Website launched in Kelowna sets up volunteers with non-profits

KELOWNA, B.C. – Volunteers and non-profits in the Okanagan can now find each other in one place, following a new technology launch.

Volinspire is an interactive platform that helps volunteers find more meaningful opportunities connected to their values, helps non-profits find more passionate volunteers and is said to better serve businesses looking to align with charities.

Jeff Hoffart collaborated with Sheldon Gardiner and turned to Kelowna’s growing tech sector to create the on-line platform.

“I’m sure in this community with all the technology we have and people involved in this sector, we can find a solution,” says Hoffart.

Supported by Interior Savings, Prospera Credit Union and Valley First, Volinspire is also aimed at businesses looking to expand their community impact and make a bigger difference.

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“Often when people are looking for opportunities to get involved, they have a difficult time finding things that actually suit what they’re looking for, suit their skills and suit their interests,” says Erin Nesci, community and public relations manager with Prospera Credit Union. “(Volinspire) makes it simple, it makes it easy and it really shares opportunities and creates strength”

Organizations that rely on volunteers say the next generation wants to offer their help in different ways.

“They’re not just showing up and saying, now what do I do,” says Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna. “They come with a desire to really make a difference.”

Drew Vincent of Okanagan Young Professionals signed up early for Volinspire. He says Millennials want to feel like they get to choose how they give back to the community and not feel forced to volunteer for a cause that doesn’t match their values.

“It has always been difficult to find volunteer opportunities except going to every single organization, seeing what they’ve got, talking to them,” says Vincent. “To see it all in one place, to have that chance to go out and find tons of things that are all relevant, it just makes it really easy. That’s the biggest thing.”

Hoffart says true engagement with a cause comes from a genuine place.

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“When it comes to social impact, and truly making a difference in all different areas with all different causes, we can’t do it alone,” says Hoffart. “It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us.”

Maximizing profit is the old way of doing business,” says Gardiner. “I believe embedding a social purpose or developing partnerships with non-profits is becoming the new way of doing business.”

Kelowna is the first of 100 cities Gardiner will launch the service.

Volunteers and non-profits can sign up for free.