Your Connection to Canada’s Volunteering Community

Volunteer Canada in partnership with Investors Group releases new volunteer recognition and motivation study

Nov 05, 2013

For immediate release: November 5th, 2013

How do Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers want to be recognized?

How are Canada’s non-profits recognizing volunteers for their efforts?

Volunteer Canada in partnership with Investors Group examines volunteer recognition and motivation in new study. Research highlights promising shifts in Canada’s evolving volunteer landscape that could strengthen volunteer retention.

OTTAWA ON- Canadian volunteers shed light on perceived barriers to volunteer recognition in a 2013 research study.  The research conducted by Volunteer Canada in partnership with Investors Group explored best practices in volunteer recognition and the key drivers that lead to volunteer retention. Released on International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD), this study included two national surveys for volunteers and organizations. It highlights effective practices in volunteer recognition for managers of volunteers and for organizations that engage volunteers.

Over 80% of organizations surveyed indicated that the most common barrier to volunteer recognition is that they do not have enough money in the budget to do what they want to do. Interestingly, volunteers showed a strong preference to be recognized through methods that have little to no impact on an organizations budget. 80% of volunteers said that the top way they would like to be recognized is by hearing about how they have made a difference. They want to know the impact of their contributions. 

“I volunteer to improve life in my community for all, seniors and children alike. Personal thanks from those I help is all the recognition I require,” said one respondent to the volunteer survey.

Volunteers and organizations both stressed the need to expand the concept of volunteer recognition. They would like to move away from yearly banquet type events, and towards a year-round approach that acknowledges volunteers for their individual contributions. Currently, the most common way organizations recognize volunteers is by thanking them in person on an ongoing, informal basis. This is great news considering that 70% of volunteers surveyed would like to be recognized this way. 

“This important new research will assist non-profit organizations to improve volunteer retention. The findings will provide them with a greater understanding of how volunteers want to be recognized, so that their volunteer programs - which are essential for building healthy communities - can become even better. Volunteer recognition has been a top priority for Investors Group for over a decade. We are pleased to partner with Volunteer Canada for National Volunteer Week and to provide this valuable resource to help strengthen volunteerism in Canada.” Trevor Krahn, Associate Manager of Community Affairs, Investors Group.

This new research will be followed up with the development of tools and resources around volunteer recognition. The tools and resources will equip organizations with effective practices to recognize volunteers year round, and during National Volunteer Week which takes place on April 6-13th, 2014.

About Volunteer Canada and Investors Group:

At Volunteer Canada ( we encourage all Canadians to get involved in their communities and we work with all types of organizations to engage today’s volunteers. Our expertise is backed by original research, practical knowledge, and our unique network of insight, which includes a broad range of organizations, from individuals to local volunteer centres to national corporations with thousands of staff.

Investors Group, founded in 1926, is a national leader in delivering personalized financial solutions to Canadians through a network of approximately 4,500 Consultants located throughout Canada. In addition to an exclusive family of mutual funds and other investment vehicles, Investors Group offers a wide range of insurance, securities, mortgage and other financial services. Investors Group is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada’s premier financial services companies with over $123 billion in total assets under management as of January 31, 2013.

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For more information please contact:

Lainie Towell, Communications and Marketing Manager
613-231-4371 x227