Volunteer Advisors needed – Vancouver Foundation

Vancouver Foundation

Volunteer Advisors needed!


Purpose of Assignment

Vancouver Foundation values community-informed decision-making. One of Vancouver Foundation’s most visible activities is making grants that support charitable programs. The role of the Volunteer Advisor is to bring community perspective into grantmaking, to help identify pressing issues and trends, to assess proposals and ensure that the most socially innovative projects receive funding, and to add value to the process by providing feedback.

Volunteer Advisors bring relevant expertise from across British Columbia and generously volunteer their time and energy to help shape the work of the Foundation and to ensure that it remains in touch with the communities it serves. For Vancouver’s Mission, Values and Core Beliefs: https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/about-us/vision-values


Key Tasks

  • As a Volunteer Advisor, you will be called upon to:
  • Review applications for funding and make funding recommendations to staff, committee members and Board
  • Provide professional perspectives regarding trends and issues influencing the Foundation’s work, and provide input into priorities of grantmaking
  • Demonstrate active participation which includes preparation, attendance, punctuality, ensuring confidentiality, respectful conduct, and responsive, timely communication with staff, committee members and Board


Time Commitment

Advisors serve for a two-year term, which can be renewed once for a total of four years, and must participate in application review a minimum of twice per annual funding cycle. Meetings are held by teleconference for first stage application review and in person for second stage review. The in-person meeting is typically held in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to application review, an annual halfday planning meeting and day-long volunteer gathering may also be part of the commitment.


Skill Requirements


  • Considerable experience/knowledge in one or more Fields of Interest
  • An interest and commitment to innovative solutions for complex systemic challenges
  • Ability to analyze, critique and understand emerging issues relevant to the sector
  • Previous committee, board or leadership experience
  • Strong communication skills, tact, and diplomacy
  • Ability to seek to understand a diversity of viewpoints
  • Accountability and adaptability
  • Ability to use web-based software applications
  • Understanding of basic meeting procedures/protocol


Other desired knowledge/experience of:

  • Social innovation; that is, initiatives that change or influence a social system by addressing the root cause(s) that created the complex issue in the first place, or that is holding it in place
  • Vancouver Foundation and/or other community foundations
  • Program/project development, design, implementation
  • Strategic planning and outcome evaluation
  • Grant making and/or grant writing
  • Not-for-profit sector
  • Government policies, processes, and programs
  • Business – development, financial management, communications
  • Other communities (e.g. ethnic, socio-economic, under-represented)



In this position, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Use your strengths and skills to make recommendations to support charitable programs and qualified donees that are working towards social change
  • Learn about the charitable sector and social innovation expressed through applications that you will review and are provided to you by staff
  • Meet new people, network and collaborate with other Volunteer Advisors, staff, and Board
  • Be publicly acknowledged for your contributions

Please be advised that the Foundation’s Act states in 20.2 that, “No salary or reward or profit of any kind may be paid or given to any member of an advisory committee”.


What to expect from Vancouver Foundation

Staff are available as needed for support and guidance to:

  • Orient you to Vancouver Foundation and the granting process to enable you to be knowledgeable, engaged and participatory
  • Correspond with you regarding meeting materials and process
  • Inform you about Vancouver Foundation’s goals, strategy, and direction
  • Provide you with the key information such as: Field of Interest guidelines, Terms of Reference, Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest, and policies related to expenses and travel
  • Arrange for communication and travel needs, including conference call support, online grant management system access, bookings and reimbursements as required



Volunteer Advisors provide support to Vancouver Foundation’s grant making teams and are accountable to the Board of Directors through its Grants and Community Initiatives Committee. All funding recommendations are informed by the input of Volunteer Advisors on a project’s merit, its alignment to current funding priorities, and its likelihood of success. Final decisions for funding requests are made by the CEO and/or the Board of Directors. Funding recommendations cannot exceed the amount of budgeted income available at the time of consideration.


The primary staff liaison to Volunteer Advisors is the Manager for the program area most relevant to the volunteer’s experience. Feedback mechanisms are through the Director, Field of Interest, Grants & Community Initiatives.