Non-Profit & Private Sector Leaders Unveil Landmark Campaign to Transform Volunteerism in Canada

Unique Digital Tools Match Volunteers with Meaningful Opportunities

A national campaign aimed at enriching volunteer experiences for Canadians and strengthening the country’s volunteer sector was launched today by Volunteer Canada, the voice of volunteerism in Canada, and Manulife Financial, whose signature cause is to encourage volunteerism nationwide.

The multi-faceted, two-year campaign features an interactive website www.Getvolunteering.ca that offers volunteer tools for the public and non-profit organizations, along with creative examples of how Canadians show their volunteer spirit.

Today also marks the launch of Canada’s first Matching Tool, a platform provided by Manulife Financial to engage Canadians in finding volunteer opportunities and organizations in finding great volunteers. Manulife and Volunteer Canada invite Canadians to join in the effort to populate the matching tool so that it becomes Canada’s best volunteer resource.

Organizations seeking volunteers can also leverage the Matching Tool by posting volunteer opportunities on a national social network platform, now accessible to Canadians as an integrated feature on www.Getinvolved.ca . A key partner of Volunteer Canada, Getinvolved.ca is ‘Canada’s social network with a social conscience’ and the Manulife Matching Tool is the centerpiece of this newly enhanced site that connects like-minded individuals and organizations to make change possible.

“Volunteering is fundamental to a healthy, democratic society so it is essential for the future of the sector that volunteers are more meaningfully engaged in Canada,” said Ruth MacKenzie, President & CEO of Volunteer Canada. “Organizations who seek volunteers need to recognize that every action counts and that people should be able to contribute in ways that work for them – this extraordinary Matching Tool is just one of the resources Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial will jointly unveil in 2011 to help us do just that.”

Also in collaboration with Volunteer Canada, Manulife will sponsor the ‘Get Volunteering’ Facebook page to honour 2011 as the 10th anniversary of the United Nation’s International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10). Along with engaging Canadians in an ongoing conversation about volunteering, the page will feature an application t o integrate the volunteer Matching Tool in the Facebook environment.

To further engage visitors, the app will invite Canadians to build their volunteer ‘good-ometer’ and earn points that result in a $25 donation to one of six charities. Manulife will sponsor donations up to a maximum of $10,000 to demonstrate the company’s commitment to do its part, just as much as it is encouraging Canadians to do their part.

“To honour this special milestone of IYV+10, Manulife is excited to join with Volunteer Canada to sponsor a range of initiatives that will help Canadians more easily and positively build a better future in their communities,” said Nicole Boivin, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications, Manulife Canada. “It’s all a part of helping volunteers build a better future for Canada, one hour at a time.”

“Volunteerism has always been part of who we are as a company,” said Boivin. “The driving force of Manulife’s commitment will be, and always has been, our employees and our advisors and their long tradition of giving back.” Last year alone, Manulife employee employees donated more than 20,000 volunteer hours across Canada.

The campaign was conceived in response to the results of a landmark study, titled Bridging the Gap www.volunteer.ca/study, commissioned by Manulife Financial, on the changing culture of Canada’s voluntary sector. The study was conducted in late 2010 on behalf of Volunteer Canada in collaboration with the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research & Development.

Aimed at increasing knowledge around volunteerism and building capacity to more effectively leverage volunteers’ skills and abilities, the study revealed there are significant gaps across the country between the opportunities organizations provide and the meaningful experiences sought by today’s volunteers.

“More than ever before, volunteers are playing a pivotal role in Canadian society alongside public and private institutions,” said Dorothy Engelman, President of qmedia solutions, founders of Get involved.ca. “Collaborative partnerships like the one we have with Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial are essential to the success and ongoing evolution of the volunteer sector .”

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