Consulting and Program Development


Consulting and Program Development Services

Volunteers sew pillows for patients

Volunteer Canada provides strategic counsel and program development to help you build and anchor an effective corporate community engagement program.

We customize programs to fit every client’s capacity and community engagement goals with actionable insights and strategies based in knowledge of global trends and innovations.

From strategy development to stakeholder consultation, partnership brokering to execution of volunteering projects nationwide, Volunteer Canada has supported the development of successful community investment programs from coast to coast.

As a national bilingual organization, Volunteer Canada provides services in both official languages. We are equally equipped for program activation in francophone communities.

Recent clients include:

Examples of recent consulting and program development assignments:

  • Creating and managing corporate volunteering projects coast-to-coast – We facilitate 30-40 group volunteering opportunities annually for corporate clients, engaging community organizations and providing turn-key onsite management. 
  • Research and recommendations - Benchmarking practices of other companies and making client-specific recommendations against these practices.
  • Stakeholder engagement – Focus groups, surveys, interviews
    and recommendations
  • Program review and recommendations – Against current challenges and future goals.
  • Policy and program frameworks
  • Tool creation for volunteers e.g. manuals, checklists
  • Participation in company strategy development meetings

Case Studies

American Express Canada

The challenge: Develop and manage a year-round employee engagement program to support Amex Canada’s goal to positively impact social and environmental conditions in the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary, and Montreal.  The intended outcome was to increase the capacity of charitable organizations to serve their clients.

The solution: In coordination with Amex Canada’s Public Affairs department, Volunteer Canada developed the framework and activities of the Canada-wide “Serve2Gether” program and provided year-round management. This included: the creation of a Serve2Gether Volunteer Ambassador Committee, supporting the volunteer ambassadors to lead recruitment activities, scoping and validating a list of approved charities, liaising with charitable organizations to design volunteering opportunities, logistical coordination, management during events and activities, and ongoing program impact evaluation through gathering feedback from charities and employees.  

The results: Over 2.5 years, Volunteer Canada organized 48 projects, mostly structured as small team opportunities, creating 1,187 volunteering opportunities for Amex Canada employees in three cities. Volunteers supported charities working to improve accessibility issues, animal welfare, the environment, food security, affordable housing and women’s support services. Popular activities included completing StopGap ramps that provide accessibility into street-level businesses and packaging thousands of fresh produce items at FoodShare for delivery to schools for their breakfast programs. Activities usually involved facilitated discussion and reflection to advance employee understanding of community issues.
The program enjoys consistently high participation numbers and employee survey results:Volunteers learn about StopGap Foundation and accessibility

  • “Would you recommend Serve2gether events to a colleague”
    9.8/10 (weighted avg)
  • “Participation in this Serve2Gether activity increased my pride in working for American Express Canada” 9.4/10 (weighted avg)

"Volunteer Canada goes beyond being a partner and truly feels like an extension of our small but nimble team. They fully understood our goals for colleague engagement and managed our program from end-to-end in a way that surpassed expectations. I consider them an extremely effective partner in helping us navigate the ever-changing and complex corporate citizenship space and look forward to being able to work with them more in the future." - Jessica Myers, Senior Manager, Public Affairs & Communications (February 2021)

Coast Capital Savings

The challenge: Coast Capital was looking to evolve their employer-supported volunteer program in order to increase employee participation and contribute to overall employee engagement and job satisfaction.

The solution: Volunteer Canada was engaged in the Fall of 2016 to work collaboratively with Coast Capital to address the challenge by: reviewing Coast Capital’s current Employer Supported Volunteer (ESV) program through a document review, conducting an employee survey and employee focus groups; sharing an overview of industry standards, trends and best practices; recommending improved practices based on the findings and the culture at Coast Capital Savings. 

The results: In 2018, Coast Capital launched their revised employee volunteer program. The program provides all Coast Capital employees with $10 per hour of volunteering to donate to the Canadian charity or non-profit of their choice, up to $1,000 a year, and encourages volunteering during work hours with a paid time off component as well as dedicated support for team volunteering.  The program is supported through a volunteer platform that is run by Benevity, which was also launched in 2018 as part of the program refresh.  In late 2018 Coast Capital Savings re-engaged Volunteer Canada to support in the development of a skills-based international volunteer program and became members of the Corporate Community Engagement Council. 

In 2019, Coast Capital’s 1,900 employees volunteered 14,950 hours in their local communities and donated over $107,000 to Canadian charities and non-profits.  In 2020, the Help Heroes Employee Volunteer Program was awarded the Social Responsibility Award by the Canadian Credit Union Association at its annual National Credit Union Awards.  

"Volunteer Canada’s research and insights on volunteering best practices played an important role in our volunteer program refresh in 2016 and helped us to build a program that is responsive to our employees’ needs and the needs of our community partners. Volunteer Canada’s diverse partner base and relationships with non-profits and volunteer centres were invaluable to us as we took on this work and helped us to build a strong and successful new program." - Rachel Dick, Senior Manager, Social Purpose Business Innovation (January 2021)

SAP Canada

The challenge: Continue to engage and inspire Canadian employees in the Greater Toronto Area to volunteer during the 2020 pandemic through the company’s annual, global October Month of Service (MoS). 

The solution: Volunteer Canada has managed SAP Canada’s MoS for over ten years. Traditionally employees engaged in large group, hand-on activities completed in 4-8 hours. Due to the limitations on gathering during COVID-19, we proposed and implemented a mix of virtual and small, distanced group activities; activities that were done in a day and those completed over several weeks; hands on and skills-based activities. As well, SAP employees coast-to-coast could participate in a webinar to learn about the state of Canada’s charitable sector. 

The results: The expanded options for participation attracted 86 SAP Canada employees. Some of the impacts included: 27 YWCA Toronto clients benefited from interview prep; 1000 clients of Meals on Wheels London received letters of support from SAP employees delivered with their meals; visitors to the Centre for Additional and Mental Health (CAMH) were able to enjoy beautified flower beds and walking paths; two Ontario charities received written case studies reflecting their challenges and adaptations during COVID-19 which they can use in strategic planning.

"We are so grateful for the flexibility and eagerness to adapt our long standing program, Month of Service. Through our partnership wtih Volunteer Canada we were able to continue to volunteer with long time organizations, but also share important updates about the sector- tapping into Volunteer Canada’s unique expertise- with our most engaged employees. We plan to continue with this combination of engaging employees in volunteering as well as learning opportunities to make them better global citizens." - Katie Booth, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, SAP North America (April 2021)

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Canada 

The challenge: Vertex’s challenge was to support Toronto employees’ contributions of time and expertise to non-profit organizations during the company-wide Global Day of Service.

The solution: Volunteer Canada worked with Vertex’s Canadian lead to scope a project that met Vertex’s desired impact area and reached out to our extensive network to find a local charitable partner in need of volunteers during the pandemic. Volunteer Canada helped the charitable partner adapt their opportunity to a virtual format and guided the execution as it was the first virtual volunteering opportunity for both parties.

The results: Compelled by the nature of the volunteer activity and how it would help the social service charity’s clients, the number of employees who signed up was nearly double the estimate. 26 Vertex employee volunteers built the confidence and skills of 22 clients of the charity through mock interviews. Clients reported feeling more prepared for job interviews, due to the support of Vertex’s employees. As a result, the charity has offered this opportunity to other companies in the Toronto area.

"We have partnered with Volunteer Canada for the past 2 years and they have provided exceptional service. With their expertise and attention-to-detail they helped us find volunteer events where we could impact our community. They ensured our volunteer events went smoothly and were a success by supporting us before and on the day of the event. I’m looking forward to working with Volunteer Canada in the future."- Crystal Serrao, Office Manager & Sr. Administrative Assistant (March 2021)Volunteers paint murals


Connect with us to learn more

Call us to discuss your company or organization’s community involvement ideas.

For more information on Volunteer Canada’s services, contact Renata Rusiniak, Director of Corporate Citizenship at rrusiniak [at] volunteer [dot] ca.