PIN initiative timing deferred by Wellington North

KENILWORTH – While Wellington North is ready to move forward with a People and Information Network (PIN) initiative, officials want to wait a month or so before conducting a survey to support and recognize local volunteers.

On Nov. 4, the organization’s executive director Christine Oldfield, updated Wellington North councillors on what PIN does and how it achieves its goals and objectives.

Oldfield explained the PIN was previously known as the Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington.

She explained PIN’s mission is to “connect people, ideas and information to empower non-profit organizations and community members to grow and prosper together.”

Oldfield said PIN operates around three pillars of activity – volunteer networks, community information and non-profit leadership.

She said many organizations rely on volunteers at some point to achieve their mission, yet the rate of volunteerism has gone down in the past recent years.

At the same time, Oldfield said organizations are finding they require more and more volunteers.

She said PIN tries to provide a provide a hub for volunteer opportunities and engagement.

“We are a membership-based organization with currently over 200 member organizations to which services are provided,” she said

“We also provide them with information, resources and tools so volunteers remain.

“Our goal is to have a really good volunteer experience for everyone involved.”

She said there are studies indicating those who volunteer live longer and live richer lives.

“We believe everyone can contribute as volunteers in some way,” she added.

“We celebrate volunteering, and provide links to local volunteering opportunities.”

PIN also assists with the volunteer screening process.

“We are also big into recognition,” she said, noting “the reason a number of people stop volunteering is that they do not feel recognized.”

Oldfield added, “we do as much as we can to highlight the great work being done in the community and to encourage additional volunteering.”

She added PIN also operates an information centre.

“We focus on essential services such as health, transportation, and recreation and culture services,” she said, adding the online searches for information are increasing while the phone calls are decreasing.

However, Oldfield said, the callers are asking for more complex information.

In terms of non-profit leadership, Oldfield said the  vast majority of non-profits and charities are small, they have small budgets and few or no staff, but are expected to provide for the growing needs of the community.

She said PIN offers continuous learning and training for professionals in the non-profit sector.

“Our goal is to enhance the volunteer experience for everyone involved,” she said.

Mayor Andy Lennox added, “Everyone at council recognizes the importance of volunteers. We struggle sometimes knowing where to start to recognize all the things which occur in our community because of volunteers.”

During later discussion council received a report on Wellington North Volunteer Strategy working with PIN.

Council authorized signing of a bylaw to enter into an agreement with PIN for the purpose of completing a Volunteer Engagement Project.