Are you looking for ways to give back to the community? Are you concerned about social issues? The Edmonton Social Planning Council is seeking volunteers to help with its research and outreach endeavors. Our volunteer opportunities look a little different than many other service organizations in the community. As an organization we focus on social research, but do community work from time-to-time. We are dedicated to encouraging the adoption of equitable social policy and educating the public regarding the social issues that impact them on a daily basis. The ESPC will try to align your particular interests, availability, and skills with the various volunteering opportunities we offer.
The ESPC produces a monthly Research Update (see example) intended to provide agencies and organizations within Edmonton's non-profit sector with information, summaries, and reviews of new research and publications that are important to their work. This project involves providing assistance with preparing the Research Update. Tasks would include reviewing some of the new materials and publications in the ESPC Resource Library and choosing one or two items of interest with the guidance of the Resource Coordinator, and writing a clear, concise, and useful review of chosen materials to be published in the Research Update.
Skills required: research, writing, analyzing, and summarizing
The ESPC releases a theme-based Fact Sheet once a month. It is a brief compilation of facts on a double-sided letter-sized sheet that is distributed to government departments, social agencies, and front-line workers. The Fact Sheet is an excellent way to research and summarize important issues that is widely read by the Edmonton community.
The Factivist is a quarterly publication that is also themed-based. Past Factivists have highlighted seniors, wages and training, and immigrant issues. Submissions are usually in the area of 600-800 words each. If you want to have the chance to investigate interesting topics and write a piece for a wide audience, consider writing for the Factivist. Issues are released four times a year - Winter (February) Spring (May), Summer (August), Fall (November).
Skills required: research, writing, summarizing
3) Community Partnerships
The ESPC is involved with various community organizations in Edmonton who are in need of volunteer support throughout the year. We will let you know when upcoming or new events need our help. Below are just a few examples of organizations we work alongside who require some help.
Skills required: people skills
Homeward Trust - Homeless Connect
Homeless Connect Edmonton is a broad-based community-inspired initiative, providing free appropriate services (i.e. dental, legal, clothing) to people experiencing homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless. The event takes place in a weekend day in May and in October at the Shaw Conference Centre. Volunteers are needed for various tasks such as registration and orientating.
Homeward Trust - Homeless Count
The Homeless Count is a short 1-minute survey that takes a demographic snapshot of Edmonton's homeless population. Since the methodology has not changed over the past 10 years, the Count has been able to trace homeless trends over that past decade. The last Homeless Count took place in October 2012. This is a great way to interact with those who are homeless and take part in a larger effort to end homeless in Edmonton.
Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness - Homefest
Starting in 2003, Homefest is a music festival that gathers the Edmonton community together in order to raise awareness for homeless issues affecting our fellow citizens. Every year, Homefest attracts local folk and roots musicians for an afternoon of entertainment. Money that is raised from Homefest is donated to agencies that directly address housing needs in Edmonton. The event is entirely volunteer based, and help is always welcomed.
Urban Core Support Network - Inner City BBQ
Every summer (mid-late July) a community BBQ is held at the Giovanni Caboto Park (108 Avenue and 95 Street) for residents and community members of the inner-city. Free music and food is made available. Children's safety fair activities are provided, which include bike and helmet use, first aid, and pedestrian safety
The Edmonton Social Planning Council is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. All Directors are members of the Council who are elected to the Board at the Annual General Meeting. Directors can serve a maximum of 2 consecutive 2 year terms of office. This is a great way to get involved in the governance aspects of a non-governmental organization.
Skills required: interest in governance
5) Research Team
The ESPC acquires projects throughout the year that may require help in conduct various tasks including interviewing people, sending out surveys, entering data, and reviewing literature. Being an ESPC researcher is a great way to sharpen your research skills while at the same time working on meaningful community-oriented projects.
Skills required: qualitative and/or quantitative research skills
If you meet the eligibility requirements as a post-secondary student, and have a particular research project in mind, you are able to apply for a Serving Communities Internship Program (SCiP) bursary. We will supervise your research project, offer support, and will help disseminate your final report to the community. For more information, please contact our Resource Coordinator, Stephen MacDonald.
UPDATE (February 8, 2013): This volunteer
task is currently closed because it is at capacity. Please check back again in the Fall to see if this
opportunity opens up.
7) Fundraising Team / Special Events
The ESPC is a not-for-profit organization with registered charitable status. As a result, ESPC is able to issue income tax deduction receipts for donations which are approved by the Canadian Revenue Agency guidelines. We are looking for individuals who have an interest in becoming part of a team which will plan and participate in special events which increase the awareness of ESPC while also raising money. We are looking for creative individuals who are interested in developing new, imaginative and fun fundraising activities.
Skills required: fundraising and/or special events planning
Sign up to become a volunteer today!
If you have any questions, please contact Virginia Dowdell, Research and Communications Assistant.