the ideavation guide to National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, a time to shine a spotlight on the selfless men and women who build, support, and drive our communities.  Without their tireless and often unrewarded work, many of us would not be where we are today – including the countless young people who owe their industry starts to ideavation’s own Managing Director Scott Hulbert.

Scott was recently honoured by George Brown College with the Alumni Mentor of the Year Award. Scott has a long-held passion for mentorship and community building, evidenced by his continual leadership and participation in multiple initiatives dedicated to fostering young talent.

Scott has mentored countless youth in Speed Mentoring events. He inaugurated the 5 to Watch event, an annual sport and event industry, and served on the volunteer organizing committee for five years. He has created a scholarship, served as a guest speaker for his Alma mater, and immersed himself in the Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition and Start GBC – all this in addition to managing ideavation’s global operations. Most people would have to ask: where on earth does he find the time?

But as Scott says, it all comes down to managing priorities. “There is no success without giving back,” he said. “Volunteerism is the thing that brings meaning to this crazy chaotic world. Just as those who came before me, it is important to stay connected and to help foster an environment where the current students will grow and succeed.”

In this age of social activism and values-based consumption, it has become more important than ever for companies to prioritize altruism in their corporate mandate – not only for marketing purposes, but for talent attraction as well. In fact, a recent survey by Volunteer Canada found that 68% of Canadians would rather work for an employer who valued volunteerism in the corporate culture. While this may seem daunting, be encouraged by the fact that three-quarters of all corporations have incorporated volunteerism into their corporate mandates.

While the work often goes unrewarded, a moment of recognition for a passionate volunteer can go a long way. A 2013 study revealed that over 80% of organizations see budget as their main barrier towards recognizing volunteers; however, the same study found that most volunteers were not interested in costly methods of recognition, such as yearly banquets. Instead, it was the personalized tokens of thanks that most resonated with volunteers, such as verbal acknowledgments, cards, and small but thoughtful gifts.

After all, studies have shown that most of Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers – including Scott –  are motivated not by the promise of prestige, but out of a true desire to help others and give back to their communities. “When I started volunteering with George Brown, it was never with the expectations of winning an award or receiving special recognition – I was simply trying to carry on what those in the Sport & Event Marketing program had done before me,” said Scott in an Instagram post on Friday. “I look forward too many more years in working with the awesome students, alumni and faculty of GBC.”

Looking for ways to recognize volunteers in your organization? We have some ideas. Drop us a line at ideas@ideavation.ca.