National Volunteer Appreciation Week

This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. 

Having worked in the charitable sector for over 25 years, I can tell you that volunteers are critical to the work of organizations like your United Way.  

They fundraise to generate the resources needed for charities to deliver on their mission and vision. 

They provide governance oversight and leadership on boards of directors and committees. 

They are work on the frontlines supporting those who need it most. 

Based on a study conducted by Ipsos in the fall of 2022, two in ten Canadians will need the support of a charity in the coming six months. To meet this dependence on the charitable sector, there is an increased need for volunteers. Unfortunately, as we come out of the pandemic, it is estimated that 65% of charities have identified a shortage of volunteers. This decrease in volunteers has caused some charities to decrease service at a time when their community needs them to do just the opposite. 

We are facing a volunteer crisis and we need to rethink volunteerism. 

We need employers to value volunteerism and support their employees’ ambitions to give back.  

We also need charities to rethink volunteerism: as a sector, we need to be more flexible, to create meaningful opportunities, and to reduce barriers to volunteering.  

Finally, we all need to understand that volunteering is core to building strong and resilient communities where everyone can thrive.  

If you are actively volunteering in support of a charitable organization near and dear to your heart, I want to thank you for making a difference through your gift of time and talent. 

If you are not volunteering, I challenge you to consider finding a cause that aligns with your personal values and consider giving back – even if it is only one hour a week. 

Charities need you. 

Your community needs. 

Our most vulnerable friends and neighbours need you. 

You can make a difference. 

Bria n Shelley
Brian Shelley
Chief Executive & Philanthropy Officer
United Way Simcoe Muskoka

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