How to be involved with your local not-for-profit

Volunteering is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your community. Many people volunteer to give back to their community, gain experience, try something new, or to get involved in something they’re passionate about. The best part about volunteering is that it can be all of those things at the same time!

Gaining experience is one of the most common reasons people want to volunteer. Whether it be to add an item to your resume, learn new skills, practice existing skills, or lend your skills to an organization; work experience is very valuable. Volunteering is not the only option to gain work experience, you could also do an internship or work as an employee.

Volunteer VS. Internship

You might be thinking that if you’re going to volunteer, you might as well be doing an unpaid internship. Aren’t they essentially the same thing? You’re working for free either way, but one sounds better on a resume!

Some key points:

  • Unpaid internships can have questionable legality
  • internships and volunteering have different time commitments
  • Internships and volunteering have different application requirements

The first thing to note is that unless your internship was arranged by a recognized academic program, you should check the rules governing internships in your province to make sure it’s legit. In Canada, the legality of an unpaid internship that is not part of an academic program can vary from case-to-case. Although the main purpose of an internship is supposed to be educational, interns are often working for the company they’re with. This means that they are recognized as employees, which requires things like minimum wage, hours of work, statutory holidays, and overtime. This would make an unpaid internship illegal. However, there are legal exceptions to this rule that vary depending on the province. One example is internships that are required for the completion of a school program. The only provinces/territories that don’t recognize this exemption are Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Yukon. In Ontario, there are six qualifications for an unpaid internship:

  1. The training must be as if you were attending a vocational school
  2. The training must be to benefit the intern
  3. Training organizations should not have much, or any, benefit from the intern’s work
  4. The intern will not displace any employees of the organization
  5. The intern is not entitled to be employed by the organization
  6. The intern has to agree that they will not be paid for their services

There is currently no definition of a ‘true volunteer’ in Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.  However, there is a specification that volunteers are not covered by the Ontario Employment Standards Act. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/jobs/workplace/federal-labour-standards/interns.html 

The next thing to consider is your availability: internships are often full-time positions, while the time commitment for volunteering is often part-time. If you’re a student, volunteering is the best way to gain work experience after-school or on the weekends. You’re also more likely to be able to arrange your schedule around your existing responsibilities when you volunteer. Finally, volunteer positions often have less application requirements than internships. If you’re looking to gain work experience or add something to your resume, volunteering is the most accessible place to start! You can learn the skills and qualifications that you’ll need in your field through your experience volunteering.

Volunteer VS. Employee

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience without needing qualifications to do so. In fact, volunteering is one of the best ways to gain experience for a job. While it may seem better to jump straight to getting paid, it’s often difficult to do. If you’re already working, volunteering allows you to gain experience outside of your role as an employee. This can include making new connections, learning or practicing new skills, and seeing a different lens on your job. Read about what some of our volunteers have learned while working with us here. Volunteering doesn’t have to be separate from your work experience. In fact, it only serves to benefit your resume and employability in most cases. Employees are defined as people who provide services for monetary compensation in Ontario.

Volunteer at Crane

Volunteering is one of the best things you can do for your community. People volunteer to give back, gain experience, try something new, or to get involved in something they’re passionate about. The best part about volunteering, is that it can be all of those things at the same time!

Meet our Volunteer of the month: Hanzhang Li

Hanzhang Li standing in front of a tall hedges for a portrait photo, a CCTC volunteering to help making live events in Mississauga more accessible for audiences
Hanzhang Li standing in front of a tall hedges for a portrait photo, a CCTC volunteering to help making live events in Mississauga more accessible for audiences

Volunteering is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your community and we would like to thank our dear volunteer(s) for their hard work and dedication. A method in which we show appreciation is by naming a volunteer of the month. This month we would liek to thank Hanzhang Li. Hanzhang Li has been a dedicated volunteer with Crane Creations since October 2020. Her hard work and persistence has help increase participation at Bridges Festival and she is currently working on translating our website into Mandarin.

Volunteering Improves Health

Aside from benefiting your work experience, volunteering is also good for your health. Many people from around the world volunteer regardless of their age, as it has shown to uplift and brighten the mood of the people who are participating in the activities. Volunteering offers a chance for people to give back to their community and experience a new environment in the process of giving back.

Here are some benefits of Volunteering:

  • Volunteers are incredibly valuable to non-profit organizations and the people they serve. Volunteering has personal benefits, too. Getting involved can have a positive impact on your life:
  • Meet new people that share similar interests.
  • Get in touch with your local community and help to make your home a better place.
  • Learn new skills and gain valuable experience that you can apply to your work life and home life.
  • Learn about different cultures, ways of life and see the world from a different point of view.
  • Build your resumé.
  • Create a fantastic school application.
  • Find a sense of fulfilment by helping others and doing something meaningful.
Work. Volunteer. Sponsor.

How else can you be involved with your local Not for Profit?

Our Donors

As a non for profit organization we rely on the generosity of our private donors. They take Crane Creations to new heights and help us provide affordable and accessible theatre performances, workshops, events and jobs in Mississauga.

WHAT PART WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY?

Are you an audience member looking to be a part of the team? A student looking for some volunteer hours? An emerging artist looking for some professional experience? Be a part of Crane Creations Theatre Company and find some jobs in Mississauga.

Work

We are proud to hire artists and pay them professional industry rates. If you have some skills you think we should see, send us an e-mail. We always work on many projects at a time, and are continuously interested in local talent and their projects.

  • Internship: We help emerging artists connect with the world of professional theatre. We are able to provide internships to emerging or student artists and technicians. Contact us for more information.
  • Off Stage: All design and technical job postings will be listed on Mississauga Arts Guide, on our social media, and other audition listing platforms.
  • On Stage: We hold auditions throughout the year on a project to project basis. All audition postings will be listed on Mississauga Arts Guide, on our social media, and other audition listing platforms.

https://blog.greatnonprofits.org/the-benefits-of-volunteering/

https://www.wcsu.edu/community-engagement/benefits-of-volunteering/

 

How Volunteer Work Helps You

How Volunteering has changed during COVID

Can add links to sparkontario and charityvillage for where to find volunteer opportunities

 

Sources

https://careers.workopolis.com/advice/your-internship-a-gateway-to-great-experience-or-questionably-legal-unpaid-labour/ 

https://www.jvstoronto.org/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-volunteering-co-op-placement-and-internship-in-canada/ 

https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/why-volunteer#:~:text=People%20choose%20to%20volunteer%20for,on%20existing%20experience%20and%20knowledge

https://www.lawnow.org/the-law-of-unpaid-internships-in-canada/ 

https://lawofwork.ca/are-volunteers-the-new-unpaid-interns-how-ontarios-employment-standards-act-treats-volunteer-misclassification/ 

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_volunteering_can_help_your_mental_health 

https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/faqs/#volunteers 

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Land Acknowledgement

Crane Creations Acknowledges The Land Which We Operate On Is Part Of The Treaty Lands And Territory Of The Michi Saagiig, Commonly Referred To As The Mississauga First Nations. We Acknowledge The Territory Of The Anishinabek, Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Ojibwe Peoples, As Well As All Caretakers Of This Land Acknowledged And Unacknowledged, Recorded And Unrecorded, And Past, Present, And Future.

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