Survey Says! What we learned about Volunteering during a Pandemic

  • February 11, 2021

    Posted by: Dawn Bourbonnais

    The pandemic has been a disruptive force in all aspects of our lives, including volunteering. At the start of the pandemic we saw a decrease in volunteerism as many organizations closed, postponed or canceled their activities, and many volunteers stayed home because of their age and/or health vulnerability. One of the biggest challenges that organizations faced during the pandemic was that the most dedicated volunteers are also those among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

    As we approach the anniversary of the start of the pandemic, talk is shifting towards what comes next and organizations are starting to plan for the re-opening of their programs and services. Part of that planning includes welcoming back our volunteers and making sure we create a safe environment for them.

    To help organizations understand the needs and concerns of volunteers across the province, Volunteer Manitoba launched the Volunteering Now! Volunteerism in Manitoba during a Pandemic survey. The survey went out during the fall of 2020 to 280 volunteer programs in Manitoba and close to 700 volunteers responded.

    What did we learn? That people are still volunteering in communities across Manitoba, and are doing so safely and with best practices in place. We also learned that for most volunteers who stopped volunteering in-person, their comfort level increases with social distancing practices in place and access to the appropriate PPE.

    Some other highlights from the survey include:

    - the majority of respondents indicated that they are still finding ways to volunteer their time, whether it's in-person or volunteering virtually for an organization

    - most respondents are comfortable volunteering in-person, once the restrictions ease and organizations open back up

    - many volunteers indicated they would be comfortable returning to their volunteer work once a proven treatment has been identified (note; the vaccine was rolled out after this survey closed)

    - everyone indicated that having safety measures in place (physical distancing, hand washing, and access to PPE) would make them feel safe when they return to their volunteer work

    Download the full infographic here!

    As the pandemic continues to affect all aspects of our lives, our work in supporting volunteers in our organizations also continues to evolve and shift. Volunteer Manitoba is committed to working with all of our partners in the non-profit and voluntary sectors to ensure that volunteers are welcomed back, safely, and we can get back to the business of building strong communities across the province.


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