Looking for a Volunteer Position but don't know what you want to do?
Browse the positions below to get an idea of the various types of positions available to you. Then, click on the link to see a list of the current opportunities in that area!
Advocacy involves the act of bringing important issues to the forefront and connecting to the most worthwhile stakeholders and decisions makers, speaking directly to them or carrying out the message by various other means to compel that person(s) to do something that will make a positive difference. Advocacy Volunteers work on behalf of a specific group that needs an outside voice for support, encouragement, backing, sponsorship and promotion. This can be done through many activities such as researching important contacts making phone calls, writing articles/letters/ information on website(s), talking to individuals/groups. It’s a great way to make a positive difference for a person or organization.
Animal Care Positions
Volunteers who enjoy working with animals or who plan on a career in, for example, veterinary medicine, zoology, pet grooming or wildlife conservation will find a variety of opportunities that contribute to animal welfare. As a volunteer you'll join a network of people working to protect, foster, adopt and/or rehabilitate animals. Activities could involve rescue efforts, feeding, fostering, monitoring, transporting, walking, cleaning cages, responding to questions about animals and/or their habitat and special fundraising initiatives for animal care.
Artistic Work/Crafting Positions
Share artistic talents such as drawing, painting, woodworking, knitting or sewing. Apply your hobbies or special interests and work with groups of seniors, children, or youth, etc. Help them gain a fresh interest, learn a new artistic or crafting skill. Whether as a teacher engaged in stimulating others in imaginative, inventive activities or finding an outlet for your own creative expression and ideas, this could be a real fun and rewarding experience. Even if your talents are somewhat limited at the beginning, your enthusiasm and creative spirit can provide support for an activity that could be of great help to staff or other volunteers taking the “artistic lead”. Other opportunities for volunteers may involve setting up art exhibits or assisting with art therapy programs.
Boards of Directors are the legal authority for non profit organizations and are committed to the work of their non-profit/charity organization. Board Members are responsible for the effective governance of the organization. Most non-profit organizations seek Board Members with business backgrounds in Administration, Finance, Human Resources, Fundraising or Marketing plus previous experience in the community. Be a part of the bigger picture and use your professional background in a worthwhile capacity to help an organization meet and even exceed its obligations. Some organizations establish Committees to carry out functions relating to Board activities or special projects. Examples may be fundraising committees, event planning committees or special youth committees/councils.
Care Giving/Health Care Support Positions
Healthcare is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by the medical and allied health professions. Volunteers provide a support service to individuals and their caregivers by assisting with meals, providing spiritual/emotional encouragement to clients and their family, recreational support, respite care and basic assistance with daily activities. If you have an interest in the healthcare industry, you can volunteer at a local hospital, hospice, rehabilitation centre, clinic, long term/palliative care facility, an individual’s home or on the streets of the city.
Childcare is a service involving the care, safety, security and overall well being of other people’s children who range in age from infancy to teen. Children can be healthy and active or could have special needs. Sometimes the service is provided in the parent’s absence and other times it is carried out in partnership with the parent/guardian. Childcare programs include stimulation, exercise, crafting, playing games, and other support or creative activities. Be involved in various aspects of childcare centres/drop-in programs including helping to organize and facilitate activities, set-up/clean-up and snack preparation and serving. Excellent opportunity for those planning a related career or for those who enjoy children and want to re-connect with their own inner child.
From the spoken word to the printed word to digitization, volunteers can choose their area(s) of communication expertise and apply their unique skills. Transmit thoughts, ideas, views, concepts and design in person, over the phone or through the Internet. Manipulate, process, mix, and deliver using your technical and/or creative abilities. Enlighten, inform and transform through the media, social media, video, signage, text or oratory. Bring your ingenuity to develop new and better ways to connect causes and organizations to their community and stakeholders. Volunteer on a short or long term basis, on site or virtual. Have fun and make things happen.
Counselling involves exchanging opinions and ideas, giving advice or guidance to an individual or a small group in a leadership or assistant capacity. In the role of “counselor” the volunteer would be a knowledgeable person with some amount of expertise who would be able to guide the client(s) to help solve the problem/situation. Being a good listener and non-judgmental are important requirements. Training is provided for volunteers so they are competent to counsel clients through, for example, a transition, distress call or rehabilitation process.
Mentoring partners a senior or more experienced individual with a junior person or an individual who may be new to the country and in need of support to make strong community connections to become more established. The “mentor” acts as advisor, coach or guide in the relationship so that the “protégé” is able to overcome difficulties, make adjustments and reach potential. In both of these roles, the volunteer becomes a positive influence, but also learns a great deal through the experience of the relationship.
Fundraising is the life blood of nonprofit organizations and a multi-faceted concept. Those that get involved in this important type of volunteering need to understand the significance of the relationship between the organization and its potential donors and respect all the elements of a well-planned and orchestrated fundraising plan/program. Volunteers can do a variety of activities from mailings and promotional campaigns, to contacting donors by phone to organizing/co-ordinating events, supporting various fundraising activities or researching potential grants, bursaries, foundations and preparing proposals. Fundraising volunteers bring their passion, energy, community contacts, marketing abilities and sales skills to these positions.
Emergency Response Positions
These are the volunteers called upon in cases of emergency, alerts, extreme weather conditions and adversity. They respond to the needs of people in distress and misfortune. It could be as simple as handing out food and/or water, blankets or cold weather kits to people who live on the street or as complex as responding to a disaster within the immediate community or some distance outside the GTA. It may involve a search/rescue or reassuring those who have undergone a stressful/traumatic experience. Training is provided to volunteers so they are equipped to respond to different emergency situations. Coming with a current First Aid/CPR Certificate and an ability to keep cool in a crisis is always helpful.
It’s show time. Volunteers can showcase their talents and abilities to entertain various audiences – seniors, children, participants at a fundraiser or special event. Musicians, disc jockeys, magicians, singers, dancers, storytellers are needed to perform, lead sing-a-longs and provide accompaniment at worship services. There are long and short term opportunities, weekdays, evenings or weekends. Spread a little joy and help create a social and pleasurable environment by donating the gift of your talent. Volunteers will often have to provide their own instrument/equipment, but in some cases, the agency will arrange for this.
Event and Facility – General Assistance Positions
These volunteers work either behind the scenes of an event – decorating, loading/unloading or setting-up/taking down. They are the ones who greet, provide information, serve, wrap, porter or socialize. They get down in the dirt to do plantings or clean-ups or are right out front asking for donations. It’s a great way to get involved in festive, entertaining, educational and, often, fundraising events! Most of the events are short term, although some need some pre-planning and arranging. This role may require some dexterity, long hours standing and lots of team work. Individuals, groups, friends and family can often participate together, help out and have fun.
Event Planning Positions
Event Planners plan, organize and co-ordinate festivals, parades, conferences, openings, rallies, fund raisers, special/recognition events, meetings, seminars, exhibitions and galas. As an Event Planner you can volunteer for short-term placements, some being only a few hours or 1 day, and work on a project for a special occasion or holiday celebration. Longer term support could be helping staff who are heading up a major conference or festival that could be a yearly event or a years-long undertaking. The planning team could be comprised of people from various businesses, industries, government or education facilities or may consist of special age groups such as youth or seniors.
Volunteers will take on a leadership role in order to encourage interaction within a group session/workshop. Participants seek to gain information or alter their behaviour in a positive way. Facilitators play a role of moderator, establishing an open, welcoming atmosphere so that views can be exchanged freely and outcomes reached. Good listening and feedback skills are a must so that the interactions remain lively and that equal contributions are made by all participants. Facilitation and Mediation roles result in a solution being reached that addresses a problem, situation, personal issue or, in the case of mediation, resolving a conflict or negotiating an agreement. Excellent verbal communication skills, an awareness of current events//trends relating to the issue/situation, ability to clarify and summarize comments and stages in the process and the capability to build trust and rapport at the initial stage of the workshop/discussion/dispute. Volunteers will have the opportunity to be involved in many types of scenarios that call for their particular talent.
Chefs, Cooks, Bakers and Food Preparation Volunteers prepare, season and cook/bake a variety of foods—from soups, snacks, and salads to entrees, side dishes, and desserts— at various non-profit organizations. From simple tasks such as slicing, cleaning and dishing out meals to putting the final touches on a cake or gourmet meal – it’s up to you, your background and confidence in a kitchen. For some, the opportunity will involve sharing your gastronomy skills by instructing a cooking class or overseeing a nutrition program. Food Service/Kitchen Assistants may be involved in setting/clearing tables, grocery shopping and connecting with community resources such as food banks to help augment the food budget. Knowledge of food storage, hygiene and kitchen safety are important for these positions, but often training is provided.
Goods Collection/Distribution Positions
In order to meet the needs of clients within their community, agencies often provide various necessary items that are either free or at a very low cost to clients as part of their service or outreach program. These items are often donated by corporations and other donors so that there is often a combination of new and used provisions. Volunteers are needed to help unload/load, sort, stock, clean, pack and distribute these items ranging from health/hygiene/safety supplies, education/information kits, to clothing for infants through to seniors and non-perishable food items and household goods for individuals and families as well as gift items for individuals around the holiday season. There are also the big items such furniture and appliance that is needed for anyone in transition or unable to afford the luxury of retail. Volunteers help with to connect the item(s) with the clients who are in need.
Info-line/Information and Referral Positions
These volunteers have the ability to communicate so effectively that it can make a significant difference in people’s lives, They use skills to help people in the midst of a crisis, listen to their problems, comfort those who are lonely and isolated or provide assistance to those who have to find out more information in order to take the next step. Sometimes these duties are carried out at a centre, a kiosk, a bus terminal, an airport and other times the service can be done from home. The support is provided in person, by phone or even by e-mail. Volunteers share their knowledge of the city, its resources, places of interest, accommodations with travelers, newcomers and others who need to know. They also respond to questions for assistance dealing with health, disability or crisis issues. In certain cases, volunteers participate in mandatory, comprehensive training programs before engaging in their role.
Various organizations establish in-house libraries to provide a service for their clients whether it’s for seniors, children or individuals who can benefit from the resources the library provides. For children it could be reading materials, a storyteller and toys. For seniors it could be books, videos, CDs that they can borrow while in residence. It could be a language library for a specific community or a medical library with materials relating to certain illnesses/diseases, conditions or disabilities. Tasks can include organizing, re-shelving materials, tracking through a data base, researching, helping check out materials, and assisting with set-up or taking part in various activities run through the particular library. Managing/Co-ordinating Positions (NEW) Often non-profit organizations, especially those who are newly formed or totally volunteer driven, require the services and expertise of business/industry professionals to take the helm and guide and drive the organization. For volunteers in management/co-ordinating roles, there has to be a true “connect” to the type of organization, its programs/services and a deep understanding and passion for building success, connecting to community and media, developing strategies and engaging and supporting volunteers. These opportunities are best suited for those who demonstrate strong leadership skills, are available to make a long term commitment, bring a wealth of experience, networks and resources and the ability to communicate with individuals from all walks of life.
Office positions can be as simple as packaging and mailing materials, to greeting guests and providing information or as complex as preparing legal documents or financial reports. Individuals can apply their computer, organizational, administrative, customer service or accounting expertise and learn some additional office skills in the process. These are the important “behind the scenes” positions for non-profits as, in most cases, they do not involve direct contact with client services.
Photos and film capture the story behind the busy volunteer, the unique event or the distinctive place. Many agencies need to preserve happenings at community events or within their agency – taking group or individual picture of volunteers, board members, staff or clients. This is a great way to share your digital photography/videography abilities, build your portfolio, meet some people and take part in covering some excellent events. Photographs/videos can be used for displays, newsletters, websites, “memory” books/projects etc. Some agencies will provide equipment (camera/video) and others require you have your own. Good verbal communication skills, enthusiasm and often development/computer skills are important.
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