If you manage a volunteer program, you are responsible for the well-being and satisfaction of your organization’s volunteers and, ultimately, the impact those volunteers have on the organization’s mission and objectives. You might have the title of volunteer coordinator, manager or director. Or you might have another title altogether but carry out the function nonetheless as one amongst many. Regardless, you have an important job that requires both innate and learned skills, as well as knowledge and resources.
Where can you obtain these skills and find that knowledge and those resources? Is there a network or community of practice in your town or province? Is there a list of essential books, articles, tools and templates? Is there a training program available in your area or online?
As the executive director of a local volunteer centre for many years and in my current role at Volunteer Canada, I am often asked these questions by both current and prospective volunteer managers who are looking for ways to advance their career. Or, they may feel isolated as the sole supporters of volunteers in their organization, while their time-crunched colleagues inadvertently take them and volunteers for granted. This can be discouraging and demoralizing to say the least, and a situation where a network or community of practice provides valuable support.
Volunteer centres in many communities offer volunteer management training that can help respond to some of these needs. This training can take many forms – one-off events, themed networking sessions, a series of workshops or a certificate program. They can also connect you to others doing a similar job or dealing with similar issues. Although connecting with peers is the great advantage of in-person learning, some centres also offer online sessions that offer the content you need and, depending how they are set up, also support useful peer networking.
There are several community colleges in Canada, as well as other institutions and groups, that offer a variety of programs in volunteer management. In addition, not everyone is aware that Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada (VMPC) provides a professional certification program, the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) and supports you in the process. This certification is an international professional credential to recognize practitioners in the field of volunteer engagement who meet specified standards as measured through demonstrated professional and academic experience, a commitment to professional ethics, and a certification exam. This is great way to demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field in a concrete way – both to your employer and to those in your network. (If your organization is a Volunteer Canada member, you have access to a discount on the registration fees!)
The following is a list of centres, colleges and other organizations offering management training in Canada. While it is up to date, it does not pretend to be complete. Go ahead and explore these resources to find the one that fits your needs and schedule.
Programs at Community Colleges
- Confederation College online
- Connestoga College in classroom, online and hybrid
- Fleming College online
- Humber College online
- Mohawk College mix of in classroom and online
- Vancouver Community College in classroom
- Charity Village online
- Queens University Office of Advancement in classroom for Queens faculty and staff
- Réseau de l’action bénévole du Québec (RABQ) online
- Saskatchewan Polytechnic online
- Tech Soup Canada online
- The Rethink Group online
- Volunteer Management Institute in classroom in various Alberta and BC locations
Volunteer Centres offering training
- Kelowna Community Resources
- Propellus (Calgary)
- Vantage Point (Vancouver)
- Volunteer Alberta
- Volunteer Central (Red Deer)
- Volunteer Manitoba (various Manitoba and Saskatchewan locations)
- Volunteer Ottawa
- Volunteer Toronto
- Volunteer Victoria
- Waterloo-Wellington Learning Alliance, a partnership between volunteer centres in Guelph and Waterloo Region
- Centre d’action bénévole de Montréal/Volunteer Bureau of Montreal
- Centre d’action bénévole de Sherbrooke
- Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada
- Also offers annual and hybrid conferences and links to various resources
- Charity Village
- Apart from the training program listed above, they offer many tools, resources, articles, webinars and job postings
- Features all kinds of tools, resources and articles
- Journal – articles and more, for subscribers and non-subscribers
Is there a resource or course you think we should add to this list? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org !
The list above is up to date as of the day of publication. Any updates or additions to this list will be on Volunteer Canada’s website here.