-Sharing program is to avoid layoffs and for all participating employees to return to normal working hours by the end of the agreement. Visit for more information. And,
  • If your organization is like Volunteer Victoria you are currently working on strategies to ensure that youth client needs will be met in the fall. We are working with three possible scenarios – no school, some school, or a complete return to school.

Who said August would be quiet?

Canada’s Commercial Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

Has your inbox been inundated this week with requests from all types of businesses seeking your permission to ‘stay in touch?’ Canada’s new Commercial Anti-Spam Law (CASL) takes effect July 1st, and while there is still time for non-profit organizations to become fully compliant, businesses of all shapes and sizes can only contact you via a commercial electronic method to seek your permission to stay on their contact lists until June 30th.

A “commercial electronic message (CEM) is a message sent by any electronic means (i.e., email, text, instant message, tweet) thats purpose or one of its purposes, is to encourage participation in a “commercial activity.” Commercial activity is defined as “any particular transaction, act or conduct that is of a commercial character whether or not the person who carries it out does so in the expectation of profit.”

Registered charities have been granted an exemption by Industry Canada from the new laws surrounding commercial electronic messages, (as long as the primary purpose of the communications is raising funds/directly supporting your core mission as filed with Revenue Canada). Please note that non-profit organizations are not exempt from CASL.

There is also a discrepancy between the  Industry Canada and the CRTC’s interpretation of the exemption.

Imagine Canada reported on June 24th 2014 that “The CRTC has yet to issue official guidance on the exemption as it applies to charities and has indicated that an FAQ document pertaining to registered charities will be issued in the coming weeks. As such, the full extent of the discrepancies between the interpretation provided by Industry Canada, the authors of the legislation and regulations, and the CRTC (who enforce the legislation), may only become clear after the legislation takes effect.”

To make sure that you have all the information you need to stay compliant visit the following resources:’s-anti-spam-law-casl-imagine-canada-seeks-clarification-crtc-about

Victoria and Esquimalt Police Services Stop CRC Services

The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Boards implemented a temporary stop to police information and background checks for all non-vulnerable sectors as of June 25, 2014.

The stop of information and background checks is a temporary measure while privacy recommendations by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner are considered and implemented. The review relates to privacy concerns regarding the potential disclosure of information about an individual’s mental health history or status.

What does this mean for agencies and volunteers? If your new volunteers live in the municipalities of Victoria or Esquimalt and are not volunteering directly with vulnerable populations the police services will NOT be able to provide your volunteer with a Criminal Record Check.  This includes individuals who may be volunteering with agencies who work with vulnerable populations (i.e. Child and youth serving agencies) but are not directly working with vulnerable populations (in positions such as board members.)

Volunteers who are working directly with vulnerable populations can still apply to the police services for a CRC or to the Ministry of Justice if your organization is registered with the Criminal Record Review Program. Volunteers in all other municipalities can continue to access CRC through their local police station.

If your organization needs CRC’s to be processed in the short-term both Back Check and the Corp of Commissionaires (a non-profit) complete CRC’s for volunteers for a fee. The cost of a CRC ranges from $43 to $60.

For more information please contact the Victoria Police Department at


What is the Difference?

We often get requests from volunteers who want a position that will be inspiring, challenging, and rewarding – and a volunteer position that will help them build skills and gain knowledge so that they can explore or strengthen their career options. 

The number of people inspired to join a profession as a result of their volunteer work is potentially massive. We have excellent examples of local volunteer programs who collectively have helped 1000’s of students and emerging professionals find a space to learn, connect, and strengthen their resumes. As a community we should be proud of having helped develop generations of emerging social workers, medical and health practitioners, museum and heritage specialists, artists etc. 

Recently we had a wonderful group of newcomers drop by Volunteer Victoria. We welcomed them and asked about their volunteering wishes and experiences. They mentioned that they had already been given volunteer positions at a local restaurant. Shortly afterwards we read on a resume that a young lady volunteered for several  months at a local for-profit gym. 

These isolated reports raised some concerns and questions. We wondered: When and how do we help new volunteers learn the difference between volunteering, an unpaid training program, practicum or internship, and just working for free? Do we spend enough time reviewing job descriptions with new volunteers to explain our expectations and to explore theirs? And, how can we do a better job of informing volunteers of their rights?

As the summer approaches and new volunteers enter the marketplace, we encourage you to think about how you communicate:

  • job descriptions and expectations
  • the non-monetary benefits of volunteering 
  • expectations for time commitments
  • potential learning and training opportunities
  • the volunteers bill of rights
  • how your volunteers might be recognized

Reputations Lost

It has been a difficult couple of weeks for non-profits in the media. On Thursday, the criminal and fraudulent acts that directly led to the closure of the much-loved Capital Families organization in the Westshore were proven in a court of law. Over a two year period, Capital Families long-term book keeper stole more than $200,000.00. It may not seem important to know why the book keeper wrote fraudulent cheques to herself and obscured the paper trail – was it need, greed, desperation, revenge, fear, or pressure? It may feel that, regardless of the cause, the consequences are the same – Capital Families closed, the community lost a great service provider, and donors, funders, and stakeholders were left wondering how this could happen in a well-managed non-profit. But the truth is that knowing why and how fraud happens helps us all reduce the risk of it happening in our own workplaces. 

While it may not be criminal theft, reports continue to emerge about the Portland Housing Society and the forced resignation of their Board and Executive staff. Several audits revealed a series of large and questionable expenditures for items like family vacations, spa days, nights at the Plaza Hotel in New York, and long limousine rides. In any non-profit organization these types of expenditures are difficult to justify, but in an organization  serving  the citizens of the Downtown East Side these expenditures appear indefensible. The audits have not resulted in criminal charges, but the statements that staff deserved these items signal a sense of entitlement that is difficult to reconcile with the mission and values of the organization, and may be fraud of another kind.

It is important to remember that two reports does not signal the beginning of a trend. Fraud specialists report that about 5% of revenue in a typical organization is lost to fraud each year and that the median loss to fraud is lower in non-profits than in private or public corporations. (Shane Troyer, Principal Grant Thornton LLP, Still, having a ‘better loss’ reputation than our corporate cousins does not necessarily send the right message to our donors and funders at a time when organizations are trying to grow donations and program investments.

So, how can you ensure that you are taking all of the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of fraud in your organization? 

  • talk about fraud with staff, board, volunteers, and with your auditors
  • create fraud policies – articulate what will happen if fraud is suspected and the consequences for individuals engaged in fraud
  • include staff in scenario planning – where can fraud happen and how could it happen
  • identify risks and triggers in your organization
  • complete reference and criminal record checks for all staff and volunteers
  • identify ways you can strengthen your culture of transparency and accountability
  • invest in health and wellness to reduce the risk of unhappy staff and volunteers
  • build teams that cross check, share files, and work together to reduce loss and fraud risks
  • Seek expert advice on fraud and risk prevention

Administrative Coordinator Position January 2014





An exciting opportunity exists to join an outstanding staff and volunteer team providing services to 300 non profit agencies and thousands of volunteers in greater victoria. Volunteer victoria is seeking an exceptional individual to join our team as an administrative Coordinator.


Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following qualifications:

  • Relevant post secondary education or equivalent experience coordinating administrative services for a busy office environment
  • Experience coordinating diverse volunteers
  • Team player with excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • Computer literacy expected. Proficient with Office Suite including Publisher, Constant Contact, WordPress, and database and information management systems
  • Familiarity and comfort working with a range of communications and social media tools
  • Highly developed organizational skills with ability to organize and complete work independently and effectively, to prioritize tasks, and to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • Ability to create cooperative and productive working relationships with non-profit agencies, staff and volunteers
  • Enjoy working with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.


Permanent full-time position, 35 hrs/wk. Involves occasional evening and weekend commitments. Salary $16.00 pr/hr. Comprehensive benefits package after 3 months. Three weeks annual vacation. Apply to the executive director, volunteer victoria, 306 – 620 view street victoria, bc v8w 1j6. Deadline, january 30th, 2014. We sincerely thank all who apply, however, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.



General:     Under the general supervision of the Executive Director and working in close cooperation with other team members, coordinate administrative services and office management.


Goals:   A) To coordinate administrative services for a busy volunteer centre and provide support to staff/volunteers as designated;

              B) To maintain the Resource Centre and provide support / information to those who use it; and

              C) To oversee the coordination of Volunteer Victoria’s volunteer program.





  1. Coordinate the VV Volunteer Program – recruit, select, screen, orient, train, schedule, support, and evaluate office volunteers and champion continuous volunteer recognition. Provide day-to-day supervision of office volunteers – delegating tasks and scheduling activities.
  2. Coordinate administrative and clerical functions including petty cash, filing, photocopying, mailing, banking etc.
  3. Respond to Agency enquiries, support agencies with volunteer requests, and provide training to member agencies
  4. Administer contracts – liaise with staff, complete and submit monthly reports, comply with audit needs
  5. Administer and keep current all information management systems, distribution lists, and shared office resources – vacation calendars, contact lists, booking lists, meeting agendas, appointment lists etc.
  6. Coordinate special events such as AGM and volunteer recognition
  7. Manage office supplies inventory and coordinate maintenance of office equipment
  8. Coordinate IT support
  9. Process off-line workshop and event registrations, cross reference payments, issue invoices, and maintain training records for audit purposes evaluation, and outcome measurement processes
  10. Represent VV in the Administrators Network, and help support and further the network’s objectives



  1. Respond to phone/e-mail/web-based/in-person requests for information about VV or Leadership Victoria, answer enquiries regarding volunteering columns, volunteer opportunities, or advising services, and provide details of specific VV programs, information about community services, or referrals to other agencies
  2. Schedule appointments, direct enquiries to appropriate staff, volunteers, and subtenants
  3. Create a welcoming, inclusive, safe, clean, and relevant environment to greet guests
  4. Open /close office, update voice mail system, process mail etc.
  5. Maintain and report accurate and timely statistics regarding use of programs and services



  1. Coordinate workshop space for VV events and paid room usage – set up table and chairs, AV equipment, flip charts, refreshment services etc. and maintain welcoming environments
  2. Provide marketing support to the Training Program at the direction of the Manager of Training
  3. Input and collate data from all workshop evaluations



  1. Report membership changes to the board and respond to and comply with audit needs
  2. Board Support – Prepare monthly financial reports, manage Minutes of monthly meetings, support board as needed.


Working Conditions:

Volunteer Victoria is a busy office open Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30


Employment Term:

35 hrs/wk. Wage $16.00 per hour.


3 weeks (6%) vacation after 1 year. After completion of a satisfactory 3-month probationary period staff are entitled to receive a comprehensive health benefits package. After 1 year RSP is paid at the rate of 4% of annual salary.


Dec 2013


Job Posting December 2013 – Coordinator Community Development and Membership Services

An exciting opportunity exists to join an outstanding staff and volunteer team providing services to 300 non profit agencies and thousands of volunteers in Greater Victoria. Volunteer Victoria is seeking an exceptional individual to join our team as Coordinator of Community Development and Membership Services. The Coordinator also delivers community outreach activities / presentations to a range of community groups.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following qualifications:

  • Relevant post secondary education and 5 years related experience in increasingly responsible positions
  • Volunteer management certification or 5 or more years of equivalent experience working with and supervising volunteers
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and complete work effectively, to design, implement and evaluate new projects and services, and to build strategic partnerships and collaborations
  • Strong written communications skills and experience producing resource materials
  • Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills, including public speaking
  • Extensive knowledge of the non profit sector and volunteering trends
  • Highly developed organizational skills with ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • Team player
  • Ability to create cooperative and productive working relationships with non-profit agencies, staff and volunteers
  • Computer literacy expected

Permanent part-time position, 28 hrs/wk, flexible hours. Involves occasional evening and weekend commitments. Salary $19.00 pr/hr. Comprehensive benefits package after 3 months. Three weeks annual vacation. Apply to the Executive Director, Volunteer Victoria, 306 – 620 View Street Victoria, BC V8W 1J6. Deadline, January 19, 2014. We sincerely thank all who apply, however, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.



General: Reporting to the Executive Director and working in close cooperation with other staff members and volunteers, support strategic growth in membership services and community development initiatives.


A)     Provide professional advice and support to VV member agencies regarding volunteer management issues and best practices and trends in volunteerism;

B)      Grow and enhance membership and advising services;

C)      Coordinate volunteer fairs, group volunteering activities, and outreach presentations; and

D)      Implement and manage a new volunteer management system and training for members



1.      Respond to membership inquiries and manage intake and orientation to new members

2.      With support from Agency Relations Committee – develop and lead membership growth initiatives and ensure membership needs are being exceeded. Focus growth in West Shore and underserved communities

3.      Coordinate with volunteer support the in-house and Advising Program and establish off-site Advising Program in West shore, and underserved communities

4.      Develop partnerships/relationships in the West Shore to further membership and revenue generation goals

5.      Respond to member questions about best practices in volunteer management. Provide resources and tools to support their individual and organizational learning about volunteer management

6.      Participate in continuous learning about volunteer management principles and practices. Goal: CAVR Certification

7.      Represent VV in professional associations including AVRBC

8.      Oversee the production and distribution of Marketing Materials for Membership

9.      Identify and realize opportunities to complete one-time contracts for services with members and non members providing services such as volunteer management, audit, or developing recruitment strategies, corporate volunteer programs etc.

10.    Coordinate and oversee volunteer fairs/group volunteering activities with member agencies

11.    Collect and initiate research on volunteerism in the region, contribute articles to the VV website and E-Link

12.    Identify and mange the transition to a new volunteer management database program

13.    Coordinate/deliver outreach presentations

14.    Support administrative staff and volunteers



1.   Volunteer management certification or 5 or more years of equivalent experience working with and supervising volunteers.

2.   Extensive knowledge of the non profit community and volunteering trends.

3.   Demonstrated ability to organize and complete work effectively, to design, implement and evaluate new projects and services, and to build strategic partnerships and collaborations.

4.   Ability to establish positive working relationships with staff, volunteers and users of the agency’s services.

5.   Excellent interpersonal, presentation, and written and oral skills.



Working Conditions:

Volunteer Victoria is a busy office open Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30


Employment Term:

This is a permanent position, 28 hours per week.



3 weeks (6%) vacation after 1 year. After completion of a satisfactory 3-month probationary period staff are entitled to receive a comprehensive health benefits package. After 1 year RSP is paid at the rate of 4% of annual salary.


Position Created December 2013



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