Get the benefits of volunteering locally or internationally. Build practical skills, knowledge and experience. Expand your network. Use the skills you have to contribute to communities all while discovering your passions and interests.
Your volunteer experiences can help build your references and resume and even lead to job opportunities.
Before you volunteer, think about:
- the skills you have to offer
- the skills you would like to build
- your personal interests
- your goals for a volunteer placement
- the time you are able to commit to volunteering.
Below is a short list to get you started on the path to volunteering.
You don’t have to travel to find relevant and fulfilling volunteer opportunities. Volunteering in Guelph during the academic year is a great way to make connections within the local community.
Where to look for volunteer opportunities:
- Student Volunteer Connections (SVC) — SVC is an on-campus volunteer hub that has a database of off-campus and on-campus volunteer opportunities.
- Student Experience — Student Experience offers volunteer and service learning opportunities such as the Peer Helper Program, the LINK Program and Project Serve.
- The People and Information Network (PIN) — PIN can connect you to volunteer opportunities in Guelph and Wellington County.
- Most larger cities will have a central volunteer network that you can use to find opportunities, or you can contact individual organizations based on your interests and skills.
Some organizations offer the opportunity to volunteer your services from home or online. connecting your skills with organizations or individuals. E-volunteering or virtual volunteering is a unique way to volunteer while working around your personal schedule.
Where to look for e-volunteer opportunities:
- The People and Information Network (PIN) — PIN offers opportunities to e-volunteer locally.
- CUSO International — CUSO International connects e-volunteers to their international partners remotely, allowing you to make international connections without having to travel.
- United Nations Online Volunteering.
Working with international organizations or communities is a great opportunity to build your professional network and learn from those you meet abroad.
The Centre for International Programs has a thorough checklist of what you should consider while selecting an overseas placement.
What to Keep in Mind
International Development students cover the ethics of volunteering early in their academic courses. Working with vulnerable or marginalized populations raises important questions about power, privilege and the potential for exploitation of host communities and individuals.
Think realistically about what you may have to offer an international organization or community, and do your homework before you commit to a volunteer placement.