Volunteering your time and energy is a fantastic way to learn and develop useful and marketable skills, meet new people in your field, explore new interests, try out or observe potential jobs and careers, gain experience, give back to your community, and have a great time in the process. Employers and graduate schools alike view the skills and experience gained from volunteering very positively – unpaid experience is still valuable experience.
Choose a Volunteer Work
Consider the following tips when choosing an organization or program:
- Interests: What activities or tasks do you enjoy undertaking? Are the tasks dependent on a particular skill set? Is this a chance to apply academic knowledge?
- Time Commitment: How much time per week you would like to devote to the volunteer work? Is this a one-time or short-term or ongoing project?
- Skills: What skills you would like to develop? Though the work may not be directly related to your study field, consider if you can develop some of these transferrable skills through volunteering - leadership, team work, problem-solving and analysis, project management and organization, interpersonal skill, oral and written communication skills, and knowledge about the organization or the industry.
- Learn what volunteering is about: Volunteering 101
Articles of Interest
- Find (or create) your ideal volunteer opportunity (idealist)
- Pros and cons of short term volunteer programs (Go Overseas)
Benefits and downsides of short-term volunteering, and tips to maximize your impact.
- E-Books & Books (Available in the McGill Library)
- Books (Available at CaPS)
Voluntourism combines vacation travel with volunteering at the destination visited. Voluntourism programs usually charges participants fees for various services, please review the service offering before signing up. For more info:
- Voluntourism 101: The Dos and Don'ts for Planning a Volunteer Vacation (U.S.New Travel)
Tips on how to choose the right organization and red flags to look for when signing up.
Volunteering Within and Around McGill
McGill offers many ways for you to get involved and make a difference. For more information or how to apply:
- Career Leadership Program (CLP)
- Campus Life & Engagement
- Social Equity and Diversity Education Office
- Community - Volunteering Opportunities
- Engage McGill
- SEDE - Community Engagement and Volunteering
- SEDE - Projects
- Student Clubs and Initiatives
- Macdonald Campus Societies & Clubs
- Macdonald Campus Student Affairs Office - Volunteer Opportunities
- SSMU Volunteer Service
You can use the following websites to search for a volunteer opportunity by interest/activity and by location.
- Volunteer Bureau of Montreal
Find a volunteer work in Montreal area.
- Get involved
Volunteer matching tool.
- Charity Village
Volunteer opportunities across Canada.
- Canadian Volunteer Centre Network
Find a volunteer centre in your area.
Volunteer Opportunities worldwide.
- United Nations Online Volunteering
Online volunteering with grassroots organizations, international NGOs and local governments.
- Links to more organizations offering volunteering opportunities:
Volunteer - Montreal | Volunteer - Canada
Tips for those who are interested in international volunteering:
Areas of Work: Determine whether you want to work with people (e.g. Community development, emergency and relief, education and training, health and nutrition, agriculture and farming) or with environment (e.g. Conservation, wildlife, marine conservation).
Important Questions: Some important questions to ask when considering volunteering abroad - How much does it cost? Who offers placements? Is my program ethical? For more questions and answers about international volunteering, consult the book "Volunteer: A Traveller's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World". The book is available at CaPS.
Articles of Interest
- Articles of Interest - Links to articles on international volunteering.
- 200 volunteer abroad & study abroad scholarships & grants (Volunteer Forever)
- Not sure which volunteer program to go with? Visit: Volunteer Abroad Program Reviews
Volunteering Abroad Job Websites
- MyWorldAbroad (Registration with your McGill email is required)
4,000+ resources, 300+ expert articles and inspiring student stories. Visit What Do You Want To Do? -> Volunteer Abroad for a list of volunteering opportunities and useful tips.
- Idealist.org - Volunteer opportunities searchable by location and areas of focus.
- VolunteerMatch.org (USA) - Match by interest.
- Peace Corps - Application tips and sample CVs: Agriculture, Community & Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health, Youth Development