How to write and share volunteer descriptions

Community groups like yours run on volunteers. You’re probably a volunteer yourself! Getting enough volunteers, and the right volunteers, is crucial to the very longevity of most community based organizations.

Writing and effectively sharing a volunteer description is one way to recruit volunteers. It provides clarity on the needs of your groups, on the teams roles and responsibility, and most importantly tells the community you are looking for volunteers!

The only difference between volunteer job postings and paid postings is the lack of pay and the fact that the person writing them is generally not a Human Resources professional.  Read on for tips to help you succeed in writing and sharing volunteer job descriptions that result in volunteers  who provide your group with new skills or perspectives.

 

How parks can help address social exclusion

Social exclusion can happen to anyone. A sense of being alone, without support, is a rising trend even in the most dense urban centres. But it’s more prevalent in less affluent neighbourhoods where limited access to education, poverty and mental health issues take a toll on people’s wellbeing. People lose self-confidence and become discouraged from taking initiative – the mental barriers that present the biggest obstacle to getting people involved.

In developing programming that meets community needs, Parole d’excluEs has reimagined and revitalized the interconnected courtyards of 16 midrise buildings in Montreal North with four more to go. Here are some of the things that they do—and lessons that they have to pass on vis-à-vis reducing social isolation among marginalized people.

 

Events that strengthen ties between park groups and Indigenous groups

The Toronto Island is a beautiful gathering place any time one’s lucky enough to visit. But there was a special feeling in the air when Toronto Island and Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations (MNCFN) Friendship Group joined together for the first of three events supported through the TD Park People Grant program.

Effective outreach means turning outreach ‘inside out’

Outreach is a term that can be deceiving. It presumes an “insider” group that’s trying to reach people who are “outsiders.” A better approach, and one championed by Nawal Ateeq, Chair of Flemingdon Community Support Services, is to consider everyone in your community (and beyond) to be “insiders”–they just may not know it yet.

Nawal’s group is interwoven into the web of neighbourhood connections that help serve the needs of the many Toronto newcomer communities that call Flemingdon Park their home. Flemingdon is a highly diverse neighbourhood in Toronto’s North York populated by a number of tower communities. Here’s how Nawal turns the concept of outreach inside out and gets people to share green space in Flemingdon Park.

 

Creating Community Partnerships that Work

Building partnerships with other groups in the community can help you achieve your goals more quickly and effectively. We spoke to Shahina Sayani, a Community Planner with the City of Toronto who shared her insider tips for making community partnerships work.

A community-first approach to establishing your park group

The scariest time for community park groups is the beginning. When you’re just one person with a good idea about the potential of your park, there’s no knowing whether other people will ‘show up’ to make it happen. Faced with this possibility, Ana Cuciureanu parked her park dreams in the background, and gave her full attention to connecting with her community. How she did this, and the underpinning convictions behind her approach, are worth sharing.

Partner with a charitable trustee

As a small, community-based organization, how do you raise funds to do the things you need to do? You need to bring on new members, undertake projects that may involve hard costs and publicize the events you hold. And when you want to do something ambitious, you really need to get creative about fundraising. Grassroots organizations in Canada can take the form of an Association, a Trusteeship, a Not for Profit, or a Charity. Only two of these will enable you to issue donor tax receipts and to apply for most forms of publicly available grants. They are trusteeships and charities.

Establishing a charitable trusteeship is the simplest, fastest way to issuing tax receipts and accessing grants. In essence, you align your organization with a charity whose mandate is somewhat similar to yours. Tax receipts are important to donors, especially larger donors, because a portion of funds donated gets deducted from their taxes. We spoke to Julet Allen, Program Director at Delta Family Resource Centre, a grassroots, non-profit, community-based agency in Toronto’s Rexdale community.

Engaging Seniors

Maybe you’re a community organization with a mandate to meaningfully engage seniors. Or, you’re a park group hoping to get seniors more engaged in your park events. Either way,  you’re right to recognize that parks are an untapped resource that can deliver multiple benefits for seniors in your community and that it requires unique strategies to get seniors to your events.

A recent national report cited that “The number one emerging issue facing seniors in Canada is keeping older people socially connected and active.” However, it’s not enough to assume that because your park or event is open to the public that seniors will participate. As we highlighted in our Sparking Change Report:

“Parks can be places of healing, exchange and dialogue–but only if we create the conditions for everyone to participate.”

How can park groups “create the conditions” for seniors to use the park and see it as theirs? To answer this question, we spoke to Iffat Malick, Seniors Program Manager at Northwood Neighbourhood Services where English classes, bingo games, light exercise and intergenerational programming all take place in local parks.

How to start your community park group

By creating a community park group, you are showing that you care about parks and communities and want them to be better. There have been community park groups doing great work in their parks for decades. Park People is helping to grow the number of groups and build a connected network of groups across all of Canada. After reading this, let us know how we can help you further at info@parkpeople.ca

 

The Park People Network Guiding Principles

The Park People Network is based on core principles that help make parks and communities thrive. Please review these guiding principles and feel free to use them, or adapt them, for your work in parks. 

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