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Teresa Edwards March 2012 Exploring Volunteering among Aboriginal Peoples and Ways of Encouraging and Sustaining Engagement in Volunteerism: Key Informant.

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Presentation on theme: "Teresa Edwards March 2012 Exploring Volunteering among Aboriginal Peoples and Ways of Encouraging and Sustaining Engagement in Volunteerism: Key Informant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teresa Edwards March 2012 Exploring Volunteering among Aboriginal Peoples and Ways of Encouraging and Sustaining Engagement in Volunteerism: Key Informant Interview and Survey Findings

2 Overview  Introduction  Methodology  Perception of Volunteering  Informal and Formal Volunteering  Benefits of Informal Volunteerism  Benefits of Formal Volunteerism  Social and Personal Outcomes of Informal and Formal Volunteering 2Teresa Edwards March 2012

3 Overview continued…  Routes of Volunteerism  Where Aboriginal Peoples Volunteer  Recruitment Challenges and Best Practices  Retention Challenges and Best Practices  Questions 3Teresa Edwards March 2012

4 Introduction  Native Women’s Association of Canada  Aboriginal Peoples – History and Statistics  Project explored routes and barriers to volunteerism, recruitment and retention challenges, organizational supports needed, anecdotal impressions and participant views while working with Aboriginal Peoples

5 Methodology  A literature review was conducted to assess what has already been established on the subject matter.  A total of 65 people participants took part in the project at several sessions and meetings, primarily made up of First Nations (on and off reserve) and Métis.  Participants from other equality-seeking human rights organizations were able to participate; one Inuit specific session was held to obtain the views and challenges that are faced by Inuit Peoples when dealing with the issue of volunteering.  An Inuit specific project would be best in the future to address challenges encountered.  The information gathered was analyzed and trends were identified. Quick Profile of Participants:  40 participants completed the survey/questionnaire  25 Interviews were conducted  57 participants self-identified as Aboriginal  8 participants identified as non-Aboriginal  50 of the 65 turned out to be women ranging from years of ages 5Teresa Edwards March 2012

6 Perception of Volunteering  Volunteering among Aboriginal Peoples is: Understood as an inherent part of Aboriginal culture Helping out A selfless duty A tradition that has been passed on through family and cultural living A social and spiritual connection and responsibility to the Creator, your Nation, other Nations, your community, and your family 6Teresa Edwards March 2012

7 Informal vs. Formal Volunteering Quick Facts  Informal volunteerism is more frequent in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal volunteers tend to volunteer within their community, by performing any task that is required.  More women than men volunteer.  Volunteer activities performed by women and men are often gender- specific.  Young people are expected to volunteer within the culture.  Adults volunteer when they want to be involved and/or support change in their communities.  Seniors often volunteer on a regular basis- they have stronger link to their traditional values.  More people are likely to volunteer within their community then when living off reserve or a settlement, or for an Aboriginal specific organization within urban centres. 7Teresa Edwards March 2012

8 Benefits of Informal Volunteerism  Allows Aboriginal Peoples to take on a variety of tasks in a more comfortable work structure  Removes any discomfort Aboriginal Peoples may have with mainstream hierarchical infrastructure  Volunteers have the ability to select events, venues and tasks that they want to help do  Allows Aboriginal Peoples the flexibility to participate when they can given multiple commitments and barriers 8Teresa Edwards March 2012

9 Benefits of Formal Volunteerism  Strengthens local economies  Volunteer fundraising events also help generate value to the community’s profile  Organizations can provide services to the community that they otherwise would not be able to provide due to financial limitations 9Teresa Edwards March 2012

10 Social Outcomes of Informal and Formal Volunteering  Brings the communities together  Offers new perspectives and awareness  Builds stronger relationships between members of the community  Builds mutual respect and social cohesion between Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and non-Aboriginal populations  Offers Restorative Justice alternatives to the justice system – circle sentencing  Makes communities safer, and more connected  Enhances health and well-being  Strengthens urban Aboriginal communities  Creates a sense of community and belonging 10Teresa Edwards March 2012

11 Personal Outcomes of Informal and Formal Volunteering  Human connection  Sense of belonging  Interpersonal skills, communication skills and organizational skills  Increased knowledge of issues related to their volunteer experience  Develop job skills  Develop a network  Helps with finding employment 11Teresa Edwards March 2012

12 Routes of Volunteerism  School employment programs  Media (internet, newspapers, radio, social media)  Word of mouth  Outreach by organizations – contacting Aboriginal communities  Recruiting previous volunteers so that they can in turn recruit new volunteers from their community 12Teresa Edwards March 2012

13 Where Aboriginal Peoples Volunteer 13Teresa Edwards March 2012

14 Recruitment Challenges  Lack of transportation and poor economic conditions  Absence of support  Systemic barriers, including racism, cultural insensitivity, and lack of relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people  Mainstream hierarchical titles (such as President) conflicting with community values  Lack of self-esteem and feeling of purpose  Family status: single mothers and caregivers for Elders, family and extended family crises, such as poverty, crime, incarceration, and substance abuse 14Teresa Edwards March 2012

15 Recruitment Challenges Continued…  Time-constraints  Employment status  Legalities: The requirements of formal volunteerism can be too demanding – require signing waivers, filling out documents, etc.  High rate of turn-over: it is difficult to retain volunteers due to the lack of pecuniary payment to the individuals for their time and services  Lack of skills required: Some volunteer positions require particular skills that come volunteers may not have, and training is not offered 15Teresa Edwards March 2012

16 Recruitment Best Practices  Link volunteerism with the notion of “helping out” as understood in Aboriginal culture  Aboriginal representation within the organization’s staff  Targeted recruitment – Aboriginal staff to recruit  Simple and clear recruitment process  Having a positive reputation/relationship in Aboriginal communities  Organizations should be transparent and credible 16Teresa Edwards March 2012

17 Recruitment Best Practices  Organizations should have good financial supports.  Organizations should offer and advertise great experiences such as travel opportunities and professional training.  Organizations should make sure to really advertise their volunteer positions.  Organizations can recruit a volunteer coordinator in order to establish the processes required to better attract, engage, and enable Aboriginal volunteerism.  Non-Aboriginal organizations should familiarize themselves with Aboriginal culture and protocols. 17Teresa Edwards March 2012

18 Retention Challenges  Retention is directly linked to recruitment challenges.  Time constraints – Aboriginal Peoples may have responsibility for children and Elder parents, etc.  Repetition: There is a tendency for the same people to volunteering all the time. They risk being overwhelmed and eventually stop volunteering.  Lack of commitment: the informal volunteers tend to lack commitment unless the tasks are enjoyable. 18Teresa Edwards March 2012

19 Retention Best Practices  Providing training to volunteers helps them feel prepared  Providing ongoing supervision and support  Providing feedback to the volunteer  Encouraging family volunteering, and providing care  Appreciation for volunteers – praise, recognition, gifts, meals provided  Providing unstructured volunteer opportunities  Creating a comfortable and inclusive environment  Providing proper culturally relevant mechanisms to deal with difficult situations, such as conflict resolution  Building relationships with organizations and communities  Offering support and encouragement 19Teresa Edwards March 2012

20 Retention Best Practices  Organizations can offer cultural communication methods and conflict resolution solutions.  Organizations should offer an interesting volunteer environment.  Organizations should encourage its volunteers to participate in the activities that are most geared toward their interests.  Organizations should be upfront with the volunteers about the commitment that is expected of them.  Organizations should make it fun for volunteers to participate!  Questions? 20Teresa Edwards March 2012

21 Wela’lioq! Thank You! Merci! Teresa Edwards 21Teresa Edwards March 2012


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