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Volunteer Toronto – Participatory APproaches to Community-Engaged



Human engagement with broad section among nonprofits.

Importance of citizen contribution.

The sector is not doing a great job on dragging talents.


The challenge of change. Collaborative.




Volunteer Toronto

Building individual capacity and connection.

Volunteer is a essential component to nonprofit sector, without volunteers, the whole landscape of arts and culture would disappear.


How we learn : We stay up to date on current legislation and best practices, conduct original research, learn from sector experts, and get feedback from our extensive network of nonprofits.


Consistent need on people volunteering.


What is volunteering?


Freely giving your time and service; usually at a nonprofit organization.


Impact of the sector

46,000 nonprofit organizations in Ontario

Grassroots groups are important.

5,000,000 Ontarians volunteer each year

VT supports ¼ million volunteers in the city


The sector contributes more GDP than :

Mining, Oil & Gas industries

Retail industry


Car Manufacturing


Did not take into account of not having enough volunteers, fundings was more important in that discourse.

History & Context: 1930’s


The ‘ Community Social council of Toronto’ was formed during the Great Depression.


The Council was charged with managing Toronto’s growing human and infrastructure capital for the common good.

The Split : 1937 – 1973


Welfare Council ( new Social Planning Toronto)

Addressing pressing needs in the city


Community Social Council of Toronto ( now Volunteer Toronto) focused on civic engagement.


Incorporated as a charity under the name Volunteer Centre of Metropolitan Toronto funded by the United Way.


Why We Volunteer: Then & Now


GIving Back

Traditional civic engagement/responsibility

Feel good and connect with others/free time

Relatively easy to secure a role

Strategic Focus

Newcomers : Build Canadian experience, networks and practice English.

Job Seekers: Practice/learn skills and fill gaps in resume.

Life Stages

Youth in Ontario: Must fill 40 volunteer hours to graduate high school

Older Adults/Retirees: Desire to remain active, relevant and productive.


Barriers to Volunteering

  1. Vulnerable populations and marginalized groups
  2. History of exclusion from meaningful employment
  3. Newcomers who have ENglish as a second language
  4. Adults with disabilities or living with mental illness
  5. THose who are economically vulnerable


The Cycle “ Need vs want ‘



When applying to a volunteer role, expect to:

Submit online application forms

Provide cover letters and resumes

Participate in interviews

Provide references



Vital Signs


“ ..divisiness is still a threat in a city that celebrates diversity. While Toronto has a wealth of opportunity, we are seeing a growing divide in terms of who has access to those opportunities. Enclaves are deepening, as is income inequality.’


— Sharon Avery President & CE Toronto Foundation.


Notes: a lot of services and centre was at downtown core and there is a service gap, painting out a picture who really needs the support.


There are food banks but there are no rent banks and a lot of issues have to do with housing.

A matrix you can plot yourself into, especially a tough time and tough space in Toronto in terms of being really isolated and such.

Creating new people you know and community connection can erase isolation.

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#Volunteer #Toronto #Participatory #APproaches #CommunityEngaged

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