Why work for free? The value of volunteering

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Volunteering is contributing your time, resources, energy and talent to an organization without monetary compensation. Yes, it is working for free. However, you usually decide how much time you can give and when you will work.

Why volunteer?

Aside from sharing in the Canadian tradition of giving back to the community (and having the satisfaction of knowing that you are an all-around good human being), it also has other benefits especially for a newcomer like you. Volunteering will help you:

  • network and gain friends;
  • get Canadian experience;
  • practice your English/French and gain more job and social skills;
  • possibly earn a job offer later on. But even if you don’t, you will benefit from being an insider. You’ll be among the first to know job openings in the organization; and lastly,
  • help you have Canadian references.

So really, it is helping others while you help yourself. You can watch this short interview where a volunteer talks about the benefits of volunteering:

How to volunteer:

  1. Find a cause you believe in or a non-profit or charity organization whose operations interest you. You can also decide by evaluating your skills, then looking for an organization that could benefit from them. For instance, if you are good at coaching, perhaps you can volunteer to be part of the sports program at your community center or your child’s school. But more than your skills or interests, the main requirements for volunteering are your willingness to do whatever is needed and a positive attitude.
  2. The pandemic is a time of opportunity as well as caution. Read Should you volunteer during the pandemic? 5 steps to help out safely to know what you should consider before volunteering. The article also lists some volunteer opportunities in Manitoba.
  3. More opportunities may be found here: Volunteer Manitoba and at immigrant serving organizations.
  4. Learn about the organization you are interested in before you apply. Make sure that you know the job and the required hours.
  5. Find out all the requirements for applying to the position. It is likely that they will ask you to write a cover letter and submit a resume to apply. They will need to know your job experience so that they can match you to the appropriate position. Security checks may be required (Criminal Background/Record or Child Abuse Registry). This depends on the nature of the tasks you will need to do. You will know if this is required after the interview.
  6. When you are accepted, remember that this is a commitment. Always work honestly and to the best of your abilities. And most importantly, have fun!

Article updated March 16, 2021.

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Community Resources

Read Building blocks for newcomers: A Guide on volunteering by Volunteer Canada. You can download the English or French version.

Read Your rights and responsibilities as a volunteer.

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Chose the correct synonym for the words in bold.

As a volunteer, you have the RIGHT to:

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