New Digital Tool Classifies Canadians According to Six Volunteer Types and Suggests Suitable Volunteer Opportunities

TORONTO, May 12 /CNW/ - Are you a 'Cameo'-style volunteer, who wants occasional, flexible opportunities to develop your skills?  Or are you a 'Type A', a highly motivated leader, driven to contribute to a cause that means the most to you?

Volunteer Canada, together with Manulife Financial, is introducing a new digital tool that categorizes Canadians into six distinct volunteer types and recommends available roles suited to their volunteer profiles and specific interests. The Volunteer Quiz, or VQ, is the latest addition to a suite of digital assets that is part of a national two-year campaign. This national campaign is aimed at enriching the volunteer experience of Canadians and strengthening the country's voluntary sector in order to build and sustain healthy communities.

According to the landmark Bridging the Gap research study, led by Volunteer Canada in partnership with Manulife, technology is creating an opportunity to address a disconnect between what Canadians look for in volunteer experiences and what organizations offer.

"Today's volunteers are more goal-oriented, autonomous, tech-savvy, and mobile," said Ruth MacKenzie, President and CEO of Volunteer Canada. "It's essential that organizations recognize the changes that technology brings and adapt to meet the needs of the next generation of volunteers."

Rookie, Roving Consultant, Type 'A', Groupie, Juggler, and Cameo are the six volunteer types identified by the VQ, and are based on the Bridging the Gap research findings. The VQ is the first online tool in Canada to provide volunteer opportunities best suited to the individual's profile. The 'Groupie', for example, enjoys the camaraderie of group volunteering activities, and is best suited to large organizations with short-term or one-day volunteer activities, while the 'Roving Consultant' is better suited to work on specific short-term projects with real need for a specialized skill set.

"All Canadians have a role to play along a broad spectrum of engagement - everything from quick bursts of volunteering on mobile handsets to front-line volunteer aid in war-torn regions of the world," said MacKenzie. "The VQ can help boost volunteer engagement, but it's essential to maintain a balance between episodic and long-term volunteering."

"As the leading corporate supporter of this campaign, Manulife is committed to building tools and resources that inspire Canadians to get involved in their communities and help the not-for-profit sector respond to the unique needs of today's volunteers," said Nicole Boivin, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Communications at Manulife Canada.  "The VQ is an interactive tool that helps people identify their unique volunteer style, which in turn allows them to focus their search on experiences that they're likely to find most rewarding."

Canadians can access the VQ as a feature on the interactive campaign website. The resource connects individuals to suitable volunteer opportunities made available through a powerful volunteer matching tool, sponsored by Manulife Financial.

Building the Bridge Campaign

In December 2010, Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial unveiled Bridging the Gap, a pan-Canada research study identifying gaps between what Canadians look for when they consider volunteering and how organizations engage their volunteers. The research gathered practical information organizations can use to engage volunteers in four distinct demographic groups: youth, family, baby boomers, and employer-supported volunteers. Volunteer Canada and Manulife are currently focused on filling these gaps through their Building the Bridge campaign.

Launched on March 7, 2011, this multi-faceted effort includes a suite of digital components including: the Volunteer Quiz (VQ); a 'Get Volunteering' web portal, Facebook page and application; a volunteer matching tool, at the recently enhanced Getinvolved.ca, sponsored by Manulife Financial; a digital ad campaign; and the new Action Bénévole. New tools and resources will continue to roll out throughout 2011.

Volunteer Canada - The National Voice for Volunteerism in Canada

With more than 30 years of passionate commitment to the cause of volunteering and civic participation, Volunteer Canada inspires Canadians to be engaged from coast to coast to coast.  Volunteer Canada develops programs, leads national initiatives, creates tools, and conducts vital research for the non-profit sector.

Focused on influencing social policy and developing valuable resources around volunteerism, the organization helps non-profits and businesses build capacity for the changing culture of volunteerism.  It recognizes the impact of Canada's 12.5 million volunteers through national campaigns and works with its Corporate Council on Volunteering to catalyze conversations about corporate community involvement. Volunteer Canada works collaboratively with volunteer centres, business, and non-profit organizations to support volunteerism and the ultimate agents of social change, Canada's volunteers.

Manulife's Commitment to Volunteerism

Preparing for the future is something Manulife gets behind every day. The Manulife Volunteer Commitment focuses on helping Canadians build a better future on three important levels: by inspiring Canadians to want to get involved and give back; by supporting initiatives that help Canadians match their unique skills and talents with meaningful volunteer opportunities; and by engaging Canadians in the idea of volunteerism and its value to the future of our country.

Media Note: Visit Volunteer Canada for a backgrounder on the VQ, along with details on all other campaign components including  Getvolunteering.ca, Getinvolved.ca, and the Get Volunteering Facebook page and application. 

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BACKGROUNDER: The Volunteer Quiz (VQ)

Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial recently developed the Volunteer Quiz, or VQ, a digital tool designed to help bridge the gaps between what Canadians look for in volunteer opportunities and what many organizations offer.  For example, many Canadians seek group volunteer activities, but few organizations have the resources to offer these opportunities.  At the same time, while tech-savvy Canadians wish to volunteer remotely, many organizations only offer traditional volunteer opportunities.  These are just a few of the gaps affecting the volunteer landscape.

The landmark Bridging the Gap research report identified technology as an area of opportunity to strengthen Canada's voluntary sector and improve volunteer engagement and retention. The VQ aims to do this by aligning six core volunteer types with suitable volunteer roles.

Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial conducted the research in 2010 to better understand today's volunteers and to gather information organizations can use to better engage volunteers. The report shows volunteers today are more tech-savvy and mobile than previous generations. As a result, it is essential for organizations to adapt their practices to meet the needs of the next generation of volunteers.

Having identified the issues, the focus is now on Building the Bridge. This two-year national campaign addresses the gaps identified in the research with a suite of digital tools, including the VQ.

The VQ identifies six types of volunteers in Canada: Cameo, Groupie, Juggler, Rookie, Roving Consultant, and Type A. Using the VQ, Canadians can discover their personal volunteer types and then find volunteer opportunities customized to their type and interests. Opportunities are generated by the powerful volunteer matching tool, sponsored by Manulife Financial and developed earlier this year in collaboration with q media solutions for Getinvolved.ca.

The VQ is intended to serve organizations as well as volunteers. It provides insight into the characteristics and motivations of prospective volunteers. This information can help organizations develop opportunities specifically for the different volunteer types.

The Six Volunteer Types

Cameo
Cameo volunteers lead unpredictable, ever-changing lives. They shy away from long-term commitment. Cameos have volunteered in the past, and are now looking to get involved once again. They appreciate organizations that are flexible and welcoming of volunteers who seek skill development. They are also often interested in virtual volunteer opportunities.

Groupie
Groupie volunteers thrive on the camaraderie of group volunteer activities. They like to have fun while still delivering results. They lead busy lives, and are therefore best suited to short-term volunteer commitments. Groupies work best in large organizations engaging in short-term activities or one-day projects.

Juggler
Jugglers are enthusiastic and autonomous, and want to create their own volunteer opportunities whenever possible. Their days fill up quickly, which can make long-term commitment difficult. However, they are still eager to contribute to their communities. Jugglers are suited to organizations that offer a wide variety of opportunities, and allow volunteers to engage in a multitude of activities.

Rookie
As the name suggests, Rookies are new to the world of volunteering, but are interested in testing the waters. They're cautious about getting involved, and can become overwhelmed when seeking opportunities. They are suited to locally focused organizations with opportunities for hands-on work that allow Rookies to see the impact of their volunteer efforts.

Roving Consultant
Roving Consultants are pragmatic, independent volunteers who wish to contribute their specialized skills to organizations. They prefer one-off opportunities that allow them to work on their own schedules. Roving consultants gravitate toward organizations that offer specific, short-term volunteer requests.

Type A
Type A volunteers are highly motivated multi-taskers who enjoy adopting a leadership role in their volunteer work. They are flexible, active volunteers who wish to contribute to causes that are important to them.  Type A volunteers are drawn to organizations that are structured and well-regarded.

SOURCE Manulife Financial

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