Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN)

The Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN) offers volunteer professionals the chance to meet other individuals in Itasca County who are involved in the recruitment, retention, and leadership of volunteers. Membership is free, with each member taking an active role in strengthening the network.


The Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN) meets quarterly. Meetings present a chance for members to get to know each other, share their challenges and successes, and identify opportunities for collaboration and improvement. Network members contribute to the network by hosting meetings, presenting on various topics, attending brainstorming sessions, and/or responding to information requests.

Upcoming Meeting(s):

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2024
9-11 a.m.
Location: Grand Rapids Area Library
(140 NE 2nd St, Grand Rapids)


Previous Hosts:

Reif Performing Arts Center (720 NW Conifer Dr., Grand Rapids, MN)
Children’s Discovery Museum
(2727 Pokegama Ave. S, Grand Rapids, MN)
Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital (1601 Golf Course Rd., Grand Rapids, MN)

As outlined in our 2022-2027 Impact Goals, United Way aims to strengthen volunteerism across the Itasca area. Through this work, we aim to support volunteer engagement professionals through peer networking, training, and resources to help recruit, retain, and engage volunteers to better deliver on their missions.

We offer capacity building opportunities that are free for any nonprofit organization to utilize:

  • Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN)
    The Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN) offers volunteer professionals the chance to meet other individuals in Itasca County who are involved in the recruitment, retention, and leadership of volunteers. Membership is free; each member is expected to contribute to the growth of the VCN by hosting a meeting, presenting on a topic, attending brainstorming sessions, responding to information requests, etc.

  • Volunteer Opportunities Database
    In 2020, United Way launched Bonfire, the Itasca Area’s hub for nonprofit volunteer service opportunities. The platform provides an all-in-one platform for managing volunteer opportunities and documenting community engagement. Projects are available for individuals and groups alike. By registering your organization, you have access to a variety of resources, including:

    • Organizational profile on the site
    • Promotion of volunteer and project opportunities, as well as job openings and events
    • Corporate and group volunteering
    • Receive ongoing volunteer referrals through the site and inclusion in marketing efforts
    • Engage, manage, track and report volunteer hours virtually from anywhere (cloud-based)
    • Training and support from United Way staff

create profile

If you’d like to learn more about resources available to nonprofit organizations in the region, we invite you to visit our Nonprofit Resources page, create an organizational profile on Bonfire, or sign up for nonprofit updates. You can also connect with us at 218-999-7570 or info@uwlakes.org.

In addition to our own initiatives, United Way collects and compiles additional tools and opportunities that may be helpful to volunteer coordinators in the region.

Networking & Professional Development Opportunities

8 Strategies for Creating a More Inclusive Volunteer Program
The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) has spent the last year researching the challenges, barriers and best practices for volunteers from immigrant and diverse communities. While this project focused particularly on government organizations, the findings can largely be applied across both government and nonprofit entities . Learn more

Minnesota Regional Alliances
Regional Alliances are networking meetings for volunteer engagement leaders across Minnesota – MAVA membership is not required to attend. Meetings are offered by region to give you the opportunity to connect with other leaders in your geographical area and discuss different topics related to your work in volunteer engagement. With in-person and virtual options and a variety of meeting topics, there is something for everyone! While the meetings are offered by region, anyone from any part of the state is welcome to attend any meeting, whether it is in-person or virtual. Learn more

People-first Language Guide
Inclusive language conveys respect to all people, promotes belonging, and seeks to disrupt the social norms perpetuating injustice. Inclusive language avoids bias, steers clear of words and sayings that give offense or cause harm, and affirms multiple aspects of human identity. When organizations adopt inclusive language practices, it makes a difference both inside and out. Internally, it helps create a space where people can bring their full selves to the work of the organization, unlocking the potential of diverse teams. Externally, inclusive language models demonstrate a commitment to fairness, inclusion, and accessibility. Learn more

Find more resources for nonprofits on our Nonprofit Resources page.

Volunteer Portal

The Itasca area's volunteer portal ignites action in Itasca-area communities, connecting nonprofit organizations with dedicated, caring volunteers throughout the region.

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