New prov­ince-wide database matches vol­un­teers with op­por­tu­ni­ties

The Victoria Standard - - Community - CAROLYN BAR­BER

A free, cen­tral­ized web­site is now avail­able to help match Nova Sco­tian non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions with like-minded vol­un­teers.

Vol­un­teerns.ca is hosted by the Kings Vol­un­teer Re­source Cen­tre (KVRC) at Dal­housie Univer­sity. The Dept. of Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage pro­vided $30,000 in fund­ing. Project part­ner Vol­un­teers Canada pro­vide ex­per­tise. So far, up­take has been strong. “I am very proud to let you know that so far we are up to 1,400 ab­so­lute unique users of the site, 17,000 page views,” said KVRC Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Out­reach Of­fi­cer Jim Dorey. “We’ve also had very suc­cess­ful op­por­tu­nity post­ings, such as one in the health­care field that has had 187 views and 9 ap­pli­cants. All of this be­fore a for­mal launch!”

Site users can cre­ate a pro­file to save their searches and re­ceive alerts based on pro­file pref­er­ences - in­ter­ests, lo­ca­tion, or­ga­ni­za­tions they wish to track, and time­frame avail­abil­ity. Site vis­i­tors may also browse and search or­ga­ni­za­tions anony­mously.

Web­site us­abil­ity is a top pri­or­ity for project’s part­ners.

"We're tak­ing a lot of time to do it right. We’re us­ing tech­nol­ogy called Vol­un­teer At­tract that's been im­ple­mented across Canada. That’s the database back­end and our web­site sits on top of that."

The site is also sup­ported by a “part­ner­ship ta­ble”, a group that meets reg­u­larly to dis­cuss the site and push it for­ward. Mem­bers in­clude Dept. of Com­mu­nity, Cul­ture and Her­itage, the Com­mu­nity Sec­tor Coun­cil, County of Kings, IWK, NS 211, En­gage Nova Sco­tia and Hal­i­fax Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Dorey says there are ap­prox­i­mately 400,000 Nova Sco­tians vol­un­teer­ing, pre­dom­i­nantly youth and se­niors. Youth are drawn to ca­reer-re­lated op­por­tu­ni­ties. Se­niors vol­un­teer to give back to their com­mu­ni­ties or as ex­pres­sion of civic pride.

Peo­ple with­out com­put­ers or ac­cess to the In­ter­net can call Nova Sco­tia 211 to con­nect with op­por­tu­ni­ties. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be trained on the site to an­swer ques­tions and trou­bleshoot is­sues.

A screen­shot of the new Vol­un­teerns.ca web­site where vol­un­teers and or­ga­ni­za­tions can find one an­other.

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