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 $825.00 31 Register

Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Describe the role of board members and volunteers in Canada, and for non-profit organizations broadly.
  • Explain the various approaches to and definitions of volunteering and board membership.
  • Illustrate traditional and alternative approaches to recruiting volunteers and building boards.
  • Identify the impact of unconscious bias and how to mitigate it in board member and volunteer recruitment and retention.
  • Describe the diversity of the non-profit sector from grass roots community involvement to quasi-public institutions.
  • Differentiate between leadership, governance and operations.
  • Analyze the range of roles of 'unpaid' workers from general volunteers to board members in non-profit organizations.
  • Describe the basic principles of board governance and the origin of volunteering.
  • Identify the differences and commonalities between cultures and generations and the motivations for volunteering.
  • Apply best practices in volunteer management including the Canadian Code for Volunteer management.
  • Identify organizational development principles.
  • Identify the key elements of succession-planning in non-profits.
  • Outline opportunities for diversity and cross-cultural engagement.

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

No textbook, readings will be made available via Canvas. 

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 Online Programs and Courses 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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