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Being a better volunteer

publication date: Nov 12, 2018
author/source: Chris Synder

We all know the benefits volunteers bring to an organization, including keeping costs down and bringing in money to help the organization fund their goals and objectives. Their ideas and positive presence also can raise the morale of everyone associated with the organization

Virtually every person I talk to who has volunteered has agreed they receive more from volunteering than the beneficiaries for whom they volunteer. In my case, these benefits include that this is how I met my wife of 51 years. Another benefit for me was that volunteering helped me find my way into my career in the financial services business.

In fact, I set up my business in a way so I could volunteer. Benefits of being a volunteer include but are not limited to, feeling part of a community, personal growth through meeting and working with fascinating human beings, the development of skills which can be useful in their work place and having a positive impact on the welfare of people for whom they volunteer. Last but not least are the experiences gained and sense of meaning volunteering brings.

Employers benefit too when their employees volunteer. This includes expanding employee horizons, and learning skills the employee can bring to their work. Promoting employee volunteering also tells both employee and the world WE Care. It tells people "There is more to our company than making money." Following this practice will likely add to your bottom line.

Many times we do not even know who has volunteered on our behalf. One of the beautiful things about volunteering is you can do it at all ages and stages and it requires an unlimited number of skill sets.

I have been volunteering for over 70 years however it is only in the past month I have become a member of Volunteer Canada. An organization of which I am chair joined Volunteer Canada, HIP (honouring Indigenous Peoples).

The reason we joined was to obtain directors insurance at an extremly reasonable cost. Since then I have started to receive blogs and other useful bits of information that will be helpful to HIP and I am sure other charitable organizations.

This includes a facility to connect with possible funders, ideas on how to work better in one's community, how to stage events, how to obtain new volunteers and how to best utilize a volunteer's skills.

All of this brings me back to Volunteer Canada and the many benefits they bring to us by expanding our ideas, enhancing our experiences, keeping us motivated and making us better volunteers. It also helps to get more people to volunteer.

The cost to join is only $100 for a year. The more and better volunteers there are the better.

Our country and our world depends on volunteers. It is good to look at those who coach amateur sports teams, people who lead hiking trails clean ups, others pack boxes to send clothing to indigenous peoples or some greet us at a hospital with a cheery, much needed, and compassionate "hello." As volunteer leaders, it is even better to make sure to support these important volunteers.

This article was totally unsolicited by Volunteer Canada

Chris Snyder, CFP, RFP is the author of Creating Opportunities - A Volunteer's Memoir. Chris is one of the early pioneers in the Canadian financial planning world. Chris understands that while much of life revolves around money; life is about much more than that. He has been a founder and/or board member of many charitable organizations including Project Mainstream in India, Street Kids International and Bakong Technical College in Cambodia, the Canadian Landmine Foundation, Toronto's Youth Employment Services, the Nature Conservancy of Canada(Ont) and Alpine Ontario. A long-time member of the Rotary Club of Toronto, he leads groups of Rotarians to the developing world to build schools and lead other valuable community projects. Most recently he has been working on First Nations initiatives and is the founding chair of HIP(Honouring Indigenous Peoples). In 2018, Chris was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in recognition of his many contributions to volunteering in various communities. He can be reached at

Buy your own copy of Creating Opportunities - A Volunteer's Memoir.


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