Developing opportunities for volunteers with limited fluency in English & French

Those who choose to serve their community while adjusting to a new country or while searching for paid employment, enjoy the many secondary benefits of voluntary action. Volunteering is viewed as a powerful vehicle for personal growth and career development.

The profile of the volunteer has changed dramatically over the past decade. In 1997, 36% of the volunteers we interviewed were not employed, 32% were under 24 years of age, and 33% listed neither English nor French as their first language.

Non-profit organizations continually face the challenge to develop the capacity to offer opportunities to volunteers with limited English and French language skills. While being aware of the growing needs of these diverse communities, organizations struggle to meet their needs due to limited resources.

Volunteer Ottawa has produced a Self Assessment Tool for Community Organizations to help engage volunteers with limited English & French.

The goals of the Self Assessment Tool are:

  1. To assist organizations in the community-at-large in developing meaningful volunteer opportunities that meet the needs and interests of volunteers of visible and ethnic minority communities.
  2. To help organizations in developing both policies and practices that accommodate and are sensitive to the language and cultural needs of volunteers of visible and ethnic minority communities.
  3. To encourage non-profit organizations and public institutions to reach out to diverse communities.

The Self Assessment Tool is for use by those agencies who would like to integrate a multicultural component into their volunteer program or to help assess the effectiveness of existing volunteer programs in being open and welcoming to people with limited language skills. It also provides a framework to assess the agency’s ability to accommodate volunteers with limited language skills and to suggest what changes could be made to more effectively serve this population.

Start engaging and diversifying your volunteer program today!

Download the Self Assessment Tool and more resources here.

Are you a new Canadian looking to Volunteer? Volunteer Ottawa has programs especially for you! Visit our New Canadians Web page:


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