Volunteering is an excellent way to get involved in the Toronto social justice community. Maybe you’re new to Toronto or new to the social justice scene. Or maybe you’ve always lived here but don’t know where to start. Whatever the case, these are some of the best ways to get involved and find a volunteer position that’s right for you.
Tap in to the non-profit community
I think the best way to search for volunteer opportunities is to search each organization’s website since many don’t post their opportunities elsewhere.
The non-profit focused job site Charity Village is a great place to start your search for an organization that matches your interests. It has a comprehensive directory of non-profit groups by subject.
Organizations A-H run from Addictions and Substance Abuse to Human Rights and Civil Liberties groups. Organizations I-Z run from international relief, international development and peace non-profits to women-focused non-profits.
Though there are many categories and numerous organizations to sift through, some of the most relevant are found below. Be forewarned, however, that the directory consists of groups from all across Canada. But you can always use the Control + F function on your keyboard to highlight Toronto entries.
- Environment and Animals
- Human Rights and Civil Liberties
- Poverty and Social Justice
- Public/Society Benefit
Treat it as a job search
With so many volunteer opportunities out there, the problem isn’t finding one. It’s finding the right one for you. So treat your search as you would a regular job search and make sure you know what you’re looking for.
Volunteer Toronto is an excellent resource that can really help you narrow it down if you’re not sure. It’s a non-profit dedicated to promoting volunteerism in the GTA with a search feature that can help you find volunteer opportunities. They also offer information sessions on volunteering and will advise you on your best options if you get in touch.
Or there’s also GetInvolved.ca, originally an offshoot of a TVO documentary series that celebrated volunteerism. The site now helps match volunteers to organizations through their list of current opportunities, which you can filter by location, area of interest and required skills. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Use it as a platform to advertise your interest by creating a profile.
Both Kijiji and Craigslist have volunteer sections, though you’ll have to search through the muck to find any decent opportunities. But they’re sometimes there, so these are definitely worth a look, if only as a last resort or in an effort to be meticulously thorough in your search.
You’ve got to network! But the way people network has changed. Go to events you find on Eventbrite and Meetup or the events sections of the Centre for Social Innovation, Charity Village and Volunteer Toronto or any other groups you follow.
Search for opportunities on social media. But also be sure to network with people to find those hidden opportunities that haven’t necessarily been posted. Twitter is great for this.
And finally, do it the old-fashioned way. Talk to people. Let people know that you’re looking. They may know someone who knows someone.
That should get you started! But, by all means, leave a suggestion in the comments of anything I may have missed.