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Position: Director, Volunteer Engagement
Organization: Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA)
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

About us

The Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA) jointly operates the VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory with the City of Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board). Our mission is to inspire understanding of the vital importance of plants to all life through the excellence of our botanical collections, programs and practices. In short: we do what we do because plants matter.

The VBGA is responsible for a number of key programs in the Garden and the Conservatory, including interpretation and education; fundraising and marketing; and volunteer engagement. For example, in 2014, the association directly contributed more than $850,000 and close to 60,000 volunteer hours to the operation of the Garden and the Conservatory thanks to contributions from dedicated donors, volunteers and other supporters.

Our volunteer program has a rich history that dates back to the creation of the Garden in 1975. Today, we deploy 1,100 volunteers in a range of activities that define the visitor experience in the Garden and the Conservatory, augment program reach thanks to volunteer expertise and commitment, and provide significant operating efficiencies for both the VBGA and Park Board. But we also know that we must adjust the program to the realities of volunteering in Vancouver and act strategically to ensure our shared future success. As a result, the association is seeking to hire a new Volunteer Engagement Director.

The Role

The Volunteer Engagement Director is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the VBGA’s volunteer engagement program, and of approximately 1,100 volunteers at VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory.


Volunteer planning

  • With the Executive Director, the Director ensures that strategic, volunteer planning conversations are taking place within the organization on an ongoing basis
  • Build central process for volunteer planning, provide the technology and tools to document the volunteer plan and facilitate the volunteer planning process with department leads to strategically identify needs and opportunities
  • With the Executive Director, fosters and promotes a “one team” approach to volunteer engagement within the organization
  • Working with program leads, identifies and defines new volunteer roles

Recruitment and screening

  • The Director ensures that volunteer recruitment is integrated across the whole organization, and that strategies for internal and external recruitment are in place
  • Takes a holistic approach to working with volunteers, and ensures that strategies are in place for engaging donors, partners/sponsors and other community partners
  • Develops and leads screening processes specific to individual volunteer roles, and ensures that department leads are involved in defining the screening criteria

Orientation and training

  • Ensures that all volunteers receive a general orientation to the VBGA and Park Board, the Garden and the Conservatory
  • Ensures that job-specific training is planned in advance and is implemented consistently and strategically across all roles and departments

Supervision and support

  • Puts in place a framework for the proactive and strategic planning for how the Volunteer Engagement team and/or other department leads will support and supervise the work of individual volunteers
  • Ensures that the proper tools are available to all relevant staff to participate and, where appropriate, lead volunteer supervision


  • Leads and oversees regularly executed feedback programs to ensure that volunteers are receiving both in-the-moment feedback and participate in regular performance related conversations as well
  • Works with the entire VBGA team to ensure that feedback from volunteers is heard and, where appropriate, acted upon
  • Oversees the various communications channels with volunteers and ensures that the range of tools used are appropriate, functioning and of value to the volunteer community

Recognition and appreciation

  • Guided by a recognition strategy and on behalf of the team, takes the lead on ensuring that all volunteers are recognized in a way that is meaningful to them
  • Supports all members of the team to identify and execute volunteer recognition formally and informally


  • Ensures that volunteer satisfaction and engagement is evaluated annually, and on a project/event basis
  • Uses survey data and trends to inform future planning


  • Is responsible for leveraging technology for the purposes of volunteer cultivation, tracking, scheduling and training
  • Works with the Executive Director to identify gaps in use with current available technology already in the organization, as well as new technology that the organization should consider adopting to support its Volunteer Engagement program and strategic objectives

Leadership development

  • The Director leads the VBGA’s effort to regularly train and coach VBGA staff to work effectively with volunteers.
  • With the Executive Director, ensures that volunteer engagement is incorporated into all position descriptions and that staff and volunteers are appropriately held accountable

Volunteer Engagement Planning

  • Works with the Executive Director to set annual objectives and an operational plan for the Volunteer Engagement department, including metrics for measuring success
  • Leads an annual evaluation of the Volunteer Engagement department, including a volunteer satisfaction survey, and incorporates the results into the operational plan
  • Leads, manages and retains a Volunteer Engagement team of volunteers to support the day-to-day operations of the department

Qualifications, experience and attributes

Education and Training

  • Undergraduate degree preferred, including human resources, event management, or project management programs
  • Nonprofit management diploma/certificate specializing in volunteer management an asset
  • Ongoing education including workshops and conferences to keep up with changing trends

Required skills and competencies

  • Leadership/management skills
  • Communication and human resource skills
  • High degree of proficiency with technology including MS Office Suite, database systems, social media
  • Must be a “people person” and demonstrate the ability to connect with people and tap into what motivates and excites them
  • Ability to work independently without supervision


  • 5 years of experience in a nonprofit environment or related field
  • Personal volunteer experience in a variety of settings
  • Experience in managing staff, volunteers and resources
  • Must be familiar with and/or had previous exposure to the Imagine Canada Standards as they apply to Volunteer Engagement as well as the CCVI’s engagement and assessment tools

Salary is commensurate with experience. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

How to apply

Qualified applicants are invited to submit their covering letter and resume as a single PDF document to the attention of the Executive Director, no later than close of business May 1, 2016.

Submissions should be emailed to:
smitchell mask*
using the subject line: VBGA VE Director posting

Thank you!

Thank you in advance for your interest in this position. All applicants will be kept apprised of their progress through our screening and interview process in a timely manner.

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*Note: The e-mail address above has been masked to help prevent spam. Please copy the address and replace “mask” with @ .

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GoodWork ID: 39801       Date posted to Apr 18 2017