What makes a good community volunteer

Lately, we’ve been busy. I mean really busy. The pandemic has accelerated the need for community supports including volunteering, connecting and building.

We’ve worked with multiple non-profits over the past year to assist them with their COVID operational plans, to come up with ways to stay connected to their members, and to design solutions to keep their doors open. We also explored creative ways for giving and outreach when it wasn’t possible.

The other community building we did over the past year was to ask community supporters what their goals were. What were they trying to achieve, what did they really want to do. What existing organization already existed and were they duplicating or complimenting existing services. The reason for these questions is that truly Islanders are good people. They are kind, generous and caring. Never have we seen this as much as during the pandemic. Especially people with time and resources to give. They show up and reach out when other systems fall behind.

This week we worked with a growing initiative called Islanders supporting Islanders. A grassroots group of people who repair homes for people less fortunate. Who connect people to existing resources. And who put the call out there to fellow Islanders to see who can give. The response has been stunning. Islanders have signed up to help in any capacity they can. We are learning about those in need who might not otherwise have access or the ability to use government services. The need to connect is great. And it all started with a retiree going around fixing peoples steps.

This gentleman who started it all wants to remain anonymous and behind the scenes. How can we help him leverage social networks such as Facebook to build this movement of Islanders supporting Islanders?

BID Inc. spent a few hours with him listening to his story and his passion for doing good. We tweaked his Facebook page and created a group for Islanders to connect. We also created a couple of communications messages that he could use to automate the overwhelming response in his inbox and to thank all those who stepped forward. Finally, we recommended a couple of digital tools that would improve keeping track of all the requests for help and the volunteers able to help.

Our time was less than half a day. But our advice and guidance helped tremendously. It was the least we could do for an Islander making a difference and doing good right here on Prince Edward Island. After all, doing good work is what we do best.

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