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Meeting your “giving” needs

Finding a volunteer placement requires taking some time to reflect on your passions, interests, and experiences to determine what sort of volunteer work aligns with who you are. Identify your goals and aspirations prior to starting your search and remember, it is important that these will change over time as your interests change.

The following questions can aid the reflection process, which will help you identify what you want to do and what you don’t want to do.
• What are my interests?
• What type of position would I want?
• What do I most want to learn from the experience?
• What skills am I looking to develop?
• What type of work environment do I prefer?
• Do I want to connect with a professional in a specific field?
• How much time per week would I be able to devote to the volunteer position?
• What type of work environment do I prefer?
• Is this a one-time or short-term or ongoing project?

Once you understand your interests and goals, you can move on to networking to find the right position. 


Change the world in a few clicks?

What organizations need done and what volunteers want to do are not always the same. But rather than wringing hands and recalling the good old days when volunteers showed up every Tuesday, non-profits are looking for new ways to attract the help they need.

Advances in technology, shifting demographics and increased resource pressures mean many groups can use micro-volunteering, a type of volunteering that is convenient, bite sized and requires little to no training or ongoing commitment. Many micro-volunteers also find it rewarding to see the immediate, tangible impact of their work.

One of the earliest social/digital micro-volunteering projects involved volunteers tagging and matching photos of missing people with media images in the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. It involved short chunks of time and made a meaningful difference.

While the shiny aspect of micro-volunteerism is the way social media and digital expertise can be leveraged for social good, the idea that short-term volunteers can make a tremendous difference is not a new one.


Volunteerism on your resume 

Simply put, including volunteer work on your resume can help employers learn about your interests and experience—especially if you have limited professional experience. You can include volunteer experience in your professional experience section, skill section or in a separate volunteer section. Add keywords from the job description that connects your volunteer experience back to the role.

The goal of writing a resume is to quickly show employers you are a great fit for the job. Adding information like your transferrable skills, professional experience and relevant education can help convey why the employer should advance you in the hiring process. Another option you might consider is adding a section in your resume to highlight your volunteer experiences. While you can format this section the same as your professional work experience section, you can also write a shortened version that takes up less space.

Be sure to give context when there are gaps in your resume due to leaving the workforce for an extended period of time. Seeing your volunteer work highlighted may also be beneficial for anyone applying to work in.


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Canadian Abilities Foundation

The Canadian Abilities Foundation (CAF) is a registered Canadian charity. CAF was founded in 1986 and has since been a national leader and partner with other organizations and governments on various projects related to disability and communications.

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Canadian Abilities Foundation envisions an inclusive, universally accessible society, where all people belong and are valued. Our mission is to make Canada the most accessible country in the world through advocacy, awareness building and sharing of best practice solutions.

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