Glossary:

(1) | A (9) | B (5) | C (10) | D (11) | E (4) | F (5) | G (5) | J (2) | K (1) | L (3) | M (4) | N (2) | O (1) | P (6) | Q (2) | R (4) | S (76) | T (2) | U (2) | W (1)
  • Standard E6 Explained

    Why is it essential for volunteers to be provided with appropriate orientation and training? In order to be effective in their roles, new volunteers or volunteers who are taking on new responsibilities must receive adequate orientation and training. Orientation familiarizes volunteers with your organization’s policies and procedures and will help them to act in alignment with your organization’s values and practices.1 In this respect, orientation is an important component of volunteer screening, especially when volunteers are new to their positions.2 Training helps ensure that volunteers are able to perform their roles effectively and minimizes potential risks posed to themselves and others.1

    How can my organization effectively train its volunteers? Linda Graff suggests that in developing training opportunities for volunteers, nonprofit and charitable organizations:3

    • Consider the learning needs of their volunteers, keeping in mind current knowledge levels about the topic as well as learning styles and levels of engagement
    • Involve the volunteers themselves in the development of training opportunities to ensure that the training meets their needs
    • Create clear and attainable learning objectives so that everyone is clear on the purpose of the training and has realistic expectations for learning
    • Incorporate opportunities to apply the learning, recognizing that adult learning is facilitated by applying new concepts

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
    2. Best Practice Guidelines for Screening Volunteers,” Public Safety Canada, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2008; “Safe Steps: A Volunteer Screening Process,” Volunteer Canada, 2001.
    3. “Designing and Structuring Volunteer Training,” Linda Graff, November 2009.
  • Standard E7 Explained

    Why is it important for volunteers to be given regular opportunities to offer and receive feedback? Feedback is a “direct response, positive or negative, to an activity performed in the interest of the organization.”1 Providing feedback to volunteers is most effective if it is immediate, ongoing, and if it comes from the volunteer’s most direct staff contact in the organization.1 Providing feedback to volunteers is an integral part of volunteer recognition, and can be an important strategy for helping volunteers to achieve their goals, especially if volunteers are seeking to build skills to enhance their employment opportunities.1

    It is also essential to provide frequent opportunities for volunteers to share their experiences in their roles with other members of your organization. Collecting feedback from volunteers related to their assignments as well as to broader organizational issues can help you improve your volunteer program as well as other aspects of your organization’s operations.2

    Why is it important for volunteers to receive supervision appropriate to their role? Supervision helps ensure that volunteers are accomplishing their roles in an appropriate and professional manner.1 Supervision arrangements should be determined according to the level of complexity and risk associated with a role.3 Effective supervision can improve the motivation and sense of belonging of your organization’s volunteers.3 It also increases the likelihood that they will perform their roles well and contribute to achieving your organization’s mission.3

    In addition, supervision of volunteers builds relationships, supports them in their assignments, and creates a steady flow of communication between volunteers and supervisors.2 If supervision uncovers a poor fit between a volunteer and a volunteer assignment, this provides an opportunity to adjust the job description or reassign the volunteer to a different role.2

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. A Matter of Design: Job Design Theory and Application to the Voluntary Sector,” Volunteer Canada, 2001.
    2. “Best Practice 8: Providing Supervision,” in Best Practices in Volunteer Management: An Action Planning Guide for Small and Rural Nonprofits, Jennifer Ellis, Volunteer Canada, 2005.
    3. “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
  • Standard E8 Explained

    Why is it important to acknowledge the contributions of volunteers? Recognizing the efforts of volunteers is one of the most important ways for your organization to retain current volunteers and attract new ones.1 Recognition demonstrates your organization’s gratitude for the work of its volunteers, helping volunteers to feel that they are an integral part of your organization and that their contributions are valued.2 In turn, this increases volunteer morale and productivity.2 Recognition should occur formally and informally, internally and publicly, and should be meaningful to the individual volunteer.3

    How can your organization effectively recognize the contributions of its volunteers? Volunteer Canada suggests that organizations implement the following best practices in volunteer recognition:1

    • Prioritize volunteer recognition – make volunteer recognition an official part of someone’s role in your organization
    • Recognize volunteers often – say thank-you frequently and ensure that the contributions of volunteers are acknowledged consistently
    • Recognize volunteers in a variety of ways – recognition should be both formal and informal, ranging from informal thank-you’s and treats to formal awards presentations, dinners, guest speakers, and sharing organizational milestones including how volunteers have contributed to achieving organizational goals
    • When recognizing volunteers, be sincere – meaningfully reflect on and acknowledge the contributions of volunteers to your organization
    • Focus on the individual, not the end result of their work – phrase recognition to emphasize the individual’s contribution, for instance “you did a great job” as opposed to “this is great work”
    • The form of recognition should be appropriate to the volunteer’s contribution – an informal thank-you might be appropriate for a month of service, whereas 10 years of service might be honoured with a dinner or plaque
    • Be consistent – establish standards for volunteer recognition and understand that the ways in which volunteers are recognized establishes expectations in other volunteers 
    • Be timely – recognize volunteers when they have made a significant achievement. Delaying acknowledgement can diminish its meaningfulness
    • Be unique – get to know your volunteers in order to understand what kinds of recognition would be most meaningful for them as individuals

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Best Practices in Volunteer Recognition,” Volunteer Canada.
    2. “Volunteer Recognition: Matching Motivation to Rewards,” Cheryl Humphrey-Pratt, RCVO @ Volunteer Alberta, 2006.
    3. “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
  • Standard E9 Explained

    Why is it important to evaluate the impact and contributions of your organization’s volunteers and volunteer program? Evaluating your organization’s volunteer program allows you to measure the impact of volunteers within your organization and to determine whether you are meeting the program’s goals.1 It also helps you to track the quality of volunteers’ experiences and to uncover aspects of your volunteer program that may need improvement.1 Evaluating your volunteer program provides for informed decision making and facilitates the growth and development of your program.1

    Evaluations of volunteer programs should review the program’s goals and objectives, collect feedback from volunteers and clients, and use qualitative and quantitative data to review the impact of volunteer involvement in your organization.2

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. 62 “Evaluating Your Volunteer Programme,” Volunteering Good Practice Guide, Volunteer Center, Brighton and Hove, 2009.
    2. 65 “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
  • Stephen Faul

    Vice-President, Strategic Communications & Business Development, Imagine Canada

    Stephen FaulPrior to Imagine Canada, Stephen served as the Executive Director of Second Harvest, an organization which collects fresh, perishable food and distributes it to more than 200 social services agencies throughout Toronto. He also worked in management capacities with Operation Eyesight; Scarborough Community Care Access Centre; Schizophrenia Society of Canada, and a number of other nonprofit organizations.

    Stephen holds a certificate in marketing for nonprofit organizations from Carlton University and a diploma from Centennial College in radio and television journalism.

  • Subordinate activities

    Activities are subordinate if they that are subservient to a charity's charitable purpose or are a minor focus of the charity in relation to its entire program of activities.

  • Substantially all

    The Canada Revenue Agency generally considers “substantially all” to mean 90% or more.

  • Tax shelter

    Generally, a tax shelter is any arrangement where the tax benefits equal or exceed the net cost of entering into the arrangement.

  • The purchase of goods or services from a charity

    The purchase of goods or services from a charity is a commercial transaction, not a gift, and is therefore not eligible for a tax receipt. In certain circumstances, however (for example, when the purchaser pays more than the fair market value of the goods or services with the intention that the overpayment be donated to the charity), a receipt can be issued for that part of the payment that represents a donation (see Split Receipting)

    Example 1: A person buys a book worth $30 from a charity and pays the charity $30 for it. This is a commercial transaction, not a gift. Therefore no receipt can be issued.

    Example 2: A person buys a book worth $30 from a charity but gives the charity a cheque for $50. Part of the payment ($30) represents an advantage to the donor (that is, the book), and the rest ($20) represents a donation. Therefore a receipt can be issued for $20 – the difference between the cash received by the charity and the advantage obtained by the person (see Split Receipting for limitations on issuing receipts in such cases).

  • Use of property

    When a donor gives the use of property (for example, provides the use of one's cottage or car) to a charity, this is not a transfer of property and is therefore not a gift. No tax receipt may be issued.

    When a charity gives the use of property in return for a gift, however (for example, use of a charity's boardroom in return for a cash donation), this is an advantage. Assuming this advantage can be valued, the split receipting rules apply. If the advantage cannot be valued, then no receipt can be issued for the gift.

    Example 1: Use of property as a donation
    An individual wants to donate a week at his cottage as a silent auction gift. Since there is no transfer of property, no tax receipt may be issued. However, the charity could "rent" the use of the cottage for a week at its fair market value. The individual could then make a cash donation to the charity equal to the amount of the rent payment and receive a tax receipt in return. (In doing this, the individual may have to include the amount of rent as income, deduct appropriate expenses, and then claim the donation in the usual fashion when filing his or her tax return.)

    Example 2: Use of property as an advantage to the donor
    A business makes a $1,000 cash donation to a charity. In return, the charity wants to give the business use of its meeting room for a business meeting. If the fair market value of the use of the meeting room was $200, then the charity can issue a tax receipt for $800. As well, the business can likely treat the $200 paid for renting a meeting room as a deductible business expense.

  • Use of vacation property

    The use of a property is not the same as the transfer of a property. However, if the charity pays for the use of the property and the owner of the property donates that money back to the charity, the charity can issue a tax receipt for the donation (known as a cheque swap).

    Example 1: Jane and Paul Proudfoot have a cottage in the Gatineau Hills. They donate a week at the cottage to a silent auction run by their favourite charity. Because the donation of use of the cottage is not a transfer of property, a tax receipt cannot be issued. However, if the charity paid for a week at the cottage and the Proudfoot's donated the payment back to the charity, a charitable tax receipt could be issued. Of course, the Proudfoot's would have to declare this as income, and so there may not be any net benefit to them.

  • William Harper

    Director of Finance, Imagine Canada

    William HarperBill has 30 years’ experience leading, managing and advising, primarily in the nonprofit sector. His broad strategic and operational experience includes extensive accounting and government regulatory activity. A Chartered Accountant and former CFO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, Bill was the primary project director and author of Imagine Canada’s Charity Tax Tools, a leading introductory resource for Canada’s charitable sector.

Pages