Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started to look for a volunteer opportunity?

There are a couple of ways to get started. If you want to have a look at all the opportunities available to help you think about your interests, you can go straight to "Browse Opportunities" which is on just about EVERY page. You will find the full list of current opportunities in Dufferin.

We suggest that you Build a Profile so that you can identify your interests, when you are available and what part of Dufferin you want to volunteer in, so that you can be matched to opportunities that will be best for you. We can also send you opportunities that are up your alley as they come in!

How do I find out about what I need to get my 40 hours of community service to graduate from high school?

On every volunteer listing you will see information about whether you can use the opportunity for community service hours. Pretty much any volunteering for a not-for-profit organization will meet the requirements, but do let the organization know that you will need them to complete your Community Service Hours form, and make sure you have one from your school.

What do I need to do to get prepared to be a volunteer?

The most important preparation is that you are interested in volunteering and you are taking initiative. That's a great start: your motivation and interest in helping. It's always a good idea to think about what you want to offer, and what you like to do. You may find the questions in 'What's my thing?' helpful to think about. Know that you have something to give, everyone does, and that you will also have lots to learn. Be prepared to ask questions, and also to ask specifically if there are any requirements for the position, when you speak to someone at the organization. Also, on the volunteer posting, you will see a section on training and other requirements. Most organizations will assist you with training. You also have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work. Your help is needed so you do need to think about it as a job!

What will be the hardest thing about volunteering?

When you take on a volunteer opportunity, it's important that you follow through. So perhaps the hardest thing is going to be sorting out how to keep your commitment to the organization and the people you will be working with. Sometimes it's hard when you first start a volunteer job because you may not be sure what to do. The important thing is that you know who is around to respond to your questions, and that you feel comfortable to ask the questions that come up for you. Some people have a hard time asking questions, but this will be good practice. Once you get comfortable and involved, we would like to know what you found most rewarding and most challenging, so please let us know by submitting a youth story!

Can I get some training before I start volunteering?

Most organizations will offer whatever training you will need before you start your volunteer work, if there are specific requirements. volunteerdufferin.ca also offers workshops in 'getting ready to volunteer' that you may be interested in. Check our training events page to see what's coming up and when.

If I want to find something close to where I live, how can I do that?

You can search opportunities by area of Dufferin, and you will also find that each posting will identify the location of the volunteer opportunity.

I have a very specific interest that I'd like to be able to meet in a volunteer position. How do I go about that?

You can create a profile and then search opportunities by area of interest. If you don't see your area of interest listed, we'd like to know about that. Please contact us and let us know.

What actually happens when I hit 'I'm interested' on a volunteer posting?

The first 'I'm interested' will take you to a page that gives you all the details about the volunteer opportunity. If you are interested in contacting the organization to volunteer for that position, then you will click on 'I'm Interested' again. At that point, if you have built a profile, your basic contact information will be sent in an email to the person at the organization who connects with volunteers. They will contact you by email or phone to follow up and so that you can ask any questions about the opportunity. This will happen automatically, so it's easy for you and for the organization. If you haven't built a profile, when you click on 'I'm Interested' on a specific volunteer posting, you will be asked to 'build your profile', and then your information will go to the organization automatically.

In either case, they should contact your by phone or email within the next 7 business days.

Can I apply for more than one volunteer opportunity at once, even though I only have time to do one thing right now?

It's important that you find the right opportunity. It's also important for you to know that organizations are busy, so it's probably a good idea to look at one opportunity at a time, if you only want to find one volunteer position.

I'd like to hear about new opportunities that come up in my areas of interest. How can I make sure that I do?

If you want to be notified when something comes up in your area of interest, you can 'build your profile'. There are lots of ways to get to that. Go to the age or group that describes you on the 'I want to volunteer' menu and choose that option. Or do it right now by clicking on 'build your profile'.

I have a physical handicap but I really want to volunteer. How can I find out where the best places for me would be that are accessible?

You will notice on each posting whether the location is accessible. At this time, most organizations are required to be accessible, but certain tasks may be more suited to individuals with a particular physical limitation. You'll need to ask about this so that your skills can be used well, and so that the volunteer position is a good fit for you.

How do I get a Police Check? Will that cost money? How do I go about doing that?

The police check will need to be done either at the local police station, if you live in Orangeville or Shelburne, or through the OPP if you are outside these town lines. They are very accustomed to doing this, but it may take a little time, so it's a good thing to get ahead on. Sometimes, if you let them know this is for a volunteer position, the fee will be waived. Some organizations may cover the cost. volunteerdufferin.ca is also trying to make this easy and affordable, so stay tuned for information on this. Please check with your local police department or OPP (as applicable) for the cost of a police check in your area. For volunteer work with 'vulnerable populations', such as young children, you will need to get another level of police check. This is usually noted on the volunteer posting.

I want to volunteer, but I don't have a lot of money. Will I have to pay for my own transportation to get to the location of the volunteer work?

Volunteering shouldn't cost you money, so it's important to ask about this when you connect with the organization. Many organizations will be able to assist with transportation costs, but this is a challenge in Dufferin, and there are limits to what can be paid for, such as taxi transportation. If you are driving to a volunteer job, you may be able to ask for mileage, and certainly if you are driving as part of the job, such as delivering meals, this would generally be covered by the organization.

I haven't volunteered before. Is there any way that I can talk to someone about volunteering, or learn about what I can expect as I'm a little nervous?

We are working on setting up some opportunities for connecting with others who have volunteered. At this point, you can ask the organization that you are going to volunteer with if you can contact one of their current volunteers, or if you can work with someone else for a while. It's fine to ask these kinds of questions. Also, look for orientation and training events for new volunteers on the events calendar on this site.

I'd like to encourage the business I work for to take part in making a contribution in the community. What kinds of opportunities are there in Dufferin, and how can I convince my employer that this will be worthwhile?

There are some organizations in Dufferin that are supporting their employees to volunteer, either through giving them time to contribute, matching funds raised for non-profit organizations or supporting teams of employees to take on group projects. We will list opportunities available for employee groups and businesses on this site, and we hope to see this area grow. We will profile the kinds of activities that employers are supporting in Dufferin, but we also want to support growth in corporate volunteering. You will find some resources on why corporate volunteering makes sense that you can download from the site in the resources area.