Best practices in equity and inclusion for the nonprofit sector

In the early 2000s, nonprofit sector research showed that newcomers, visible minorities and under-represented groups were not receiving equitable representation in the sector. As a result of this research, Pillar began several initiatives to support equity and inclusion in our own organization and the nonprofit sector. Along with the development of our own internal best practices, we began work to help bring diversity to volunteerism at leadership levels and to provide education and consulting services to support nonprofits in bringing equity and inclusion practices to their workplaces. In our own organization, we began our equity and inclusion journey with a focus on racial equity using an anti-oppression framework. We have since expanded our work to ensure we are inclusive of Indigenous persons, persons living with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, and women. Our efforts in this area are formalized in our current strategic plan with the objective to “Be Inclusive”, which outlines our commitment to provoking discussion and action around equity and emerging cross-sector community issues.

To move from where we are today towards developing truly equitable organizations, we need to build solid plans and be committed to their implementation. An effective plan to create equity balances several needs, it must include all of the steps necessary to achieve your vision and mandate enough focus to do your work well, while recognizing that building a diverse organization is a continually evolving process and you will need to adapt along the way. A good strategy should allow room for innovation and flexibility, and also have a focus on exploring power and privilege at an individual and organizational level. In this article, we will share the promising practices and tools we have used in our work with the community, with boards, and internally to help you as you embark or continue on your path to becoming an equitable and inclusive organization. We also explore some of our failures and learning moments to help you avoid or address these issues in your own work.

Nonprofit sector education and consulting practices

Establishing common language

One of the first steps in educating others about equity and inclusion best practices is to establish and share common language. Language is powerful and it’s important to ensure that it is being used appropriately and with common understanding. Pillar’s internal and external equity and inclusion training commonly begins with defining key terminology. Additionally, our Director, Diversity and Governance consulted on establishing London’s Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which includes a helpful glossary of terms.

While frank and open discussions that clearly name issues prove to be the best way to educate, there is often sensitivity and resistance around certain language which we have had to adapt to over the years. For example, to promote our early consulting and education on the topic, we started with establishing the moral imperative for diversity and over time started to build in the business case for diversity as that was more compelling and drew more organizations and board members in to participate. We have experienced the tension between wanting to use the language of anti-oppression that clearly names the issue and the need to use language like cultural competency to keep individuals open to the process and program. “Early on I wanted to encourage people to see embracing diversity as a good thing to do. I’m more radical now than I was then. The shift now is we’re being more authentic in calling it what it is,” shares Dharshi Lacey, Director Diversity & Governance.


Today, we have enough credibility in this field of work to use the appropriate language and now use equity and inclusion language more consistently than diversity. We have also broadened our scope since our early days when we were focused on increasing representation and are now intentional about both measuring and illuminating the need to have voices heard at leadership tables, and about naming racism, oppression, power and privilege. The language we use has evolved to include other forms of diversity and we balance the need to find common language and understanding while recognizing that language shifts over time.

Examining power and privilege

We have taken our equity and inclusion work deeper with sessions and discussions about power and privilege, and have also developed definitions of related terminology. We facilitate sessions that include reflections on our personal commitments to leveraging our power and privilege to challenge oppression and our professional commitments to leveraging our power and privilege within the systems that we have influence in. All people carry unconscious bias and acknowledging this along with how we fit into systems of power and privilege is critical to anti-oppression work.

In several of our workshops, we have used a power and privilege exercise adapted from Peggy McIntosh’s work on white privilege to demonstrate the power and privilege participants hold in their lives along the seven domains – sexuality, ability, gender/sex, race, religion, class and nationality. As they answer each question, they add a fruit loop (you can use pretzels too) on the string. At the end, each person has a necklace that visually reveals their power and privilege to themselves and other participants.

Power and privilege work can be challenging and uncomfortable for many. We once hosted power and privilege workshops with Louise Pitre Consulting and Mojdeh Cox for nonprofit leaders where we started with more than 45 participants and by the fourth session had 15 participants left. The work in these sessions was very difficult and required leaders to identify their conscious and unconscious bias and sit in the discomfort. While we cannot know unequivocally why the shift in attendance occurred, the difference from beginning to end was significant to reflect on.

Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA) 

Since 2011, Pillar has offered both online and in-person workshops about demystifying AODA standards and supporting organizations to be compliant. Participants in these workshops also explored how to create meaningful opportunities for individuals with disabilities and consider the importance of fostering professional relationships with individuals living with disabilities.

Encouraging inclusivity through storytelling

In 2018 and 2019, we offered a “Be Inclusive Series” of sessions exploring the diversity that makes up our community and the stories that surround us. Our goal was to build connections in the pursuit of diminishing feelings of “otherness”. We wanted to create a brave space that would allow us to become a more unified and help us work together to build a more inclusive community. Sessions included a focus on the trans, black, and Indigenous communities, as well as important issues in the London community including temporary overdose prevention sites, anti-islamophobia, addictions, and AODA standards.

These sessions provided many rich learning opportunities that we outlined in a report on the series. One important lesson learned was that the individuals with lived experiences who are sharing their stories of struggle must be consulted and highly involved in the implementation and execution of programming, including the set-up of the physical space. Providing an avenue for those with lived experience to share their stories and struggles is critical to establishing empathy and understanding and dismantling assumptions.

Board diversity practices

Board diversity toolkit

We created a diversity toolkit for boards of directors, executive directors and senior managers who are responsible for decision-making in an organization. This toolkit can also be beneficial for diversity managers, leaders and inclusivity champions. The goal of the resource was to provide organizations with the necessary information to set and reach their diversity goals. This board governance-focused resource mapped out how to move from acknowledging and respecting diversity to developing real action-based strategies. This process includes developing an organizational diversity goal, a board recruitment process, and tailoring your documents and statements (i.e., vision, mission, values, policies, constitutions and by-laws) to be more inclusive.

Creating workplaces and a community that embraces and celebrates differences, acknowledges bias, power and privilege is essential to creating an inclusive and equitable community. We need to go beyond the surface level of diversity.

Board diversity matrix

One of the promising practices we have created that has been shared far and wide is our board diversity matrix. The matrix should be used when recruiting board members to assess diversity, skills and backgrounds.The intent of the grid is to strive to ensure that the makeup of the board reflects the spectrum of diversity identified in the matrix. Annually, the matrix should be vetted against the diversity of the board and gaps should be identified. Identified gaps should be prioritized, ranked and weighted and become the basis of candidate ranking. 

Organizational diversity practices 

Diversity training and action plan

Bi-annually, the Pillar board and staff attend diversity and equity training to review current demographic data, explore equity and inclusion in the context of our organization and the sectors we serve, and create board and staff action plans. Pillar’s board and staff are consistently trying to find new ways of becoming more accessible. We all understand that inclusivity within the workplace is a process that requires an organization to make continual changes to ensure it is meeting the needs of the population it serves. With changes in board and staff, careful attention and oversight to the continuity of this process is critical.

Recruitment of staff and volunteers

Pillar has been intentional about reaching out to diverse communities through networks and media focused on inclusive communities. In all interviews we ask, “What does diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you?” to better understand the candidate’s depth of understanding and commitment. Our own staff team has become more diverse over time and their contributions on interview panels has been essential. For our board, committees and volunteers we recruit with diversity in mind. We have open conversations about whether we are bringing any conscious and unconscious bias to our hiring and recruitment process.

Our board nomination process includes an open call and we shared it widely. We have had some missteps with one year identifying we only needed one candidate and did not post it and circumstances shifted and we required additional board members. With having access to our board diversity program, we were able to recruit board members who represented to the diversity and skills we had identified. However, we will post the call for nominations going forward to ensure we are accessible and inclusive in our process.

Inclusion champion

When we established the strategic priority “Be Inclusive,” we wanted to ensure that our diversity and equity work was integrated across the whole organization with the philosophy that it’s everyone’s responsibility, and did not just sit with our Director of Diversity and Governance. We established a Diversity and Inclusion Champion role for a staff member for a one year commitment to embed an inclusion lens when developing projects, planning events, hiring, and assessing our work. 

Equity and inclusion baseline survey

With our new strategic theme “Be Inclusive,” we recognized the need to establish a baseline of understanding of equity and inclusion among our staff and board. We developed and equity and inclusion baseline survey to identify if there is a measurable change and impact over time from our efforts.

Equity and inclusion conversations

Our staff have been meeting informally on a monthly basis over lunch to discuss various topics related to equity and inclusion. Employees have the opportunity to bring up issues related to their work or topics of interest that they have encountered. Topics have included equal access versus accommodation, best practices for including land acknowledgements at events, and discussion surrounding accessibility in our space among others. 

Indigeous inclusion practices

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports were released in 2015, we took the time as an organization to read, reflect and better understand how we could learn our country’s history and advance truth and reconciliation both as an organization and network. Just a few of the practices we have adopted to be more inclusive of the Indigenous community have included: incorporating a land welcome and acknowledgement at our events, participating in various learning opportunities such as the Indigneous Cultural Safety program from Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, instating a smudging policy at Innovation Works, and evaluating our board practices to be more inclusive. We continually look for ways to honor, celebrate and support the Indigenous members of our community with their input and guidance. Equity and inclusion work is not a checklist and this short summary is not representative of the scope of our work in this area. While we have developed many practices we are proud of, we have made mistakes along the way and we do not claim to be experts. We are always looking for ways to learn and do more and continually engage Indigenous people in our community to help develop and evolve our policies and programs. To read more about our equity and inclusion work with Indigenous peoples read more here

Creating workplaces and a community that embraces and celebrates differences, acknowledges bias, power and privilege is essential to creating an inclusive and equitable community. We need to go beyond the surface level of diversity. We are all at different places and this is life work not a check box, it is continuous and ever evolving.

Looking for more support to start an inclusive dialogue at your organization?

Pillar’s Impact Consulting works with charities, nonprofits, for-profits and cooperatives to map out customized support to unpack equity & inclusion practices within your organization. We will work with your team to encourage brave and uncomfortable conversations, and embed anti-oppression values in your work. Learn about our equity and inclusion consulting services.

A path of learning, recognizing and honouring truth and reconciliation

It was the release of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission reports that nudged our organization to read, reflect and better understand how we could both as an organization and network learn our country’s history and advance truth and reconciliation. We had been intentional about recruiting someone to serve on our board of directors from the Indigenous community as we came to realize that our board’s diversity program didn’t take the Indigenous community, the first peoples of this land, into account. We had started to incorporate a land acknowledgement at the outset of our workshops and events; however, we stumbled and didn’t get things quite right and required some education and guidance.

As an organization we are on a journey to listen deeply, engage and be in true dialogue. Because we are uneasy as a sector about misstepping there can be a chill in engaging with truth and reconciliation. We need to create courageous spaces as there is an urgency to this issue and ask ourselves what are we doing each day towards reconciliation. We need to learn from a place of understanding and not place ourselves as hero or saviour. There is an immense amount of work as settlers, immigrants and as a community as a whole that we need to do related to truth and reconciliation and we cannot expect Indigenous people to continually provide emotional labour by educating us, or holding us and our healing.

Learning

It starts with learning and understanding the full history, stories and our shared responsibility as settlers. We need to acknowledge the harm and understand the intergenerational trauma and impact of residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and other atrocities towards Indigenous peoples by both settlers and the government. 

Many of Pillar’s staff have participated in the Indigneous Cultural Safety program from Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, an interactive and facilitated online training program that addresses the need for increased Indigenous cultural safety within the system by bringing to light the service provider bias and the legacies of colonization that continue to negatively affect service accessibility and health outcomes for Indigenous people.

Further, our staff team have participated in programs and learning opportunities that have included an Indigenous learning arc including Banff Centre’s Social Innovation Residency and Foundations of Purpose Program; Social Capital Partners (SOCAP18);  Ontario Nonprofit Network’s Nonprofit Driven Conference; Imagine Canada Sector Champion Roundtable; Resilient Cities Conference; London Environmental Network’s River Talk Conference and EconoUS.

For our network, board and staff we participated in and held sessions of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise. The exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history, increases our awareness of Canadian history as it pertains to Indigenous peoples’, promotes empathy, and inspires action towards reconciliation. We first hosted it as a public session at Innovation Works, a shared space for social innovation, and it sold out. Since it evoked much emotion and reflection, we decided to continue running the sessions. The second time we hosted it at an Indigenous based partner Atlohsa Family Healing Services, and this was an example of how connecting and going to an Indigenous organization was a more impactful experience. 

Furthermore, we have been hosting decolonization workshops, Indigenous sharing circles and a local Indigenous learning series for the nonprofit sector so that other community members can explore Canada’s shared history, stories and work towards solutions on decolonization to build stronger, more positive relations with Indigenous people.

Recognizing and honouring

Nokee Kwe’s +Positive Voice program supporting urban Indigenous women in creating positive narratives and community connections was the recipient of the 2017 Community Innovation Award for the Pillar Community Innovation Awards. Former Program Coordinator, Summer Thorp remarked, “The wonderful thing about being nominated and receiving the award is the sense of ownership that the Indigenous women in our program feel; this truly is their award. Having their bravery, resilience, and accomplishments recognized by the community on such a large scale is a validating experience that they proudly share when talking about their achievements.”

Like many organizations, Pillar adopted the practice of sharing a land acknowledgement before workshops and events. By making a land acknowledgement you are taking part in an act of reconciliation, honouring the land and Indigenous presence. We started with a fairly brief version and stumbled over the pronunciation. We had an Indigenous colleague come and provide some training in the pronunciation.

All Canadians must now demonstrate the same level of courage and determination, as we commit to an ongoing process of reconciliation. By establishing a new and respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, we will restore what must be restored, repair what must be repaired, and return what must be returned.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Over time we were hearing that land acknowledgments were feeling like a check box and they should be customized and aligned with the intent of the event and we started to personalize each one to the person who was delivering it and the event we were hosting. Still this did not feel right and we met with various Indigeneous colleagues to seek their guidance. Today, we have an elder open with a welcoming or prayer and then we have a settler do the land acknowledgement and share their role in truth and reconciliation. A welcome and land acknowledgement is only a start and organizations need to understand there is much more we can action together.

Pillar encourages and supports those who wish to participate in smudging ceremonies. Smudging is the burning of sacred medicines and is meant to purify, protect, ground and harmonize people and spiritual spaces and is a common practice among Indigenous people. We have had concerns related to allergies and location in our space and therefore we created a smudging policy that states that it is a welcome practice at Innovation Works and it includes notifying our co-tenants of timing and location. Pillar recognizes the spiritual and cultural importance of Indigenous practices, and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for its co-tenants and the wider community.

Partnering and supporting

Through our social enterprise and nonprofit supports we have worked alongside Yotuni that provides mentoring, guidance, cultural education teachings, workshops and healing circles to provide the tools and life skills for Indigenous children and youth to live positive and healthier lives. Further, Kuwahs^nahawi is a social enterprise that provides consulting, educating and facilitating using Indigenous practices, specializing in teaching truth of Indigenous People and history, and ways we can work together towards healing and reconciliation that Pillar has engaged for several sharing circles and workshops. We have also supported Atlohsa Gifts that sells authentic products from Indigenous artisans throughout Canada to help fund the services of Atlohsa Family Healing Services. We have offered incubation, business planning and market connections. Further, Pillar as part of its social procurement sources the services of these two social enterprises for consulting, workshops and gifts for our speakers and staff. 

When developing new partnerships, it is essential to engage Indigenous-led organizations as partners in the development of the project. When we were seeking interest in having Indigenous leaders on nonprofit boards we were reminded that we had made an assumption that they would want to sit on boards. A group of Indigenous leaders have been coming together to explore about what leadership means to them and how that dovetails with nonprofit governance. It had surfaced questions about how nonprofit boards are colonized and whether they are inclusive. Most recently, we have built a partnership at the outset of a new program with Centre for Social Innovation and Nordik Institute for a new provincial program, Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. This new program is focused on supporting women social entrepreneurs and is based on inclusive design and Indigenous approaches to venture creation.

Through learning, recognizing and honouring our history, Indigenous people and their traditions we are witness to the resilience, courage and determination they have and continue to demonstrate daily. 

Ideas for incorporating work with the Indigenous community into your organization
  1. Learn and acknowledge history – Learn the history and acknowledge the harm and atrocities in our shared Canadian history including reading the Truth & Reconciliation reports
  2. Recognize the urgency – There is an urgency to Truth & Reconciliation because hard and atrocities are still happening today
  3. Make incremental progress – Ask yourself how you can make progress towards  reconciliation each day in  your organization
  4. Follow not lead – Go to Indigenous related organizations, events and training rather than asking Indigenous people to come to you on boards, committees and events
  5. Recognize power dynamics – Acknowledge power in all interactions and be prepared to give up power
  6. Build relationships and trust – This is a critical step before jumping to requesting a partnership
  7. Consider how to redistribute wealth – Look at strategies such as a granting and investments and have the Indigenous community as a priority and focus
  8. Have the right partners – Pause and ask who is missing in the room and be intentional
  9. Create a social procurement policy – Consider purchasing from Indigenous-based social enterprises and business
  10. Go beyond land acknowledgements – If doing them have a welcome from an Indigenous elder and land acknowledgement by a settler to make it meaningful
  11. Explore Indigenous cultural traditions – Learn about the 7 Sacred Teachings and other Indigenous cultural traditions including the medicine wheel and smudging from a place of learning without appropriating 
  12. Create courageous, safe and open spaces – Make sure your organization and community is inclusive of Indigenous people and all people

Developing leadership skills in youth through volunteerism

Engaging youth in volunteerism brings countless benefits for the participants, nonprofit organizations and the community. For participants, volunteering has been known to improve mental health, help cultivate valuable relationships and provide leadership opportunities. Organizations that engage young volunteers benefit from their diverse perspectives and innovative ideas.

Youth volunteerism also benefits the community at large; by helping youth to develop leadership skills, it is more likely that these individuals will become engaged in community. While there is a large amount of evidence that demonstrates these benefits, there is still more that nonprofits and charities can do to provide equal opportunities for youth. Read more to learn about why youth should be included at volunteer tables, how we’ve engaged young people at Pillar, and what we’ve learned about the best ways to work with them.

Benefits of volunteering for young people

Today, young people are facing many barriers including a rise in mental health issues. There have been multiple studies showing that volunteering increases happiness and supports mental health. Providing opportunities for youth to contribute to a cause greater than themselves provides meaning and purpose. Volunteering also provides younger people with the opportunity to find mentors and develop relationships that may help them in their future careers. For those who are facing barriers such as poverty or being a newcomer, these connections can provide opportunities they may not have otherwise been able to experience.

Leadership development is another valuable opportunity to be gained from volunteering. In volunteer roles, young people may get the opportunity to do work they wouldn’t get to do in an entry-level paid position. They may be able to plan events, develop communications plans or even lead teams. These experiential learning opportunities are invaluable for gaining the experience required for future employment and may give participants a foot in the door with the organization.

Benefits of youth volunteerism for nonprofits and the community  

Canada has the second largest nonprofit workforce in the world and 50 percent of nonprofits are managed by volunteers. With an aging population, engaging youth and cultivating lasting relationships with them will be essential for the functioning of many organizations. Youth also bring diverse and innovative perspectives and unique skill sets that can inject creativity into projects. According to a study from the University of Waterloo, young people between the ages of 15-25 have a variety of traits that make them great innovators and organizations who engage them will be more likely to find solutions to societal challenges. From a community perspective, it’s beneficial to build intergenerational relationships to ensure knowledge transfer and the cross-pollination of ideas that can also help to develop solutions to pressing community problems.

If we expect young people to turn into adults who are engaged in community, we need to give them opportunities to be involved and have a voice from an early age. Youth engagement in volunteerism may also play a role in having the workforce shift to the middle. If we look for ways to engage young people, they are more likely to become future leaders who want to have a positive community impact. Even if these youth don’t end up working in the nonprofit sector, this early engagement may shift their business practices.

Challenges in youth volunteer engagement

Through our various youth engagement initiatives at Pillar, we have seen first hand the challenges that youth face in finding volunteer opportunities. First, while there are many organizations who see the benefits of working with younger people, there are still those who won’t engage them as they feel they are unreliable or require too much attention. There is work to be done towards eliminating this age bias and helping organizations understand how to engage with young people and how they can learn together.

Youth volunteerism initiatives at Pillar

Supporting youth volunteerism has been an important part of our programming over the years including the ChangeTheWorld Youth Volunteer program and the Canada Life (formerly London Life) Young Leaders Program. Unfortunately as with all nonprofits, our programming is funding dependant, but our approach to engaging youth is built into our diversity and inclusion practices across our organization. Going forward, we will also continue to make presentations at local schools and drive young people to use our online volunteer portal.

If we expect young people to turn into adults who are engaged in community, we need to give them opportunities to be involved and have a voice from an early age. Youth engagement in volunteerism may also play a role in having the workforce shift to the middle. If we look for ways to engage young people, they are more likely to become future leaders who want to have a positive community impact.

More recently, we have been partnering with the London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) because they are a youth focused organization – who were established and run by youth – and are on the pulse of engaging youth meaningfully. A recent joint partnership will be providing nonprofits with knowledge and insight about how to best engage young people in leadership positions in their nonprofits. We will lean on the organizations who connect with youth daily, learn from them and share this knowledge with other nonprofits. 

For over 10 years, we participated in the ChangeTheWorld Youth Volunteer program with a core focus on supporting students to complete their 40 hours of volunteer service. Pillar has worked towards this goal through developing relationships with schools and community groups, creating marketing materials about volunteerism and delivering presentations to students about volunteering. Over the years, the program has included other youth outreach elements. In recent years, we have supported indigenous youth leadership, hosted career talks with a youth focus, connected students to community engaged learning opportunities, and partnered with the London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to develop a Youth Action Team and host a mentorship day. In the past 10 years, there have been 18,064 youth involved in ChangeTheWorld who have contributed 78,232 volunteer hours. In 2018, the program shifted to focus on supporting youth who had barriers to volunteering and included 322 participants, accounted for 1548 volunteer hours, and lead to 100 percent satisfaction for volunteers. All participants also expressed their experiences helped them with future employment and that they would continue to volunteer going forward.

Another way we support the development of young leaders in our community is through the Canada Life Young Leaders program. Our network approach led us to partner with LYAC again on this program. This program provides young people with the opportunity to learn about community leadership by being at decision-making tables and participating in learning workshops with the goal to give them a solid understanding of how decisions are made to achieve organizational and community impact. As a result of this program, nonprofit boards in the city now have access to a strong group of young leaders who can provide their perspective and bring an innovation mindset to the table.

2017 marked another significant event in our youth engagement strategy when we hosted the Governor General for a facilitated discussion with young people on the topic of “New Ways of Engaging Youth and New Canadians in Volunteering and Community Change”. This discussion explored how social innovation can lead to new ways of engaging our young leaders and newcomers in smart and caring ways that lead to deep community change. In follow up, the young people created a working group to explore how Pillar could better engage with them on social media and made recommendations that included using Instagram as our primary social media platform, which we are currently exploring. 

Organizations who want to attract young volunteers also need to ensure that they are providing meaningful opportunities and that they can dedicate time to mentoring. Too often, young people find that opportunities are not all they hoped for because not enough time and attention has been dedicated to supporting the volunteers. There also needs to be more paid work opportunities for young people who would otherwise not be able to volunteer their time due to having to support their families. Unfortunately at this time, sustained funding for these jobs is difficult to find.

Top tips for engaging youth in volunteerism
  1. Consider your language – Whether you are addressing a crowd, developing online communications or creating brochures, make sure that the language you’re using is accessible to young people and not intimidating.
  2. Use the right platform – Technology is always changing and so are the preferred social media platforms of young people. Keep up with the trends and make sure you are putting your time into platforms that your audience is using.
  3. Think about barriers  – There are certain unique barriers that may make it challenging for young people to volunteer. Consider how you could accommodate their needs whether it be scheduling around school hours, providing a meal, or offering bus tickets.

  4. Be flexible – Most younger people have busy schedules between school, work and family obligations. Try to provide diverse programs with different options for time availability. 

  5. Stay open – Embrace new ideas and different cultural perspectives that can enrich your organization. Look at new roles that could be established to fit the unique skills that your volunteer can offer.

  6. Provide purposeful work – When young people are given responsibility and autonomy they find the experience most meaningful as opposed to just doing busywork. 

  7. Recognize cultural differences – Be sensitive to both culture and subcultural differences that exist in your volunteer base and look for ways you can learn from them.

  8. Look beyond numbers to measure impact – When evaluating volunteer programs, do not look to numbers alone to evaluate the success of your programs. Instead go deeper to look at the value and connections young people gained from the collaboration.