What Is CharityVillage? An Article By Marina Dawson

CharityVillage is the Canadian nonprofit sector’s largest and most popular online resource for recruiting, news and how-to information. Many people know us as the biggest online job board for the nonprofit sector in Canada, and, in fact, one of the first things we often hear from people we talk to is, “I got my current job through CharityVillage!”

However, we also are very much a go-to website for the nonprofit sector in Canada. We have thousands of resource articles, run dozens of free webinars every year, offer online courses and publish a salary and benefits guide specific to the sector. In my role as Manager, Content & Community, I devote much of my time to creating and curating this content for non-profit professionals.

I started my journey with CharityVillage in 2008, but the organization is actually much older than that – in fact, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year! We launched in July of 1995, and as you can imagine, our website looked much different back then!

The organization began when our founders saw the need to connect nonprofits to the power of the Internet. Staff from that period of time often recalled going to networking events and having folks gather around to view this new and exciting thing called “the Internet”. Our founders were really trail blazers in realizing right away that the Internet was going to change everything for the way nonprofits would hire, fundraise and fulfill their mission work.

Over the past several years, we’ve expanded our brand to include two other online resources in our family of companies: TalentEgg and Bmeaningful. TalentEgg is Canada’s leading online job board and career resource for students, recent grads and early career professionals. Bmeaningful is a career site that helps connect purpose & paycheque by focusing on social impact, CSR, and social enterprise careers.

We are big, big proponents of volunteering! We offer free online volunteer postings to nonprofits across Canada. These can be short-term positions, like supporting a one-time event, skilled positions, such as providing HR or marketing support, or board of director and governance opportunities – we have such a wide range of volunteer opportunities posted on our site.

We have a partnership with LinkedIn where all of our skilled volunteer positions, including board of director opportunities, are cross posted on the LinkedIn platform to attract even more potential volunteers. For positions that are a good fit for students and early career professionals, organizations can also choose to cross post their volunteer opportunities with our sister company, TalentEgg.

We also have resources available for volunteers, such as webinars on how volunteering can enhance your job search and how to do well as a skilled volunteer. For managers of volunteers at nonprofits and charities, we also have articles, webinars and an online course that cover trends, best practices and how-to information. We work very closely with organizations such as Volunteer Canada and regional and local volunteer centres on these initiatives.

There are so many benefits to volunteering. One thing we highlight all the time is that volunteering is a powerful tool for people job searching or who are looking to break into the nonprofit sector. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to learn new skills, put your existing skills into practice and network. We always advocate including volunteer experience on a resume and highlighting it on your online profiles. Nonprofit employers especially see volunteer experience as an asset. It’s also a great way to gather some references if you don’t have a lot of work experience.

Additionally, of course, is the somewhat intangible benefit and feel-good factor of giving back! One of the most popular articles we’ve ever shared on social media was one about the mental health benefits of volunteering. Our audience really responded positively to this with many people commenting that the article rang particularly true for them. I completely agree from my own experience – I volunteer as a friendly visitor at a local senior’s care home and I often tell people I feel selfish calling it volunteering, since I get so much out of it myself!

Volunteer Canada has done a lot of great work around why the numbers of volunteers in Canada are falling. Of course, much comes down to people’s time – we have a large “sandwich” generation who are finding their time is squeezed by balancing caregiving of children and elders with a demanding career. Younger generations are busy building careers, making ends meet and raising families. Additionally, many people are engaging in more informal volunteering, such as assisting elderly family members or looking out for neighbours. Volunteer Canada presented a great webinar for us on this very topic.

One great story that comes to mind about the tangible benefits of volunteering was written by a student for the Career Wise blog. The author wrote about how volunteering helped her career development, and this is something we hear from young people all the time. It was really representative of what we also hear from our community of job seekers, that volunteering has been key to helping them through all stages of their careers.

Anyone who visits our website can search for jobs or for volunteer opportunities across Canada. Everything is searchable by geographic region, and we have many opportunities that can be done remotely as well. Of course, we also encourage organizations to get their volunteer positions posted on our site as well, since it is free to do so and, with cross posting available on LinkedIn and TalentEgg, can really reach a wide audience.

This article will be published in the January 2020 issue of The Big Edition, a Kamloops local street paper that aims to improve the lives of our street entrenched and low income community members.

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