Propellus (Volunteer Centre of Calgary)

Propellus is the volunteer and capacity building centre of Calgary. We promote volunteerism and connect people with volunteer opportunities and we connect our 450 member organizations to help us all work together. We strengthen organizations so they can engage volunteers and work effectively.

Our Story Why We Exist

Our neighbours have great ideas. They are passionate. They have initiative. They work or volunteer in organizations doing amazing things for Calgary, reducing poverty, caring for animals, creativing a vibrant arts scene. We help them do things like measure their impact, attract investment, engage volunteers, run their operation effectively and engage a board.

When they do those things well, they are free to apply their passion, enthusiasm, and  care in our community.

We understand that in order to have a thriving, engaged community, we need to be part of community. We partner with organizations, we amplify messages that need to be heard, and we care - like you do - about making Calgary a great place for everyone.

We exist to create a thriving, engaged Calgary. We do that by being voice of volunteerism in community. We lead collaboration with a bias towards action. We strengthen organizations, by leading and demonstrating strong capacity.

We know that some people face barriers to getting involved, we seek to remove barriers, to work as a bridge between individuals and organizations in Calgary so its easy to do something, to get engaged to make Calgary a better place for all of us.

Team collaboratingOur Impact What We Do

Our organization is over 60 years old and was founded by a group of volunteers, the Junior League of Calgary. The organization has been shaped by Calgary, growing as the spirit of volunteerism flourished after the 1988 olympicis. Currently we have 9 staff and about 30 volunteers who work with us to be the volunteer and capacity building centre of Calgary called Propellus.

Why are we called Propellus? We meet people, ideas, and organizations where they are at and help to propel them forward. Our bias is to do this through collaborations in partnerships. Our process is relational and our best approach is to start with a conversation. 

We work alongside engaged Calgarians to make sure the difference they make has the best chance to have the impact they are aiming for. We are catalysts for growth, collaboration and connections. We know that the strength of people with good ideas and the will to make a difference is amplified when we can work together to make Calgary better for everyone.

Our 2015 Annual Results:

  • 1,657 volunteer opportunities posted* (*via the Propellus volunteer database)
  • 188 peer learning participants utilized our services
  • 39,298 touchpoints for our services (i.e., Consulting engagements, events, face-to-face meetings, peer learning communities, training participants, Wire (e-newsletter))

I keep coming back to Propellus because they are the best at what they do; I have developed relationships with some of the people and they know how we operate… [the] staff make me feel important, welcomed, listened to and understood.                                                                                - Sue Holt, North East Family Connections

Propellus uses a collaboartive, integrated approachOur Programs How We Do It

The volunteer and capacity building centre of Calgary:

  • Promotes volunteerism in Calgary through our twitter feed of over 21,000 followers on @volunteercal
  • Promotes our member organizations and partnerships through our newsletter, the wire, which reaches over 10,000 people working and volunteering in Calgary's nonprofit sector.
  • Connects Calgarians with opportunities to volunteer through our list of over 700 active and available positions in Calgary.
  • Connects people who work with our member organizations with free opportunities to learn and share from each other's experience.
  • Facilitates ideas and collaboration. From sitting down to help someone who wants to understand where to get started, to connecting organizations who want to work together on a similar idea. We provide the neutral backbone support to help connections  and community synergies grow.
  • Assesses organizations, providing them a reflection on their opportunities for growth and connect them to resources to help them do it themselves for free.
  • Provides training for staff and volunteers of organizations in Calgary to improve their skills in management, organizational leadership, and board governance.
  • Deep dives with organizations, providing consulting services to deliver on projects that build the capacity of an organization
  • Shows up for communitiy and joins in the conversations that help to progress capacity building and volunteerism in Calgary.

Every bit helpsOur Requests What You Can Do

Know someone who wants to get something started in Calgary? Let us help connect them to like minded individuals. Are you aware of a nonprofit who could use a boost in capacity? We want to dive in with them to help.

  • Not sure where to volunteer? Give us a call to chat.
  • Have a cool idea and just want to talk? Yeah, that's us too.

Make a Donation 

Staff and volunteers in non-profit organizations rely on bursaries and grants in order to access expertise and training to strengthen their organization and achieve their missions.

A donation to Propellus is a donation to strengthen our over 500 nonprofit and charitable members in Calgary and area.

Gift Level / Gift Impact

  • $10,000 / Long-term strategic plan
  • $7,500 / Board of Governors training and development
  • $5,000 / Program design to ensure clear measurable outcomes
  • $2,500 / Two full days of work with an expert to change organization culture
  • $1,000 / Community of practice event including facilitation and hosting
  • $500 / One-on-one coaching on results of an organization assessment
  • $100 / Membership with Propellus for a mid-sized organization


Doug Watson
President and CEO
Charitable Number: 108186305RR0001

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