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.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Alison Brewin $855.00 32 Register

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you should 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 will I learn?

  • You will work within scheduled start and end dates, as well as assignment timelines.
  • Your study schedule will be entirely up to you. In some cases, we may ask you to meet online with your class and your instructor or a guest at a specific time, but these sessions will be recorded for future viewing if you are unable to attend.
  • Expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week on reading, online discussions, course work and supplementary activities, such as viewing assigned videos.

How will I be evaluated?

This course is assessed on a competency-based scale of Pass or Fail. You will be evaluated based on a variety of methods, such as online participation, individual assignments, journals, project-based work and course papers. Assignments build upon the significant level of real-world experience that most participants bring to the course. You must successfully complete all Non-Profit Management courses to receive a full program certificate.

Textbooks and learning materials

You will access all course materials online.  

Hardware and software requirements 

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See About Online Learning for helpful videos and additional information.

English language requirements

To meet course demands, you should have an advanced level of English. If English is not your first language, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum overall band score of 6.5. If you have any questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact us.

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