This week is Canada’s National Volunteer week – the perfect time to say thank you to the volunteers whose dedication and generosity make our work possible. Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of one of the more than 5,000 United Way volunteers we are so grateful for. We couldn’t do it without you.
Aynslie Hinds serves as an Agency Liaison Volunteer, contributing to the thousands of collective hours spent reviewing agency partner needs and helping make sure donations achieve maximum results.
How did you begin volunteering with United Way?
I started when I was in a master’s program at the U of M, volunteered to help with the United Way campaign on campus, and then I got involved youth relations, and asked about other opportunities – I became an Agency Liaison Volunteer (ALV) and have been one for about 5 or 6 years now.
What do you do as an Agency Liaison Volunteer?
Well, United Way funds around 100 different agency partners. It’s the ALV’s responsibility to meet with these partners, talk about what they’re doing, and discuss their funding applications.
We go in a team of 3- 5 volunteers and do annual checkups with them to follow up, talk about any concerns, and to learn about successes they’ve had.
Before you go to visit an agency, we meet with the United Way staff and develop a set of questions we want to ask the agency, and after the meeting we have a debrief where we talk about what we heard, evaluate and discuss the recommendation and write it up for the Community Investment Committee to look at and decide on.
It’s a huge responsibility. Winnipeggers donate money to the United Way, and expect that their money is being used well. It’s the ALV’s responsibility to help ensure that the United Way and the agency partners are accountable for that money.
I absolutely love being an ALV, it’s so exciting to be able to go to the different agency partners and see what they do. I’ve been lucky to be able to visit and work with a number of agencies over the years – RaY, Macdonald Youth Services, North Point Douglas Women’s Centre, Volunteer Manitoba, Wolseley Family Place – those are just a few of them. In a lot of visits to agencies, I end up getting goosebumps. Agency partner staff are so passionate about what they’re doing. It’s amazing what people are doing in the community and how they’re making Winnipeg a better place.
What motivates you to volunteer?
I absolutely love volunteering. If I could do it full time, I would! I feel very rewarded, and it’s a great way to meet and connect with other people. I just feel it’s important to give back to the community and help make Winnipeg the best place we can be.
Whether they’re working with our agency partners, reaching out to donors, running special events, helping to build understanding about important issues in our community, or ensuring United Way itself is an effective and efficient organization … at the end of the day, they make it possible for people all over this city to build better lives for themselves and their families.