Frequently Asked Questions: Volunteering in Your Community

Almost all of Ottawa’s not-for-profit and charitable organizations rely on volunteers to fulfil their objectives. At any given time, Volunteer Ottawa has hundreds of volunteer positions posted. There is a wide range of opportunities available – from short- term event support, to skills-based professional services, to working one-on-one with clients. Bear in mind that the most valuable skills you can bring to any volunteer effort are compassion, an open mind, and a positive attitude.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions individuals often have about volunteering. If you have any further questions, please feel free to connect with with us.

Create a free volunteer profile with us and share who you are, what skills you have, and how you are looking to volunteer. Once your profile is complete, visit our Search Volunteer Opportunities page to find positions that are currently available and apply to any that are of interest to you.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a volunteer position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs. The following questions can help you narrow your options:

  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Do you want to volunteer in person or virtually?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
    How much responsibility are you ready to take on?
  • What skills can you bring as a volunteer?
  • What causes are important to you?

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, go to our Search Volunteer Opportunities page, where you will be able to further narrow down your search.

Volunteering does not have to take over your life to be beneficial. In fact, research shows that just two to three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can confer the most benefits—to both you and your chosen cause. The important thing is to volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable to you. Volunteering should feel like a fun and rewarding hobby, not another chore on your to-do list.

Visit our Youth Volunteering page for some great resources on volunteering as a youth. You can also use our refine search tool to find volunteer opportunities that are suitable for high school students.

Of course. Use our refine search tool to find volunteer opportunities that are suitable for families or groups. The age requirements will vary depending on the organization and the type of volunteer position. If you have members of your family under the age of 13, please mention this to the organization before you confirm your involvement.

Other suggestions for volunteering as a family: a park cleanup, a food drive, or making hygiene kits to be dropped off at shelters.

No, Volunteer Ottawa is not able to sponsor people to come to Canada for volunteering or other reasons. The volunteer positions we promote are primarily aimed at people currently living in the Ottawa region. While we work extensively with newcomers already in Ottawa, we do not have the capacity for international sponsorship. Here are some resources that may help in your search: 

  • People with disabilities or chronic health conditions can still benefit greatly from volunteering. In fact, research has shown that adults with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing and vision loss to heart disease, diabetes or digestive disorders all show improvement after volunteering.
  • Whether due to a disability, a lack of transportation, or time constraints, many people choose to volunteer virtually.
  • Use our refine search tool to find current opportunities that are suitable for individuals with a disability.

Police record checks are not required for all volunteer positions. If you are volunteering with vulnerable groups such as seniors and children, you will require a Police Check. If the organization requires a Police Check, you should ask them what their process is before getting one.

When you sign up for a free volunteer account on dev.volunteerottawa.ca, you will be asked basic demographic information. This is your Account Information and can be updated any time by signing in and going to My Account. 

You can also provide additional information to help match you to relevant volunteer opportunities. This is your Volunteer Profile and can be updated any time under My Account by going to My Profile. 

Your profile information is only shared with charities and non-profits who are members in good standing of VO and only if you agree to share. Read VO’s privacy policy here. 

If you still have a question, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! You can contact Volunteer Ottawa anytime by phone or email: 

Email: [email protected] 

Phone: 613-736-5270