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  • 1. 211 and Volunteer Centre ServicesReport and Tool KitJune 2011Produced by the project:“Building Community Capacity through 211 and Volunteer Centre Services”Prepared by the project collaborative: Rosanna Thoms, Executive Director, 211 Information Niagara - Lead Cathy Taylor, Executive Director, Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington – Lead Ann Coburn, Director, Volunteer Halton Carroll Francis, Supervisor, 211, Region of Peel Jane Hennig, Executive Director, Volunteer Action Centre of Kitchener Waterloo Pam Hillier, Executive Director, 211, Community Connection Marie Klassen, Executive Director, 211, Lakehead Social Planning Council Bill Morris, Executive Director, Ontario 211 Services Corporation Lianne Picot, Executive Director, Contact South Simcoe Community Information Centre Melanie Winterle Executive Director, and Annie Bigelow, Volunteer HamiltonWith Jonquil Eyre, Project ManagerThis project received financial support from:and Ontario 211 Services Corporation.
  • 2. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 2ContentsINTRODUCTION 31. REPORT 41.1 The Project 41.2 The Collaborative Partners 61.3 Environmental Scan 81.4 Province Wide 211 System Support 101.5 Communication 111.6 Governance 121.7 Organizations Using Volunteers 121.8 Online Volunteer Websites 131.9 Emergency Response and Recovery 131.10 Brand Clarity and Promotion 161.11 Cross-Sectoral Workshop 161.12 Recommendations 171.13 Next Steps 182 TOOL KIT 192.1 Promising Practices for Effective Partnerships 192.2 Continuum of Options 222.3 Partnership Agreement 232.4 Memorandum of Agreement and Transfer Protocol Template 242.5 Guiding Questions for 211 CIRS 282.6 Business Continuity and Emergency Response and Recovery 302.7 211 Regions and Volunteer Centres 332.8 Online Volunteer Resources 34
  • 3. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 3IntroductionThis document is in two parts. The first is a report on the project. The second part is a tool kitcontaining the practical tools developed by the project.A valuable outcome of the project called “Building Community Capacity through 211 andVolunteer Centre Services” has been the commitment of 211 Centres and Volunteer Centres tocontinue to work together to strengthen the communities in which they provide services. Thisincludes working with and supporting each other’s services to strengthen volunteering inOntario. Being a province-wide service, operating 24/7/365, being standards based1andmultilingual are assets that 211 Centres bring to the partnership. An outcome of this project hasbeen to demonstrate the value of advancing consistent and basic standards for volunteeropportunity posting and searching sites. The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) hasexpertise in how to implement this.2The audience for this 211 and Volunteer Centres Report and Tool Kit includes VolunteerCentres, 211 Centres and other information and referral (I&R) providers and human serviceorganizations interested in supporting volunteerism in Ontario. It is hoped that this work inOntario may also be useful in other provinces. Some tools may provide models that are useful inother sectors.One goal of the project has been to expand the utility of 211 service to strengthen volunteeringin Ontario. To this end this 211 and Volunteer Centres Report and Tool Kit has been designedto be tangible, practical and applicable for implementation including the recommendations.Part 1, the Report, includes information about the project and the collaborative, theenvironmental scan and some of the components of shared interest such as online resourcesand contributing to emergency responses. It concludes with the recommendations from thisdiscovery phase of the project and next steps. These recommendations were endorsed by 211and Volunteer Centre participants at the cross-sectoral workshop in May 2011.Part 2, the Tool Kit shares the valuable learning from this collaborative project about how tobuild and maintain effective relationships and partnerships. While such a list may seem obvious,our work together repeatedly raised the frequency of the neglect of these behaviours in workingrelationships despite an urgent need for them to be able to work effectively. This is followed bytools mostly in the form of templates that can be customized to make them easy to use.1There are agreed upon data and service standards, and an accreditation process.2In late 2010 OVCN received Ontario Trillium Funding to focus on business planning and settingstandards which will assist with OVCN’s capacity to do this.
  • 4. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 41. Report1.1 The ProjectRepresentatives of 211 Centres and Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) membersbegan working together toward the goals of this project in 2009. Enabled by financial supportfrom the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario 211 Services Corporation (O211SC), aformal collaborative for the “Building Community Capacity through 211 and Volunteer CentreServices” project was formed in April 2010.The project goal was to determine how collaboration between 211 and Volunteer Centres couldbring value to Ontario residents and their communities. As a discovery project, the focus was on‘whether to’, ‘if so, how’, ‘what would work best’ and to work out the details in protocols andmodels that are documented in the Tool Kit as the basis for implementation.The collaborative recognizes that it has been an ambitious and complex project to complete in ayear. With Ontario Trillium Foundation’s particular interest in collaboration and their newpartnership with the Province of Ontario, collaborative members have been particularlyinterested in the opportunity to practice and demonstrate a ‘best practice’. 211 is a publicinformation and referral utility and it was thought that by working together it could also become auseful number to associate with volunteering, and thereby a way to strengthen voluntarism.Recently the phrase “to give and get help”, which is often used in the US, was being used inOntario 211 presentations without clarity of what it referred to or discussion with VolunteerCentres. This project has provided a platform to discuss messaging and has coincided with 211branding work in Ontario which resulted in the selection of the tag line “211 when you don’tknow where to turn”. Both sectors are interested in effective, clear and consistentcommunication with the Ontario public.VisionThe collaborative developmental vision focussed on both process and outcomes.PrinciplesFour principles guided the work of the collaborative:(i) Our commitment is to open communication, transparency of information and shareddecision making which will be documented.A process that focuseson the value and assets ofthe participatingorganizations based onhonest dialogue andintegrity.A true collaborativewhich provides apartnership model withstrong values andprinciples, that participantscan be proud of.Community engagementthat heightens communityawareness of 211 andvolunteer centres andresults in healthiercommunities
  • 5. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 5(ii) Time is a scarce resource, meetings (by phone or in person) will be planned with clearobjectives, agendas and intended outcomes, and participants will prepare ahead.(iii) Both approval for and concerns about ideas will be raised so that they can be discussed.Collaborative members will work to address problems and move the work forward. In theevent of needing it, there is a commitment to using a conflict resolution process.(iv) That attendance in meetings is optional but if a person is unable to attend they willinform the project manager and they will feel free to contribute to the discussion bysharing ideas ahead of time through a colleague or the project manager.There were three areas of expected results. (See Table 1)Table 1 1. Expected Results: Increase capacity of Volunteer Centre operators and 211operators to work together to enhance volunteerism in Ontario.Performance Indicators Outcomes as of May 2011a. Building Community Capacity collaborativemeets regularlyb. Joint Project Management Plan developedc. Joint Communications Plan developed andimplementedd. Combined InformOntario [211] and OVCNconference in March [May] 2011e. Regular newsletters to OVCN andInformOntario members on the project• The collaborative met regularly – 9 times, 4 inperson and 5 by phone.• A work plan was developed (May 27th2010)and guided the work.• At every meeting the question of others whoneed to know was asked. Communicationmessages were by consensus.• A short presentation with handout was made inMay 2010 to the InformOntario conference.• A one day workshop was held on May 25th2011 which all 211 Centres and 16 VolunteerCentres attended.• Five E-bulletins were distributed to a growinglist that became 86 people. The 5thE-bulletinwas distributed more broadly.2. Expected Results: Extend access to volunteer opportunities in Ontario through the 211networkPerformance Indicators Outcomes as of May 2011a. Models and protocols for 211 and OVCN tojointly support volunteers and organizationsrequiring volunteersb. Consultation with health, social services,Aboriginal, Francophone, immigrant andrefugee services on volunteer use,organization needs and roles for 211 servicesand volunteer sectorsc. Principles and value base for joint practiceestablishedd. Model of practice developed.e. Recommendation on how the term “211 toGive Help” will be branded and promoted inOntario taken to March [May] conference.• Models and protocols were drafted,demonstrated and used at the May workshop.• There were four community consultationsusing focus groups in Brantford, Thunder Bay,Stratford and Owen Sound. Participantsrepresented a broad range of sectors. Therewas also communication with diverseprovincial organizations through the 5thproject E-bulletin.• Principles of practice were developed.• Volunteer Centres participated in completionof a survey related to 211 branding.
  • 6. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 63. Expected Results: Enhanced role for 211 and OVCN membership for second tier support incommunity emergency planningPerformance Indicators Outcomes as of May 2011a. 211 providers meet AIRS disasterpreparedness standardsb. OVCN members are involved at local planningtables and represented provincially• Discussion began about the role of 211Centres and Volunteer Centres in second tieremergency response and recovery. Caseexamples and checklists were included in theproject Report and Tool Kit. 211 Centres arecontinually building their capacity in this area.1.2 The Collaborative PartnersTen organizations launched and participated in the collaborative. Five of these are involved with211 service and five with Volunteer Centre services. (See Table 2)Table 2 211 Services Volunteer ServicesInformation Niagara – Lead, 211 Centre for CentralSouth/Central West RegionRegion of Peel, 211 Centre for Dufferin-PeelRegionCommunity Connection, 211 Centre for CentralEast RegionLakehead Social Planning Council, 211 Centre forNorthern RegionOntario 211 Services Corporation (Funding partnerand kept informed through documents and liaisonwith Project Manager)Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington – LeadVolunteer CentreContact South Simcoe Community InformationCentre (Active May - November 2010)Volunteer Action Centre of Kitchener WaterlooVolunteer HaltonVolunteer HamiltonRoles and responsibilities of the project lead, Information Niagara, and the leading VolunteerCentre, the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington, as well as all collaborative members and theproject manager were developed and agreed upon at the beginning of the project. A detailedwork plan including the dates and objectives of meetings was also developed and agreed on.211 CentresThe 211 network consists of eight 211 Centres and the Ontario 211 Services Corporation. Incommon among the 211 Centres are the common standards and brand of 211 which is a24/7/365, multilingual, national public utility. To be a 211 Centre, organizations need to belicenced, meet or exceed minimum standards and achieve Alliance of Information and Referral
  • 7. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 7Systems (AIRS) accreditation. Staff must be Certified Information and Referral Specialists(CIRS) and people working with data must be Certified Resource Specialists (CRS).211 is multi channel: phone and via the web, In addition to phone, thereare chat and TTY services. Each of the 211 Centres is expanding their service areas to deliver211 throughout their region with the objective of 100% of Ontario being served by 211 phoneservice in 2011. Information and referral data supporting the 211 service includes community,health, social and related government services.Ontario Volunteer Centre NetworkThe Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) is a network of 24 Volunteer Centres in Ontario.Volunteer Centres are themselves networking organizations that work across the nonprofitsector connecting community benefit organizations with resources. They promote, encourageand support volunteerism and civic engagement within their geographic area(s) and linkcommunity members with opportunities to serve their communities. They are criticalintermediary organizations that enhance the capacity and impact of the voluntary sector as awhole.Mandate of OVCN: To provide a provincial network and provincial voice to strengthen theindividual and collective ability of Volunteer Centres in Ontario to promote and developvolunteerism.Purpose of OVCN: To strengthen the capacity of Volunteer Centres to provide leadership involunteerism. To provide a forum to discuss issues and policies which are of concern toVolunteer Centres and to establish ad hoc committees from time to time to study issues whichare of mutual concern to Volunteer Centres in Ontario. To strengthen the relationship amongVolunteer Centres.DataData for about 56,000 agency services and programs in Ontario is maintained by 211 Centresand other information and referral providers. Volunteer Centres that utilize the CommunityInformation Online Consortium (CIOC) software use this data set and can trust that it is beingmaintained. However CIOC is used in common by only about 50% of Volunteer Centres (2008survey). Other Volunteer Centres maintain their own data for the agencies with whom they workto support volunteering.In addition to agency records Volunteer Centres maintain data on volunteer opportunities, andcomplementary information which they each do differently, e.g. list of Executive Directors, BoardChairs, community events and fast facts for frequently asked questions.
  • 8. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 81.3 Environmental Scan211 RegionCurrent Relationship between the 211 Centres and Volunteer Centresin the 211 RegionCentral 211Region• Findhelp Information Services and Volunteer Toronto have a workingrelationship which includes a service level agreement (SLA) about workingtogether on an ongoing basis and making warm transfers when required.Central East211 Region• Community Connection has had a working relationship with Contact, (SouthSimcoe) and Community Link (Midland) for more than two decades (beforeeach became a Volunteer Centre), due to being long term partners on theInformation Providers Coalition for Simcoe County. These Volunteer Centresare also Community Information Centres.• Community information is shared through a common CIOC database, (with ashared CIOC license) and volunteer portal.• Calls are referred or transferred as appropriate.• Midland’s volunteer opportunities information is on CIOC software and istherefore shared with Community Connection.• Contact, South Simcoe, has its own specially created database system.Halton 211Region• Volunteer Halton is part of Community Development Halton with which theSocial Services department works closely.• The Region of Halton, which provides the 211 service, refers callers toVolunteer Halton.• The relationship between Volunteer Halton and Halton Information Providers(HIP) includes a shared database and resources.CentralSouth/CentralWest 211Region• Information Niagara has working relationships with Volunteer Hamilton,Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington and Volunteer Action Centre of K-Wand Area.• There are future plans for connection with United Way of Cambridge andNorth Dumfries/ Volunteer Cambridge, and Woolwich Community Services• Information Niagara also served as the Volunteer Centre until United Wayfunding was withdrawn.• Information Niagara, Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington and VolunteerHamilton use CIOC volunteer software.• Volunteer Action Centre of K-W and Area has customized volunteer software.• Information Haldimand-Norfolk has its own CIOC information and referraldatabase.
  • 9. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 9211 RegionCurrent Relationship between the 211 Centres and Volunteer Centresin the 211 RegionDufferin Peel• Region of Peel has a working relationship with Volunteer Mississauga,Brampton and Caledon (VMBC) which does not have its own database.• VMBC works with Community Information Partners of Peel (CIPP) regardingdata.• The Region provides funding to VMBC which has purchased the CIOCvolunteer module.• There is a spoken understanding regarding transfers, currently warmtransfers.• VMBC is very interested in working with 211.Eastern 211Region• Community Information Centre of Ottawa and Volunteer Ottawa have aworking Memorandum of Agreement.• The Kingston Volunteer Centre has been closed. The Community InformationCentre of Ottawa has the Kingston volunteer database but as it does not havethe Volunteer Centre role the database is not current. The United Way ofKingston is providing a level of Volunteer Centre services.• The relationships with the Volunteer Bureau of Leeds and Grenville andVolunteer and Information Quinte are developing.Northern 211Region• Lakehead Social Planning Council has a working relationship with VolunteerThunder Bay.• The relationships with the Volunteer Sault Sainte Marie (run by United Way)and Volunteer Sudbury are developing.• Referrals are made to Volunteer Centres.South West211 Region• City of Windsor has a working relationship with United Way of Windsor-EssexCounty Volunteer Centre.• In Windsor the licence for the CIOC volunteer module is held by the university,but the volunteer database is not maintained. There has been discussionabout the Volunteer Centre becoming the direct responsibility of Windsor 211.• Relationships are developing with United Way of Chatham-Kent which servesas the Volunteer Centre and Pillar Non-Profit Network in London.
  • 10. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 101.4 Province Wide 211 System SupportOne goal of both 211 and volunteer services is to connect citizens to their community so thattheir lives are improved in healthy and vibrant communities. There are eight 211 Centres that asa network with O211SC are implementing a 211 system to ensure that all residents have accessto 211 service by the end of 2011. There are approximately 24 Volunteer Centres that formOVCN and together provide volunteer services to 80% of Ontario’s residents. There areadditional emerging Volunteer Centres and volunteer services.This project determined that every person in Ontario who has an interest in volunteering shouldhave a pathway to follow. Where there is a Volunteer Centre the project recommendationsenhance a smooth referral process. For the approximately 2.5 million (20%) of Ontarians whodo not have access to a Volunteer Centre, this project recommends that 211 service be utilizedto enhance the likelihood of a person with a talent and time to give as a volunteer being linkedwith a non-profit organization that wants to benefit from that skill and experience.3The primary outcome of the project is the consensus that 211 service can support volunteerengagement by connecting Ontario residents to volunteer resources. Although this alreadyoccurs when any 211 caller inquires about volunteering, this project proposes a variety of toolsand protocols to ensure improved service and consistency, by using existing resources betterand developing new resources to strengthen the response. Value to clients has been the basisfor establishing the priorities and criteria.Volunteer Centres vary greatly in the geographic location they serve. A few serve largepopulations such as Volunteer Toronto (population of 2.4 million) and Volunteer Mississauga,Brampton and Caledon (population of 1.2 million). Many Volunteer Centres are highly engagedin multiple aspects of their community. Regardless of their size, where a Volunteer Centreexists, a range of services are offered. Some Volunteer Centres provide services only to theirmember agencies. Services include assisting agencies to post volunteer opportunities andresponding by phone and often to walk-in clients by linking interested people to agenciesrequiring volunteers. Most Volunteer Centres also offer online websites where agencies canpost volunteer opportunities and where potential volunteers can search. A protocol between 211Centres and existing Volunteer Centres will ensure that a 211 caller is referred in the way thatbest uses the local Volunteer Centre service. For example this might be to the web site or to asite for resources on volunteering.Where there is no Volunteer Centre, focus groups confirmed that posting or finding out aboutvolunteer opportunities is often haphazard, time consuming and has limited success. In thesesituations there are optional procedures for a person who calls 211. The first is that the skilledperson answering the 211 call, who will be a Certified Information and Referral Specialist3The drivers for enhancing the effectiveness of recruiting volunteers include the value to individuals,agencies and their clients, and communities. There is significant literature on the contribution ofvolunteering to good health.
  • 11. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 11(CIRS), will have a set of guiding questions and suitable responses, developed by this project toassist them to refer the caller in the most appropriate way. (See 2.5)Additional support to volunteering in locations without Volunteer Centres will be online volunteeropportunity databases. These can serve large areas and be searchable in a number of ways.Also proposed to support all volunteer activity will be the online repository of related informationabout volunteering that would be applicable across the province or nationally. 4(See 2.7 forvolunteer services in 211 regions)1.5 CommunicationAn important characteristic of communication during the project was consistency of messaging.The leads reviewed drafts and all collaborative members reviewed any materials that were forexternal use. The project undertook to maintain continuous communication with interestedparties throughout the project. This was achieved by five one or two page E-bulletins providingupdates on the project which were distributed by email. By the fourth bulletin in January 2011 itwas being distributed to 86 people who had requested to be on the distribution list.Another vehicle for communication was attendance at and a short presentation to participants atthe InformOntario Conference in May 2010. Project updates were also distributed through theOntario 211 Services Corporation newsletter “In Touch” in July 2010 and February 2011.Mid-project, an evaluation was conducted using a questionnaire that was completed by allmembers of the collaborative. It provided insight into how to make improvements andstrengthen the relationship and project work.In November and December 2010 four focus groups were conducted. They were held inNorthern 211 region in Thunder Bay, in Central East 211 region, in each of Stratford and OwenSound, and in Central South/Central West 211 region in Brantford. The focus group participants,46 in all, brought experience from a range of sectors including: aged care, hospitals, FriendshipCentres, food banks, Aboriginal services, municipalities, colleges and schools, United Way,housing, disability services, hospices, Red Cross, mental health, museums, shelters, St John’sAmbulance and libraries. The discussion in each location tested the ideas that had developed tothat point in the project and explored how 211 could help to strengthen volunteering in areaswithout a Volunteer Centre. In Thunder Bay, where there is a Volunteer Centre, the focus wason Aboriginal services particularly in areas outside Thunder Bay.Towards the conclusion of the project a fifth E-Bulletin summarized the outcomes of the projectand provided online links to this 211 and Volunteer Centres Report and Tool Kit as a furtherresource. In addition to being sent to the distribution list it was more broadly distributed including4The re-launched website of the partnership between Volunteer Canada and Manual could become such a website.
  • 12. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 12to the Ontario Non Profit Network. The purpose of this communication was informationdissemination about the project focussing on both process and outcomes. One particular focuswas the project experience with building successful partnerships in the hope that the projectlearning would be useful to others.A one day workshop was held in Toronto on May 25th2011 to engage all 211 Centres andVolunteer Centres in Ontario. The purpose of the workshop was to present, review, improve andapply the draft protocols that were developed during the collaborative project so that participantscould work with others in their geographic location to develop their regional protocol inreadiness for implementation.1.6 GovernanceThe organizations participating in the collaborative are governed by a volunteer Board ofDirectors or an elected Council of regional or municipal politicians. Because the outcomes ofthis project have implications for multiple agencies, there are accountabilities betweenorganizations. This resulted in discussion about how organizations that work together shouldengage their Boards. It was agreed that decisions such as those arising from this project willrequire discussion with the Boards of Directors of 211 Centres and Volunteer Centres because:• Board awareness of new initiatives is important• Board discussion would be required if there are financial or legal implications, and• Accountability is required in a new partnership, whether it is financial or not.1.7 Organizations Using Volunteers‘Volunteer opportunities’ is a subject in the classification of records in the human servicesdatabase accessed on This province wide database has information on56,000 organizations and services and supports information and referral in Ontario. Manyagency records describe the types of volunteer roles for which they recruit. If the organizationhas a website, the website URL is also provided on, enabling an online user topursue more detail about the organization and the volunteer opportunities.An axiom of information and referral is that being given the wrong information is worse than noinformation. Wrong information frustrates and misleads people who might give up on theirsearch before resolving their issue. Mis-information could discourage a potential volunteer.Ensuring that the individual knows how to get current and accurate information is key.By contacting the organization that uses volunteers a potential volunteer can find the mostrecent information about the nature of opportunities and their current requirements. An example
  • 13. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 13of the changing need, is a theatre that will be vigorously recruiting volunteers one day andindicating the next day that they have too many.1.8 Online Volunteer WebsitesIn an attempt to support volunteerism,particularly in locations without a VolunteerCentre, a number of initiatives have beenundertaken to create websites on whichvolunteer opportunities can be posted. In somecases people offering their volunteer servicescan also post their skills and availability. Somewebsites include a collection of resources thatare useful to potential volunteers. Manyagencies attempt to recruit volunteers on theirown websites, e.g. Canadian Universities,Canadian Cancer Society and the Art Gallery ofOntario. Focus group participants described theprocess of searching for volunteer opportunitiesas disorganised and difficult where there is noVolunteer Centre.The case study in the box describes the which provides aresource focussed on addressing the volunteerneeds of the Ontario Central East 211 region.In early 2011 in a partnership betweenVolunteer Canada, Manulife Financial, Q Mediaand TV Ontario, the was redeveloped and re-launched. It includes both volunteers offeringservices and volunteer opportunities. This isanother resource for non-profit organizationsnationally.1.9 Emergency Response and Recovery211 Centres and Volunteer Centres have significant roles to play in emergency response andrecovery. 211 is the one point of non-911 phone entry at times of crisis and is used in US andCanadian emergency plans for this purpose. As part of the accreditation process with theCentral East Case StudyCommunity Connection has developed aregion-wide website,, to supportorganizations in need of volunteers and tohelp volunteers find opportunities. Thewebsite has evolved over a number of yearsthrough a series of funded projects from theOntario Trillium Foundation and the NorthSimcoe Muskoka LHIN, and partnershipswith four United Ways and the local labourboard. The website, which uses CIOCsoftware, offers searchable volunteeropportunities for the entire Central Eastregion. The website continues to be indevelopment.Simcoe County is served by two full servicevolunteer centres. Community Link servesthe north part of the County and Contactserves the south part. Calls to 211 aboutvolunteering are treated as regularinformation and referral calls. Inquiries aboutvolunteering are referred to existingvolunteer centres in a caller’s community.For communities where there is no volunteercentre, 211 staff conduct their regular callerassessment (interests, location) and refercallers to organizations that best fit theirneeds.
  • 14. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 14Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS), 211 Centres are required to assess andprovide referrals for inquirers and connect people to critical resources in times of disaster.The collaborative found that thinking of emergency preparedness having two phases may beuseful. The first is the organization’s own business continuity or contingency planning. Thesecond is the organization being positioned to help others. Checklists that raise some of theareas for consideration for these two phases are identified in the Tool Kit section 2.6.The following case studies illustrate the involvement of 211 and volunteer services which are atdifferent stages of development.Case Study: Central South/Central West 211 RegionThe Central South/Central West 211 Region includes the municipalities of Brant, Haldimand Norfolk,Hamilton, Niagara, Waterloo and Wellington.• The Niagara Region emergency response and recovery plan builds on the long term relationshipbetween Information Niagara and the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Through the Director ofCommunications, several meetings of Information Niagara and Regional staff were arranged.The Executive Director from Information Niagara was invited to accompany Regional staff to theEmergency Centre in Peterborough. There they learned how the Centre would work includingwho would be there using the bank of computers and what their responsibilities would be. As apart the Niagara Region Emergency Plan the number 211 will be advertised as the number tocall to divert non-emergency calls away from 911 and any overflow from non-emergency calls.The Executive Director from Information Niagara was involved in the selection of relatedRegional software. Next steps in Niagara Region will include testing.• In Waterloo Region a protocol is in place with 911 providing 211 with an inside line to access911 of needed. The Kitchener-Waterloo Emergency Management Committee which includesFire Chiefs, the School Board and Police Boards has asked for a presentation from InformationNiagara which will deliver 211 service to Waterloo Region. The Volunteer Action Centre ofKitchener Waterloo is part of the Waterloo Region’s Community Pandemic Influenza Plan. In theevent of a pandemic the Volunteer Centre, will be one of the organizations responsible foroperating the Volunteer Coordination Centre. This is described and illustrated in the Plan’schapter on Community Support Services (Chap. 10, pp.112-113) addition to supporting an essential community resource and service, the Volunteer ActionCentre of Kitchener Waterloo found that it was beneficial to the organization’s other services tobe involved in the development of the Plan. Participation provided access to templates forscreening, volunteer applications, waivers, confidentiality agreements, interview guidelines andrisk management tools, all of which had been reviewed by the Region’s legal services.Participation also provided an opportunity to inform senior staff at the Region about the role ofthe volunteer service and to be invited to other municipal strategic planning opportunities withthe cities of Kitchener and Waterloo.• In the City of Guelph and Wellington County the Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington has hadpreliminary discussion with emergency preparedness staff in Wellington County.
  • 15. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 15The geographic communities served by respective emergency plans require both 211 Centresand Volunteer Centres to be adaptable in their approach. In some cases this requires workingwith multiple community emergency plans. In others it requires collaboration among multipleVolunteer Centres to support a single regional plan.211 is part of a number of Ontario community emergency response and recovery network plansand 211 Centres are working to establish relationships where they do not yet exist.Case Study: Central East 211 RegionCentral East 211 Region includes the counties and municipalities of Bruce, Grey, Haliburton, Huron,Kawartha Lakes, Muskoka, Northumberland, Parry Sound, Perth, Peterborough and Simcoe.• In Bruce, Grey, Muskoka and Simcoe Counties, Community Connection which is the organizationproviding 211 service to the Region, is in the early stages of emergency response and recoveryplanning. Relationships have been developed with the District of Muskoka to create and maintaina specialized database to be used during disaster response and an agreement is in developmentfor Community Connection to provide a 24/7 public disaster information line. In Simcoe County,work is underway to determine how 211 can support a vulnerable populations emergencyresponse plan. Other relationships have been developed with Red Cross Disaster Servicesmanagers in these counties and a training program is being developed to support more formalpartnerships with Red Cross, which would include mass recruitment and deployment ofvolunteers. Volunteer Centres do not currently contribute to emergency response and recoveryplanning in an organized way but as working partners with Community Connection, they would beable to help organize support. Systems have not yet been set up for mass recruitment ofvolunteers.Some Volunteer Centres are well positioned to assist with volunteer recruitment anddeployment in times of crisis and some are part of their community’s emergency response andrecovery network plan. Another role of 211 Centres is to receive calls from people who want tooffer assistance and contact the 211 Centre to find out how to do so.Case Study: Northern 211 RegionNorthern 211 Region includes the counties and municipalities of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin,Nipissing, Rainy River, Sault Sainte Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming.• The Lakehead Social Planning Council, which delivers the 211 service, has begun the dialoguewith the City of Thunder Bay emergency planning group which includes Emergency MedicalServices (EMS), the police and the Red Cross. 211 will be part of the overall plan which is indevelopment.• 211 is also the contact point for people who need or want to give help. Examples over the lastfew years include responding to fires and floods in First Nations communities. Typically acommuniqué is sent by the City of Thunder Bay, and individuals who need or are able to helpare advised to call 211 which co-ordinates and refers appropriately.
  • 16. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 161.10 Brand Clarity and PromotionAs a result of recent work on branding, the 211 system hasdeveloped a new tag line and simplified the oval 211 logo asillustrated here. A person wanting to find out aboutvolunteering and volunteer opportunities and unclear aboutwhere to get more information can call 211. Arising from thisproject protocols will exist between 211 Centres and anyvolunteer centres in their region. This will help to ensure thatcallers are directed to the best resources to address theirinterest in volunteering in a timely way.1.11 Cross-Sectoral WorkshopTwenty-eight 211 and Volunteer Centre participants from over 20 communities across Ontariomet for a one day workshop in Toronto on May 25th2011.5The workshop receiveda very positiveparticipant evaluation. The ratings of “very good” are presented graphically in Figure 1.Qualitative feedback highlighted a number of areas as valuable: relationship building andnetworking, increased knowledge and understanding, the practical work done of developingtransfer protocols, and tangible tools provided in this Report and Tool Kit which was distributedas a working draft.The day was organized to combinerelationship building with colleagues, getting information and making practical progress onregional protocols and agreements. The collaborative presented and invited review andimprovement of the draftprotocols that had beendeveloped during thiscollaborative project.The workshop includednetworking activities anddedicated time to workwith partners in eachregion so thatparticipants could leavethe workshop withcustomized protocolsready to beimplemented.5To optimize the investment in travel, OVCN organized a workshop on the previous day.0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%Addressed questionsInformation useful other initiativesFurthered ideas about partnershipsDeveloped draft protocols for useMet your expectationsIncreased knowledge of 211 or V.C.sEngaged you: interesting & productiveIncreased your confidenceNetwork with peopleFigure 1 Percentage of participants rating as verygood
  • 17. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 17Workshop participants endorsed the project recommendations.1.12 RecommendationsRecommendations1That anyone interested in volunteering in Ontario may call 211 and will be provided with apathway to do so. The pathway will vary depending on existing local services. (Note that from aninformation and referral perspective this is similar to calling 211 for other programs and services.)2That a protocol exist between 211 Centres and all Volunteer Centres in their 211 regionensuring a standard and efficient approach for referral of callers with volunteer enquiries.3That all Certified Information and Referral Specialists (CIRS) answering 211 calls in areaswithout a Volunteer Centre, be provided with a template of standard broadly basedquestions to ask a caller interested in volunteer opportunities and suitable responses toprovide. [See template in 2.5]4That as much as possible a non profit organization wanting to publicly post a volunteeropportunity will be provided with a pathway to do so. 211 and OVCN will act as catalysts forcollaboration in supporting a volunteer opportunities website where possible in locations without aVolunteer Centre.5That effectiveness in partnership creation and development can be enhanced by consistentlyapplying a set of practices. [See checklist in 2.1]6That development of an improved information management system (IMS) to support 211service, include consideration of linkages to volunteer opportunity databases so that agencyprogram and service data is maintained once for both uses. Records should include “this agencyengages volunteers’.7That OVCN act as catalyst to create or support a website that contains resources forvolunteering to which volunteer opportunities websites could be linked8That 211 Centres and Volunteer Centres work together to be part of emergency response andrecovery municipal plans.9That communication between 211 Centres and OVCN be maintained and built on based on thenew trust that has been developed. Representatives from 211 Centres and OVCN will continue tocollaborate for at least one year and address issues that arise. This could be a twice annualmeeting at which information is shared and reported back to respective constituencies. (This couldinclude collaboration at the system and provincial level as well as MOUs and partnershipshappening at the local and regional levels.)10That implementation of these recommendations be enabled by identifying leadership anddetermining any resource implications. Also that implementation be monitored, supported andevaluated.
  • 18. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 181.13 Next StepsBoth partners are parts of bigger networks that have national connections. Communicating thisproject and its outcomes to each of the networks and embedding the implementation of therecommendations will be a phased approach. It will begin in Ontario.□ The collaborative recognized an obligation to share what has been done and what hadbeen learned. The distribution of E-bulletin #5 included selected provincial organizations.□ This 211 and Volunteer Centre Services Report and Tool Kit will be made availableonline on 211 and OVCN websites and distributed to all participants at the May 25 2011cross-sectoral Workshop.□ Follow up has been provided to support the completion and implementation ofMemoranda of Agreement and Transfer Protocols developed at the Workshop.□ Discussion has begun on further collaboration between 211 Centres and VolunteerCentres in their relationship with and support to municipal emergency response andrecovery plans.□ The project leads from 211 and OVCN have an ongoing working relationship andthrough this intend to assume leadership in furthering the recommendations from theproject. They will meet twice annually for at least one year and support regionalrelationships and the implementation of relevant tools to enable practice of therecommendations. This includes determining how to best and appropriately implementthe recommendations including what projected costs there may be and who will takeleadership.□ There is a goal to ensure that all United Ways are informed about this project.□ Ongoing work includes exploration of joint marketing, creating volunteer databaseswhere none currently exist, and associated resource requirements and sources forimplementation, e.g. OTF, O211SC, United Ways and community foundations.□ On an ongoing basis monitoring the partnership will include addressing concerns thatarise, and celebrating successes.
  • 19. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 192. Tool Kit2.13 Promising Practices for Effective PartnershipsBackgroundOne of the objectives of the project was to identify promising practices for effective partnerships.The following have been identified as useful for supporting effective collaborative processes forfront line agencies including 211 Centres and Volunteer Centres. The practices also provide amodel for coordinating bodies such as O211SC or OVCN as an umbrella organization, and canbe applied in multiple other areas.The project identified the following as important,perhaps essential, components of an effectivepartnership. They cluster into five areas:Communication Useful questionsSpoken and written communication must beclear, open, transparent and honest. Is the language clear? Has ignoring or burying contentious topicsbeen avoided? Is essential information known by thoseaffected by it? Are decisions made and recordedappropriately?When agreed upon, information must be ableto be kept confidential. Is it clear with whom this information can orshould be shared? Is it appropriate for this information to beconfidential?Disagreement and dispute must bewelcomed but all contributions to discussionand exchange must be constructive andconsiderate. Have we invited concerns, risks and issues tobe raised? Have they been appropriately acted on? Is our thinking rigorous in relation to risks? Is our approach courteous?Comments should not be taken outside ofcontext. Are we communicating clearly inside andoutside meetings?Discussion about the project and colleaguesin other settings must be constructive. Gossipand mudslinging has legs and contaminatesrelationships. Are we working toward win-win solutions? Are all conversations professional andrespectful?(1) Communication(2) Respect(3) Mutual knowledge and understanding(4) Exchange and sharing(5) Productivity
  • 20. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 20Respect Useful questionsTrusting and meaningful relationships arecontingent on being mutually respectful andtransparent. Has everyone been given opportunity toparticipate? Is essential information provided openly andwillingly? Has withholding information to gain power oradvantage been avoided?Respect applies to when people are togetherand extends to when they are out of earshot. Are conversations away from each otherconsistent with conversations together? Is there a genuine respect or is it limited toappearing to be respectful?Once a good relationship with anotheragency exists each should be in the forefrontof the other’s mind when considering roles forthe other. Are we looking out for opportunities for ourpartner? How is working together demonstrated?Mutual Knowledge and Understanding Useful questionsBe intentional, rather than reactive, in gettingto know the political and funding environmentfor the other organization(s) as well as one’sown. Is consideration of my partner part of myorganizational plan? Do we share information openly? Have we considered each other’s risks? Be informed about each other’s context.  Do we know each other’s networks?Understand stakeholder positions. Knoweach other well enough to know thesimilarities and differences between this andsimilar organizations. Have we talked about our respective strategicdirections? Do we know what our shared concerns are?Understand reciprocity and be able to alignobjectives and capacities. Have we identified what we would do better byworking together?Understand how each organization benefitsthe community and work for mutualunderstanding of the roles. Help to dispelmyths about the other. Are we advocates for each other? Do we help each other succeed? Do we correct inaccuracies about each other?Bring other relevant experiences andknowledge e.g. provincial initiatives, policychanges, to inform the process. Are we considering the larger environment forour work?
  • 21. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 21Exchange and Sharing Useful questionsShare information and bring backopportunities to each other and other non-profits. Is our approach one of helping all sectors tothrive? Have we avoided getting ahead at the cost ofothers?Share best practices in management andresources. Do we share each of our strengths with theother? Do we raise concerns with each other?Identify barriers, share them and workthrough challenges, reluctance andtrepidation. Have we created a vehicle to raise concernswith each other? Do we recognize different kinds ofchallenges? Have we deliberately set out to identifybarriers and challenges?Celebrate successes of short and long termimpacts together. Have we identified evaluation points? Do we identify successes?Ensure self-determination of both players, sothat neither feels it is “done to us”. Have we identified each other’s needs?Reach consensus with the constituencieseach partner represents. Have we engaged people more broadly thanthe leaders or representatives? How can we be sure people have had avoice?Productivity Useful questionsUtilize the skills and abilities of theparticipants. Feeling underused, overlookedor under-appreciated erodes enthusiasm forthe relationship and the project. Do we know each other’ skills? How have we brought each other’s skill’s tothe partnership?Acknowledge the changing environment foreach partner’s work. This might includenational influences, or staffing, policy orfunding changes. What environmental factors are mostimportant to each player? Do policy or funding changes create a risk?Ensure results, develop an agreed upon planand keep the work moving so thatorganizational and individual investment hasoutcomes. Are we outcome focussed? Do we evaluate outcomes?
  • 22. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 222.14 Continuum of OptionsA continuum of options was developed to address the project determination that every person inOntario who has an interest in volunteering should have a pathway to follow.The figure below identifies five possible avenues. Where the caller’s community has the leastvolunteer services the person can make a free call to 211 where the inquiry will receive theprofessional problem solving of all 211 calls supported by a guide to suitable questions andresponses. As the volunteer resources available to the community increases, the options for theindividual increase. There are full service Volunteer Centres serving over 20 municipalities.Options for Serving Potential Volunteers and Organizations that Need VolunteersIn locations without a Volunteer Centre Volunteer Centre exists1 2 3 4 5Call 211andCertifiedInformationandReferralSpecialist(CIRS)problem-solves withcallerPotential volunteersearches theinformation andreferral databasewww.211Ontario.causing the term‘volunteer’ andadding their location.A national websitewith social medialook and feel,www.getinvolved.cawas re-launched inearly 2011 byVolunteer Canada,Manulife Financialand TV Ontario.There are otherwebsites such asCharity Village andprovincial charities.Online volunteer opportunitiesdatabases also exist using anonline volunteer module whichoffers posting, searching andother functionality, e.g.www.volunteerconnection.cawhich currently serves 10 ofthe 11 counties in Central East211 Region.OVCN and 211 Centres wouldbe catalysts for the creation ofsuch sites, to which otherorganizations could link.FullserviceVolunteerCentreexists torespondPhone Online Online OnlinePhoneandonlineCIRS willhave ascript toguidequestioningandreferrals.The communityinformation iscontributed by over25 data partnersacross Ontario.www.211Ontario.cais maintainedweekly.Quality control isimportant. Monitoringfor accuracy andcurrency depends onthe website.These sites require ongoingmonitoring to ensureappropriate and accurateposting, as well as currency ofinformation.A protocolwill existfortransferfrom 211toVolunteerCentreand viceversa
  • 23. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 232.15 Partnership AgreementThis working agreement describes the basis for the partnership of 211 Centres and VolunteerCentres and the roles and responsibilities of each. The project “Building Community Capacitythrough 211 and Volunteer Centre Services” provided the foundation for a commitment between211 Centres and OVCN member Volunteer Centres to continue to work together. The projectdemonstrated how 211 and the role of Volunteer Centres can help communities bystrengthening volunteering.Ontario 211 Centres are a network of organizations that are working closely together and withthe Ontario 211 Services Corporation to implement a 211 system. This includes consistentstandards of service and data, shared reporting and interest and involvement in buildingsustainable funding for 211 service.Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) is a network of member Volunteer Centres thatpromote, encourage and support volunteerism and civic engagement within their geographicarea(s) and link community members with opportunities to serve their communities.Roles and responsibilities:• All 211 Centres will communicate with Volunteer Centres in their 211 region and developa protocol on how calls about volunteering will be directed to them.• In locations without a Volunteer Centre, OVCN in partnership with 211 and leveragingnational and local capacity will work to support the existence of websites for online publicposting of volunteer opportunities.• OVCN will support the development of an easy to use online repository of informationabout volunteering for province-wide or broader use. The contents will include resourcesto assist potential volunteers, agencies, managers of volunteers and others working withvolunteers. Resources will be informative and relevant to people interested involunteering, to 211 Centres receiving inquiries about volunteering, and contribute tooverall growth of professionalism in the field of volunteering.• Twice yearly the leads from the “Building Community Capacity through 211 andVolunteer Centre Services” project (Information Niagara and the Volunteer Centre ofGuelph/Wellington) will meet to monitor the outcomes of the project and address anyissues that arise with their constituencies. Each will be responsible for communicatingwith their respective networks.
  • 24. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 242.16 Memorandum of Agreement and Transfer Protocol TemplateBackgroundThis transfer protocol arises from the commitment that was built during the project “BuildingCommunity Capacity through 211 and Volunteer Centre Services” in 2010-2011. The goal of211 Centres and OVCN member Volunteer Centres is to continue to work together to supportvolunteerism across Ontario.The purpose of this protocol is to ensure smooth and effective referral of inquiries to a 211phone service about volunteering to existing Volunteer Centres. The first step is for OVCNmember Volunteer Centres to inform 211 Centres about the best way to direct an inquiry aboutvolunteering.Individuals interested in volunteering can be diverted from their goal by barriers to accessinginformation or time consuming and haphazard processes. Callers will be best assisted if 211Centres direct callers in the way that is determined to be the most appropriate by the localVolunteer Centre. As part of the standard tracking process 211 Centres will track the number ofcalls transferred to Volunteer Centres. These statistics will be shared with each other and on anagreed upon regular basis, the Volunteer Centre will provide feedback on the referral process tothe 211 Centre. Annually the protocol will be reviewed.TemplateBetween Partners:(Volunteer Centres)and(211 Centre)Regarding211 Centre and Volunteer Centre collaboration in (geographic area)RationaleThe parties to this agreement wish to put into effect a memorandum of agreement for thefollowing reasons, in order of priority:• To detail how 211 service provision will interact with Volunteer Centres for the benefit oftheir communities• To establish a shared understanding of protocols and communication between the parties• To provide opportunities for meaningful collaboration between the parties
  • 25. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 25Volunteer Centres agree:• To maintain an on-line database of volunteer opportunities accessible to the public at nocost• Any changes to access to this database be shared immediately with the 211 Centre211 Centre agrees:• To maintain 211 telephone service in (geographic area) accessible to the public at no cost• Any changes to access to this telephone service be shared immediately with the VolunteerCentresConditionsParties to this agreement will:• Establish and maintain a “Transfer Protocol” related to telephone inquiries on the 211telephone system [see attached]• Commit to sharing information that may affect this partnership e.g. funding changes, staffingchanges, system updates (e.g. Ontario 211 Services Corporation and Ontario VolunteerCentre Network), etc.• Meet bi-annually to discuss this partnership, share information, review protocols, etc. Partiesto this agreement may identify agenda items to be discussed. The location of meetings willrotate. Costs involved with attending such meetings will be the responsibility of eachorganization.• Commit to sharing appropriate statistics and reports to assist one another in their programdelivery and evaluation. Baseline reports will initially include number of inquiries and methodof transfer to Volunteer Centres.• Commit to sharing opportunities for service improvement or difficulties in meeting thisagreement within 5 business days.Terms• This agreement is renewable, with a review scheduled annually through a face-to-facemeeting of all parties. A review may also be activated at any time by any of the parties.• Changes may be made at any time with all party agreement and with 30 days written notice.• No amendments to this agreement shall have any force or effect unless appended in writingand signed by the all the parties.Dispute Resolution• Any disputes arising related to this agreement shall be dealt with immediately by all parties.• In the event of needing it, there is a commitment to using a conflict resolution process.
  • 26. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 26_________________________________ __________________________Signed, Date SignedName: ___________________________ Title:______________________Telephone: ________________________ Email:______________________________________________________ __________________________Signed, Date SignedName: ___________________________ Title:______________________Telephone: ________________________ Email:_____________________Transfer Protocol Template #1A Volunteer Centre connects people with opportunities to participate in their community. Theyalso offer other services, such as training and education, promotion of volunteerism andleadership related to volunteerism. This is a protocol between .....................211 Centre and ......................Volunteer Centre. When .........................211 Centre receives a call which is about or includes the callerexpressing an interest in volunteering, the 211 service provider should ask “we have aVolunteer Centre that collects and maintains volunteer opportunities. Would you like tobe connected by phone or go to their website?” The caller should be informed about the online repository of volunteer information.......... The caller should be directed to the Volunteer Centre’s website ......................... The caller should consider the following ...... in preparation for calling the VolunteerCentre During the business hours of ...............the caller should be directed to the VolunteerCentre ................................ Would you like to call them, or for me to transfer you?” After hours, you may leave a message for the Volunteer Centre to call you back, or youcan access their volunteer opportunities database which is available 24/7.
  • 27. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 27Transfer Protocol Template #2This is one of the protocols that was developed.A Volunteer Centre connects people with opportunities to participate in their community. Theyalso offer other services, such as training and education, promotion of volunteerism andleadership related to volunteerism.Partners:Volunteer Centre(s)With: 211 Centre• This is a protocol between ....... When ...... 211 Centre, receives a call which is about or includes the caller expressing aninterest in volunteering, the 211 service provider should ask “We have a VolunteerCentre that collects and maintains volunteer opportunities. Would you like me to transferyou now or would you like their phone number or go to their online database where youcan search directly for volunteer opportunities?” If the caller would like to be connected by phone, the 211 Centre asks “would you like tocall them, or for me to transfer you?” Warm transfers are the preferred method of handling telephone inquiries to theVolunteer Centre(s). The following numbers should be used either if the 211 Centre isproceeding with a warm transfer or giving out the telephone number (also identified asprimary contact numbers in the CIOC record):o Organization names and phone numbers The following website addresses link directly to each Volunteer Centre’s online databaseof volunteer opportunities (also in the CIOC record):o Organization names and websites Please note the office hours of the Volunteer Centre(s)o Organization names and office hours If the caller is calling outside regular office hours or if the Volunteer Centre’s phone isbusy, the 211 Centre will offer the phone number of the Volunteer Centre suggestingthat the caller either call and leave a message, and/or go to the website to access theirvolunteer opportunities database which is available 24/7. Each Volunteer Centre commits to returning messages within 24 hours/1 business day.
  • 28. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 282.5 Guiding Questions for 211 CIRSThese guiding questions arise from the commitment of 211 Centres and OVCN memberVolunteer Centres to continue to work together that was built during the project “BuildingCommunity Capacity through 211 and Volunteer Centre Services” in 2010-2011.These guiding questions have been designed by volunteer and 211 services to assist 211Certified Information and Referral Specialists (CIRS) who answer 211 calls, to respondappropriately especially in locations where there is no Volunteer Centre.When a 211 Centre receives a call which is about or includes the caller expressing an interest involunteering, the 211 Centre should use the following approach.Guiding script for 211 CIRS with a 211 inquiry about volunteering:Location 211: “Where are you calling from?” (This is a standard 211 question.)211: Would you like to volunteer in your area? (Note: there are some virtualvolunteering opportunities, using the internet, phone etc.)(CIRS determines whether or not a Volunteer Centre serves the caller’s area. See table in 2.7)OptionsA VolunteerCentre?ActionYes Apply the transfer protocol agreed with the Volunteer Centre. [See 2.4]If there is no Volunteer Centre:Note: Every 211 call aims to provide the caller with information that helps them to resolve theproblem(s) they present. An inquiry about volunteering might be assisted by including:211: Are you thinking about providing practical help e.g. preparing food, or using particular skillsyou have? (If skills) Which skills would you like to use?211: There is no Volunteer Centre in your area, but we can tell you about some organizationsand programs that exist in your area or refer you to websites. Which would you like?Finding organizations and programs that exist in caller area:211: I will ask you some additional questions about your interest.211: Do you have an idea of which organization you would like to volunteer with?(If yes, make referral.)If no,
  • 29. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 29211: Have you had a chance to think about the area (subsector) in which you would like tovolunteer?Prompts:□ With animals□ In the arts□ With children□ With people who are developmentallydelayed□ In emergency services□ In the environmental area□ With people who are homeless□ In mental health□ With refugees□ With seniors□ In sports□ With youth(With this information the CIRS searches the database, and the virtual library if it includesorganizations that are seeking volunteers.)211: (Provides suitable contact information or goes to agency websites to see if there arevolunteer opportunities or a volunteer link posted.)211: (Coaches the caller to call/email organizations directly to find out if they have currentvolunteer opportunities.)Websites211: Do you have access to a computer? If yes,211: There are some websites that include questions for you to ask organizations before youbegin volunteering, also some information for you to consider about what you hope to contributeand get out of volunteering.If websites:A VolunteerCentre?Optional ActionsNo1. Referral to an online website of volunteer opportunities e.g. a regional site such for Central East Region or a national site such□ If person has access to internet and can search themselves, provide URL□ If person does not have access to internet – search on their behalf2. Refer caller to volunteer resources and information website
  • 30. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 302.6 Business Continuity and Emergency Response and RecoveryChecklists that raise some of the areas for consideration of the two phases, business continuityand emergency response and recovery, follow6(i) Emergency Operations and Business Contingency plan:Background• This applies to 211 Centresand Volunteer Centres.• The work to meet thisstandard which requires 211Centres to be able to carryon basic services, isongoing.• This foundation should be inplace to be able to assist others.Considerations□ A written plan that starts by identifying types of disasters: flood, fire, tornado,terrorist attack, chemical spill, pandemic, earthquake, power outages, medicalemergencies, bomb threats, radiological threats, workplace violence etc internallyand externally. Consider (i) history: types of emergencies that have occurred in thecommunity, at your facility, or nearby? (ii) Geography: what can happen as a resultof the location? (e.g., proximity to: flood-prone areas; hazardous materialproduction, storage or use; major transportation routes; power plants, etc.) (iii)Human Error: what emergencies might be caused by employees? And (iv)physical: what types of emergencies could result from the design or construction ofthe facility?□ Evacuation procedures designate exits, specify an assembly area, includeprovisions for ensuring that everyone has left the building, provide for damageassessment, and include instructions for shutting off gas, electricity and water whennecessary. Also special arrangements for helping staff or visitors with a disabilityexit the building.6Sources include the AIRS Standards for Professional Information and Referral and Quality Indicators,Version 6 Revised January 2009, published by: Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, The source of the Business ContinuityPlanning Process figure is
  • 31. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 31□ Communication plan before, during and after disaster (communication out and in forpeople to report on well being).□ Roles, responsibilities and leadership before, during and after incident.□ Emergency contact list.□ Telephone call tree.□ Critical suppliers and emergency services list.□ Alternative plan if building is unusable, back up plans re technology etc.□ Ability to carry on basic services or MOU to continue relocated off site– in eithercase consideration for space to accommodate new people in appropriate conditions.□ Family and individual preparedness so that staff can focus on organization andcommunity knowing their families are prepared.□ Emergency kits.□ First aid and CPR training for staff.□ Plan to recover and maintain service.□ Regular emergency drills including: individual roles and responsibilities information about threats, hazards, and protective actions notification, warning and communications procedures means for locating staff and family members emergency response procedures evacuation, shelter, and accountability procedures location and use of common emergency equipment emergency shutdown procedures.(ii) Becoming Part of the Community’s Emergency Preparedness and ResponseNetworkBackgroundOrganizations that are part of a community’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Networkwill need to:• Understand the command and control structure within their jurisdiction and theirorganization’s role and that of other organizations in the response, relief and recoveryphases of a disaster.
  • 32. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 32• Have formal agreements with government and other emergency operations and reliefagencies.• Participate in community meetings that address plans for disaster preparedness,mitigation, response, relief and recovery.It is anticipated that 211 will be the number to call for non-emergency aspects of response andrecovery. 211 Centres are expected to:□ Develop, maintain, and/or use an accurate, up-to-date computerized resourcedatabase that contains information about available community resources thatprovide services in times of disaster. (More details in AIRS standard #19)□ Provide information and referral services to the community during (whenappropriate) and following a disaster or other emergency. (More details in AIRSstandard #20)□ Track inquirer requests for service and referrals and be prepared to produce reportsregarding requests for disaster-related services and referral activity. (More details inAIRS standard #21)□ Have technology in place that facilitates the ability to maintain service deliveryduring times of disaster or a localized emergency (including uninterruptable powersupply. (More details in AIRS standard #22)□ Train staff on emergency operations and business expectations and provideongoing training at least annually. (More details in AIRS standard #23)Volunteer centres could:□ Assist with management of volunteers by providing access to managers ofvolunteers.□ Provide information about volunteer screening procedures.□ Identify organizations that require volunteers to have to have specific skill sets ortraining e.g. first aid, CPR, counselling, child care, etc.□ Provide information and training in related areas such as business continuityplanning for non-profit organizations and emergency preparedness for peoplewith disabilities.□ Support volunteer recruitment and assignment.
  • 33. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 332.7 211 Regions and Volunteer Centres211 Centre and Volunteer Centre Mapping - June 2011211 Region(N=8)211 ServiceProviderRegion/ County/District/Municipality (N=48)Region/County/Municipalitypopulation (2006)Volunteer Centres in each area (N=26)Bruce 65,349Grey 92,411Simcoe 422,204Contact South Simcoe Community Information Centre and VolunteerSouth Simcoe (Alliston)Information OrilliaVolunteer Services, Community Link North Simcoe, MidlandKawartha Lakes 74,561Peterborough 133,080Parry Sound 40,918Muskoka 57,563Northumberland 80,963Haliburton 16,147Huron 59,325Perth 74,344 Volunteers in PerthCity of Toronto 2,503,281 Volunteer TorontoYork Region 892,712 Information Markham and Volunteer CentreYorkinfo Community Information and Volunteer CentreDurham Region 561,258City of Hamilton 504,559 Volunteer HamiltonVolunteer FlamboroughNiagara Region 427,421 Information Niagara and Volunteer Connections, St CatharinesBrant 125,099 City of Brant/United WayHaldimand-Norfolk 107,812Volunteer Action Centre of K-W and Area, KitchenerUnited Way of Cambridge/Volunteer CambridgeWellington CountyCity of Guelph200,425 Volunteer Centre of Guelph, WellingtonHalton Region(popn: 439,256)RegionalMunicipality ofHalton,(Burlington)Halton RegionalMunicipality439,256 Volunteer Halton, (Community Development Halton) BurlingtonRegional Municipality ofPeel1,159,405 Volunteer MBC, (Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon), MississaugaDufferin 54,436Renfrew County 97,545City of Ottawa 812,129 Volunteer OttawaPrescott and Russell 80,184Frontenac 143,865 United Way of KingstonLanark 63,785Stormont, Dundas &Glengarry110,399Lennox & Addington 40,542Hastings 130,474 Volunteer and Information Quinte, BellevilleLeeds & Grenville 99,206 Volunteer Bureau of Leeds and Grenville, BrockvillePrince Edward 25,496Kenora 64,419Rainy River 21,564Thunder Bay 149,063 Volunteer Thunder BayCochrane 82,503Algoma 117,461 Volunteer Sault Sainte MarieSudbury 157,857 Volunteer SudburyTimiskaming 33,283Manitoulin 13,090Nipissing 84,688Windsor-Essex 393,402 United Way of Windsor Essex County, WindsorOxford 102,756Elgin 85,351Middlesex (London) 422,333 Pillar Nonprofit Network, LondonLambton (Sarnia) 128,204Chatham-Kent 108,589 United Way of Chatham-KentLakehead SocialPlanningCouncil,(Thunder Bay)City of WindsorNorthern Region(popn: 723,928)South WestRegion(popn: 1,240,635)Waterloo RegionalMunicipality478,121CentralSouth/CentralWest Region(popn: 1,843,437)CommunityConnection,(Collingwood)Region of Peel,(Brampton)CommunityInformationCentre, (Ottawa)FindhelpInformationServices,(Toronto)InformationNiagara, (StCatharines)Central EasternRegion (popn:1,116,865)Central OntarioRegion (popn:3,957,251)Dufferin PeelRegion(popn: 1,213,841)Eastern Region(popn: 1,578,129)
  • 34. 211 and Volunteer Centres: Report and Tool KitPrepared by the Collaborative – June 2011 342.8 Online Volunteer ResourcesA single (or limited number) of online repositories of resources on volunteering would helppotential volunteers to clarify their own passion and motivation and hence increase the chanceof their success as a volunteer. A single site would prevent all Volunteer Centres having tomaintain such information. It would also be a resource for the Certified Information and ReferralSpecialist (CIRS) answering 211 calls.The kind of information should include resources:• To help potential volunteers understand their passion, skills, gifts and their goals forvolunteering.• Steps to take in how to volunteer, bringing a resume, intake processes, screening etc.• Addressing “Can I volunteer today or do I need to set up an interview?”• Describing the roles of a Volunteer Centre.• What a police records check is and when and why it is needed• About TB tests for health volunteers• Information on accessibility training associated with the Ontario Disability Act• For managers of volunteers about support and training.• For managers of volunteers on how to recognize the potential volunteer’s skills andlisten to what the volunteer wants and needs.• To assist agencies with planning the utilization of volunteers, including when and wherethey are needed and how they will be trained, supported and recognized.