Part 6 - Volunteers and Board of Directors


Talk to key people in your organization, your existing volunteers as well as with other key stakeholders, or other organizations with similar challenges about diversity. Gather their impressions about how you are doing in regard to diversity. For example, do they think your volunteers reflect the community around you, or are representative of wider society?  Do your own analysis of the gaps as to who may be under-represented in your volunteer group.

Your current volunteers, staff and other stakeholders will have ideas that can help with new recruitment. Organizations that deal specifically with volunteers or with particular groups can give you a good perspective. Do you change the places where you advertise? What kind of language do you use in your recruitment? Is it simple and welcoming?

If you don’t have a volunteer manager, consider assigning someone on staff who has shown an interest in this and would like to take this on.

Determine what you can realistically handle over the next year.  Write it down, keep it SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound – according to your resources (people, time and money). In a very small organization, typical for the arts and culture sector, one to three small but meaningful changes may be as much as can be done in the first year.

Remember, this is a long-term process. Reasonable targets and clear measurements will give you clarity about what you have achieved and what you still have to do.


Dig Deeper

WorkInCulture eLearning – These two free eLearning modules will introduce you to an effective planning tool for establishing change initiatives around inclusion and diversity in your organization.

Hot Docs Guidelines for Volunteer Management – the Canadian International Documentary Festival offers an extensive and detailed manual which take you through the whole Volunteer Cycle, with tips, templates and resources. It is dedicated to the arts and culture sector.

Volunteer Toronto – Although a Toronto-based organization that connects volunteers and charities, Volunteer Toronto has a helpful set of services, free resource booklets as well as online and in-person training.

Volunteer Yukon – offers an action planning guide for small and rural non-profits on volunteer management.

The Canadian Journal of Volunteer Resources Management – This journal has thoughtful pieces about the challenges and opportunities posed by diversity and inclusion in volunteer management.

Diversity in Volunteering – a clearly written tip sheet on broadening diversity and inclusive practices for volunteer programs from VolunteerNow, a Northern Ireland organization supporting the volunteer sector.