So you want to volunteer. Where to begin? Here's a three-step checklist to get you started.
Before you start volunteering, ask yourself the following questions:
What do I expect from a volunteering experience?
What are my personal goals?
What are the talents, abilities and skills I want to share or develop?
When am I available?
How long a commitment am I willing to make? (regular activity, short-term commitment, one-day event?)
What type of cause do I want to contribute to? Do I want to support a specific clientele? (If you had all the resources necessary, what problem would you want to solve? What would you do with your time? Your answers may point to a cause that matters to you.)
How far am I willing to travel? Do I want to volunteer close to home, close to work or school?
What kind of environment do I prefer to work in? (indoors? outdoors?)
Applying for a volunteer opportunity can be a lot like applying for a job. Once you’ve found an opportunity that interests you, reach out to the organization.
Every LIVE Centre volunteer opportunity posting will include information on who you should contact at the organization and what information they need.
It’s common for organizations to ask you to fill out a form, send your CV, or write an email expressing your interest. Some organizations might also ask you to do an interview or a background check before you start volunteering.
Volunteer experience is the perfect way to gain and demonstrate transferrable skills, from specific job-related skills to soft skills.
Volunteering equips you with great examples that demonstrate to a future employer just what kind of contribution you can make to their organization.
Mention some of the skills below that you developed as a volunteer in your CV, highlight the relevance of your volunteer experiences in your cover letter and prepare to discuss them during your interviews.
(listening, verbal, written)
Doing accompaniments or friendly visits can help you build your active listening skills. You can also choose to volunteer in a setting where you can practice a new language.
Any volunteering tasks where you deal with the public or work as part of a team will provide examples of how you are able to work well with others and deal with conflict.
Volunteering is an opportunity to work with people from a diversity of backgrounds and to learn more about social issues.
As a volunteer, you represent an organization. By taking your role and engagement seriously you can demonstrate your professionalism.
Adding volunteer activities to your already busy schedule shows that you are organized and able to handle several commitments responsibly.
Problem-solving and creativity
Most non-profits work with the reality of limited resources. Attaining your goals within this context often requires creativity.
You can propose your own projects, for example, organizing a fundraising initiative for a cause you care about.
Dedication and positive attitude
Volunteer work is a commitment that can show you go above and beyond. By choosing to get involved in a cause you believe in, you will bring positive energy to the organization.