THE PEOPLE AND INFORMATION NETWORK
Inspired by the United Nations International Year of the Volunteer in 2001, PIN – The People and Information Network (formerly the Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington) began as a resource for nonprofits and charities and a central hub for volunteerism twenty years ago this month.
“PIN connects people, ideas and information together” says Kim Cusimano, executive director, “and we do this through three pillars of work.” Those pillars include a robust Community Information portal hosting information records on essential human services, a pillar of Nonprofit Leadership where PIN leads training, consultation and facilitates communities of practice for executive directors and leaders of volunteers, along with a Volunteer Network pillar: a database of volunteer opportunities in Guelph and Wellington County, outreach to share these volunteer opportunities, recognition and best practices in leading volunteers.
“On behalf of the PIN, we say thank you to all who have contributed to the organization over the last two decades; from volunteer ambassadors, reception, committee and board members to team members including placement students and Canada Summer Jobs, to our members, partners, collaborators, champions and supporters, PIN is truly grateful and looks forward to the future.” says Kim.
To celebrate this milestone, PIN welcomes our community to #DoGiveShareGW. “This is a call to action for our community,” say Cusimano, “pledge to do 20 things for good, give $20 for good, share 20 hours for good. The collective impact would blanket our community in the warmth of human kindness and support local nonprofits and charities.”
“As we all look to the future and move past the last 14 months, we can take action by making a choice on the kind of community you want to live, work and play in.” Kim continues “The community benefit sector is a vital component of recovery. One does not have to look far to see how this sector has impact on our lives. From your child’s volunteer sports coach to your teens mentor; your mom’s volunteer driver for chemotherapy, your grandfather’s meal delivery and so much more, this sector has impact on our lives and the lives of our entire community from food security, homelessness to climate action and other Sustainable Development Goals.”
In a recent volunteer survey led by PIN, 93 per cent of respondents indicated that they would return to volunteering in some way with safety measures in place. “This is key information. This indicates that pre-COVID, volunteers felt connected to the cause and the importance of contributing” notes Kim. “As the sector continues to evolve and adapt, volunteer roles may continue to be altered or transitioned to meet the increasing needs. Volunteer efforts are key to recovery.”
Recent data from Imagine Canada indicates that 60 per cent of charities are reporting a decline in volunteer numbers and 58 per cent report a reduction in volunteer hours. “The decline in volunteer numbers aligns with results of our Community Benefit Sector survey in the Fall of 2020 where 62 per cent of respondents indicated a decline” says Kim, “the need for volunteer support continues however there are competing demands of both family and work commitments. Less time but possibly even less capacity of energy given how individuals are stretched in so many ways over the last year, but we know volunteering is reciprocal.”
Through the PIN survey, volunteers shared what volunteering means to them:
- “It brings meaning to my life because I feel like I'm still contributing to society.”
- “It is a family tradition. Both our parents volunteered most of their lives and all 5 of their children have continued the tradition.”
- Sense of fulfillment contribution to the community contact with other people”
“Volunteerism builds community” says Kim Cusimano, executive director, “with increasing social isolation as a result of the pandemic, we can take action for our community and ourselves by volunteering.”
PIN embraces the future and seeks to assist our community to #DoGiveShareGW through their Volunteer Network, access information via Community Information and build capacity for the sector through the Nonprofit Leadership pillar of work.
Answer the call to ‘Do. Give. Share.’ Connect with PIN to learn how you can get involved. Learn more at PINnetwork.ca