The way organizations approach staffing has shifted over the past several years and as a result the YWCA has begun to implement a new staffing model. The concept represents a significant change for non-profits and takes the YWCA down a new bold path.

Traditionally, volunteers are treated as a resource that works for free. However, many of the systems and processes for hiring and managing paid staff and volunteers mirror one another so redundancies and inefficiencies have become apparent. To eleviate this the YWCA began to consider options around adopting the same processes for paid and unpaid staff.

Using this new integrated model, paid and unpaid staff are considered the same in all respects other than compensation. Volunteer management becomes people management; volunteer services becomes another component of human resources.

The evolution of the new model has resulted in opportunities for the organization that until recently could not have been imagined. We now have yoga instructors offering movement instruction to children in YWCA Child Care Centres; a career coach mentoring staff and assisting our People Services team; a facilitator presenting a workshop on Change Management; and a team of HR professionals from the corporate community providing industry tips and interview support for YWCA Canadian Employment Skills students.

Additionally, a team of 10 volunteers worked side-by-side four YWCA internal departments to successfully operate a full-time donation receiving centre prior to Christmas this past year.

We now have research assistants to support our Clinical Services team, with the aim to present a report on domestic abuse theories that could work at the YWCA.

One such volunteer is Jamana, who has a background in Women’s Studies and clinical research.

“Volunteering makes me feel that I am contributing towards supporting clients affected by domestic abuse and bringing about social change,” says Jumana. “Conducting research on the various theories of domestic abuse is essential as it helps in understanding the effectiveness of the existing theories, focuses on different strategies that work in our culture and social setting and incorporates new models of practice.”

Jonathan Hutton, YWCA Clinical Supervisor says having Jumana as a volunteer in a co-research position has been invaluable.

“Jumana’s background is perfectly tailored to the work at the YWCA with her indepth understanding of feminism, providing her a unique vantage point to examine YWCA programs.”

As the YWCA continues to evolve our service and operation models, and strive to be more accessible and nimble as an organization, we aspire to attract the best talents; either paid or unpaid that allow the YWCA to achieve its mission and vision. This new staffing model has proven to be a mutually beneficial approach for the organization as a whole.



This blog is an article from The Advocate: YWCA Donor and Volunteer Newsletter, Winter 2016