top of page
Rush Hour

Episodic volunteering

A fast-growing trend in volunteerism is “episodic” volunteering. Basically, this just means that more people are looking for one-time or short-term volunteer opportunities. This is for a variety of reasons:

We’re busier!

People of all ages are busier now more than ever. Young people are involved in their schools (clubs, extra classes) and in organized sports (both in school and on community and club teams). They take part in other service clubs and groups such as scouts, girl guides, and junior achievement. They also work part-time jobs, have homework and still need time for family commitments, socializing and relaxing. Youth are encouraged (or forced) to volunteer for school, post-secondary requirements and scholarships. Volunteering can have high importance on a resume – especially if there is little paid work experience to list. 

Most families have working parents who are busy taking their children to many of the above-mentioned activities, as well as their own commitments to family, friends and personal interests.


Seniors are more active now than any other groups of retirees in the past.  Gone are the days of a retirement spent sitting on the porch with a cup of tea, passing time. Seniors are taking on second careers, pursuing personal interests and passions and traveling.

All this means that it’s harder for people to commit to a long-term volunteer job. However, people still want to help and contribute to the community. The best way to do that is to be an episodic volunteer. Although this can pose challenges for non-profit organizations who may have a limited supply of these types of positions, and there are many roles that simply require a volunteer to commit for a longer period of time – episodic volunteers are still valued.

Benefits of episodic volunteering

  • The most obvious benefit is the lack of commitment. It’s a lot easier to keep your calendar clear for a weekend or evening than it is to do so every Tuesday, for 6 months.

  • Episodic volunteer roles usually require you to volunteer for less time overall. Even working two 8-hour days at a weekend event is still less time that serving on a Board of Directors that meets for an hour each month – but requires a 2-year commitment.

  • Volunteering for short-term stints or on a specific project can be very rewarding. You can see the project through to completion and feel a sense of accomplishment for your role in the project or program.

  • There can be more variety when you volunteer for many places and/or in many roles. 

  • It feels good!  Whenever you help out and give of yourself, you are making a difference – whether it’s for a few hours, days or weeks – it all still counts!

Click here to see how to find volunteer opportunities.

Click here for a list of festivals and events in Edmonton.

"why you?
because there's no one better.

why now?
because tomorrow isn't soon enough."

~donna brazile

bottom of page