Volunteering has many benefits. As we learned last week, work experience is one of them. According to the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy and Volunteer Canada, there are nine main areas in which British Columbians tend to volunteer their time:
1. Organizing or Supervising Events
Every large and small event throughout the year requires a team of people to sort out the details.
2. Canvassing, Campaigning or Fundraising
This can be done door-to-door, by telephone, by direct mail, mall kiosks and displays. It can be a small effort or a large scale campaign. This is a great way to develop sales and marketing skills.
3. Sitting as an Unpaid Board Member
Elected boards of volunteers run non-profit societies. This is a great opportunity to have a say in how your favorite organization is run and learn some more about the democratic process. You will also learn delegation, cooperation and administrative skills.
4. Educating, Influencing or Lobbying
Non-profit groups have a mission that they are trying to advocate for. Get involved! Teach others about your organization and what they are trying to accomplish.
You guessed it, volunteers coach most sports teams! Community Centres often also have homework clubs or reading programs where you could get some experience teaching and working with children.
6. Driving for an Organization
Picking up and delivering items, putting up signs, picking up and dropping off people for medical appointments, delivering groceries, food or medication to people who cannot get out on their own is a great way to see your would enjoy being a professional driver or courier.
7. Providing Care or Support
Supportive volunteers assist people with mental illness, physical disabilities, young parents, teens, young children, people living with Cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, Heart Disease or other ailments. There are groups that support the patients and the families of those affected with these conditions. Working with these groups will help you develop empathy and supportive skills, as well as probably some new medical knowledge!
8. Collecting, Serving or Delivering Food
Often we think of “Soup Kitchens” or “Meals on Wheels” when we think of food and volunteering. There are many other places where you might serve food: a concert, a conference, a daycare, at a board meeting, or in a cooking class. This is great experience and sometimes the organization will provide you with FoodSafe or other types of food handling certifications.
Any organization that owns property or leases a space will have minor repairs and cleaning to take care of on a regular basis. Also, ecological societies and other recreational organizations may have cleanup and maintenance needed in parks or other locations. If you are a hands-on kind of person this may be a good way for you to help out.
No matter what your interests and abilities, there is a volunteer job out there for you! The most important thing is to find your passion, whether it is cancer awareness, drug prevention, protection of animals, arts, music, children, etc. Find the society that does what you are interested in and apply to be a volunteer. It is amazing the things you will learn and the skills that you will pick up along the way.
For more information about volunteering visit:
This article was submitted by career development practitioner Kirsty Peterson. It was originally written for the BC Workinfonet Youth Site and is reposted here with permission.