Volunteering Your Time to the Institute: Why Not?

By Jacques Lafrance, FCIA
CIA President

The Institute does not keep statistics on the number of hours spent by its volunteers on its various activities. That being said, this number is currently very high—possibly the highest in the Institute’s history, thanks to all the projects being carried out by our councils, committees, and task forces. The same can be said about the amount of work being done by Head Office staff. We should consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to rely on our volunteers and the valuable contributions they make. I would like to congratulate them and thank them most kindly for these contributions.

I am not expecting this level of effort to abate. On the contrary, I feel the opposite is most likely, given the myriad projects underway or in the pipeline. For example, providing our members with guidance material on projects involving the new accounting rules for insurance companies will see many of our volunteers put in a lot of extra hours. What’s more, our Board has adopted a series of long-term strategic objectives that can be characterized as ambitious, and meeting these objectives will require a concerted effort on the part of several groups of volunteers. So, much remains to be done, and you’re always welcome to lend a hand.

There are all sorts of good reasons to donate your time to Institute activities. To learn more, please have a look at the Volunteer Centre section of the Institute’s website. There are many advantages to volunteering for the Institute, both for the volunteer’s career and for their employer. Moreover, taking part in group discussions is often an excellent opportunity to accumulate eligible hours toward meeting your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

The Institute offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities. A number of committees have a technical vocation, geared to helping our members deliver high-quality services. Others carry out activities relating to project management, public relations, or communications at the Institute. Last but not least are the groups focusing on issues of professional conduct, training, eligibility, and development of new areas of practice. There truly is something for everybody and every ability.

Many members hesitate to volunteer on account of the number of hours it takes. True, certain groups are demanding from an effort standpoint. But these same groups would likely be thrilled to accept additional help, and the more members they have, the lighter the load on each. On the flip side, a number of groups require only a relatively modest effort on the part of their members. So in this sense too there’s something for everyone.

Many volunteers got their start contributing to a project or group with a fairly light workload. With their appetite thus whetted, they then sought out other opportunities to volunteer for the Institute.

If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to get your feet wet by joining one of our many volunteer groups. For further information on volunteer opportunities, feel free to contact the Institute’s volunteer services personnel.

Jacques Lafrance, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires