For some people, volunteering grows naturally out of an association with a group or because of a cause they passionately need to support. But for many others the desire to volunteer is more general - you know you want to do something, but you're not sure what, or with who, or for what cause. If you're looking to volunteer in Toronto but don't yet know what direction to follow, here are a few of the sites where you can find a variety of volunteer opportunities posted online for you to browse.
This frequently updated website should be your first stop for finding volunteer positions in the city. Volunteer Toronto makes it easy to find the volunteer opportunity that's right for you because you can choose to look through the listings using five different criteria. You can browse by:
- Activity - If you have certain skills you can offer or areas you want to gain experience in
- Type of Organization - If you're more interested in making sure the overall mission of the group aligns with your passions
- Clients Served - If you're more concerned with the who over the what
- Location - If you want to keep it close to home
- Special Events and Projects - If you can't make a long term commitment
The volunteer listings on Charity Village aren't as plentiful as on Volunteer Toronto, but there's still a lot to choose from. Even if you don't find a current opportunity that's right for you, the section called "Links to NPOs" provides a great way for you to browse and identify Non-Profit Organizations you may want to approach about volunteering. The Charity Village website also has learning opportunities and other resources for both volunteers and non-profit management staff, and job postings in the non-profit sector.
The Inside Toronto family of newspapers covers ten broadly localized areas of Toronto with both a print edition and an accompanying website. Visiting the Classifieds section of the website will sometimes yield some volunteer opportunities (listed as a sub-category under employment) but if you'd like to volunteer locally the better option is to visit your local webpage and look for the most recent "It's Happening" article. These articles list community events and also calls for volunteers from local organizations. To head directly to your local page, visit:
- Annex - The Guardian
- Beach-Riverdale - The Mirror
- City Centre - The Mirror
- East York-Riverdale - The Mirror
- Etobicoke - The Guardian
- North York - The Mirror
- Scarborough - The Mirror
- Bloor West-Junction - The Villager
- York - The Guardian
- Parkdale-Liberty - The Villager
Toronto Craigslist - Volunteer Section
A handful of new volunteer opportunities are posted every day on Craigslist, but as with everything on this site you should proceed with caution. Unlike the other sites listed above, anyone can post anything on Craigslist without any sort of editor intervening. So you need to confirm that an organization is what it claims to be before you get involved, lest you be donating your valuable time to a scam. That said, many of the Craigslist volunteer listings aren't from organizations at all, but instead are just from ordinary people who need a hand and are hoping someone in their community will be willing to help out. Those are the sorts of opportunities Craigslist was really made for - but if you need to find a way to fulfill official volunteer hours, you'll likely do better elsewhere.