Governance and Volunteer Management

Explore the important role of unpaid workers—board members, volunteers, and professional pro-bono services—through the lens of the non-profit manager. We will examine the theory and practice of volunteerism in non-profit organizations, including board governance as a key volunteer role, in Canada.

We will focus on the practical tools for effectively integrating the 'unpaid' worker (some volunteer roles may involve some benefits and honorariums) in a non-profit. In addition, we'll look at the ethics of engaging the 'unpaid' worker along with management questions such as recruitment, retention and succession planning.

You will learn more about the governance structure of non-profit organizations by digging into the responsibilities of the board of directors, that unique but central volunteer role. Each module will include video interviews with volunteers, volunteer managers and/or executive directors.


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 13 weeks
Tuition: $855
Can be applied to:
Non-Profit Management Certificate

Upcoming Offerings

Register for a course at any time, with the option to apply to a program later.

Start Date
Seats Available
Start DateWed, Jan 15, 2025
  • Wed, Jan 15 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Jan 22 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Jan 29 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Feb 5 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Feb 12 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Feb 19 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Feb 26 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Mar 5 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Mar 12 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Mar 19 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Mar 26 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Apr 2 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Apr 9 (self-paced all week)
InstructorAlison Brewin
Seats Available30

What you will learn

After completing this course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the role of the volunteer, including volunteer members of the board of directors, in a Canadian non-profit
  • Analyze the volunteer needs of a non-profit that reflect its unique developmental stage and overall approach to volunteerism
  • Identify potential risks and legal issues in volunteer management
  • Draft position descriptions for key volunteer roles that reflect current understanding of what motivates volunteerism
  • Design strategic approaches to recruiting volunteers and building boards
  • Make recommendations for embedding the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in a volunteer management program
  • Assess an organization's performance against best practices in volunteer management, using the Canadian Code of Volunteer Management
  • Create a succession plan for board of director volunteers that supports long-term leadership stability 
  • Describe the differences between operations, governance and management 
  • Draft terms of reference for governance and other committees that reflect the unique needs of a non-profit in terms of stage of development and mandate 
  • Access key resources in Canada for managing the volunteer and governance needs of a non-profit

How you will learn and be evaluated

  • Prepare to spend about 10 hours per week on coursework
  • Expect reading and other assignments on a weekly basis
  • Plan to access the course at least once every few days to keep up with your work and group assignments

You will be evaluated on:

  • Assignments 
  • Participation in online discussions

Learning Materials

No textbook is required. We will provide all course materials online.

Technical Requirements

For online courses, you will need a computer with audio and microphone that is connected to the internet. Canvas is the online system that will be used for the course. For more information and online support, visit Online Learning.