Standard E3 Explained

Why is it important for volunteer assignments to relate to the mission of your organization? Nonprofit and charitable organizations depend on volunteers to achieve their missions.1 In order to ensure that volunteers contribute to accomplishing your organization’s goals, your volunteer involvement strategy should align with your organization’s strategic direction and its plan for disbursing its resources.1

Volunteers are most often drawn to your organization because they are passionate about its cause and feel that their contribution will help your organization to achieve its mission.2 Volunteers who understand how their work impacts the organization’s strategic goals are more likely to strive to accomplish their roles effectively.3

Why is it important for volunteer assignments to engage volunteers in meaningful ways that reflect their abilities, needs, and backgrounds? Volunteers are busy people. Employed Canadians and those with children living at home volunteer at higher rates than others, and younger Canadians (between 15 and 44) volunteer more than pre-retirees or seniors.4 Volunteer time is a valuable resource, and volunteers are unlikely to want to spend it in a position that is not engaging and rewarding.2 Often, volunteers are looking for a role that will help them to develop skills, to use their existing skills to contribute to a cause they care deeply about,5 or to increase their employment opportunities.3 They may also be looking for a meaningful way to spend their time that enriches the community, the organization, and themselves.5

Overall, today’s volunteers have higher expectations of their roles and less time to contribute than they have in the past.3 As such, aligning volunteer opportunities with an individual’s abilities, needs, and background will ensure that your volunteers are best able to contribute to your organization while at the same time satisfying their reasons for volunteering.


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, p. 13.
  2. Volunteer Role Design: The Key to Your Volunteer Program,” Cheryl Humphrey-Pratt, RCVO @ Volunteer Alberta, 2006, p. 1.
  3. A Matter of Design: Job Design Theory and Application to the Voluntary Sector,” Volunteer Canada, 2001, p. 4.
  4. Volunteering in Canada,” Mireille Vézina and Susan Crompton, Statistics Canada, April 16th 2012, p. 40.
  5. Volunteer Recruitment,” Cheryl Humphrey-Pratt, RCVO @ Volunteer Alberta, 2006, p. 2.


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