Building an inclusive environment where diverse volunteers can feel welcome and able to utilize their skills is essential for all non-profits. However, persons with disabilities are often underrepresented in volunteer activities. Many people with disabilities experience physical and attitudinal barriers in their daily activities. These same barriers may result in skilled and enthusiastic volunteers with disabilities choosing not to volunteer.
It is important that we remove barriers to participation in all aspects of society, especially in emotionally rewarding activities such as volunteering. Volunteering opportunities are particularly important for people with disabilities and other populations that experience barriers because they can alleviate social exclusion. Volunteering also allows individuals who may require assistance or supports for some of their daily activities to be in a position of helping others and develop a greater sense of self-efficacy.
Making your organization inclusive may require changes in recruitment, training, task development, volunteer support, environment, policies and procedures. Many of these changes are inexpensive to implement and there are a variety of resources already developed to help your organization.
Making Volunteer Opportunities Inclusive: This fact sheet will help you understand how your organization can recruit and retain volunteers who have disabilities. [pdf]
Removing Barriers to Inclusion: This fact sheet will help you better understand what your organization can do to make sure it provides and promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment. [pdf]
Technology to Support People with Disabilities: This fact sheet will provide suggestions for areas where your organization can use ICT as a way to provide more inclusive volunteering opportunities and promote engagement in meaningful activities. [pdf]
Supporting Volunteerism by People with Disabilities Guidebook (PDF)