Canada’s 150for150 Challenge Defining Volunteerism


  • Volunteerism is a movement whereby citizens donate/give their time freely and willingly for the common good/public benefit without monetary or financial gain.


  • Volunteering is the act of donating/giving time freely and willingly for the common good/public benefit without monetary/financial gain.
  • Formal volunteering is voluntary action as part of an established cause or      nonprofit organization’s activities.
  • Informal volunteering is voluntary action that directly or indirectly benefits people outside the family or household or else benefits a cause.


  • A volunteer is a person who donates/gives their time freely and willingly for the common good/public benefit without monetary/financial gain.


These explanations are offered to bring clarity to understanding the qualifications placed upon the concept of time as it relates to volunteerism, volunteering and volunteers.


  • Time is the essence. Time is measured the same around the world. Every individual world-wide has the same amount of time each day. It matters not where, when or how skillfully the time is spent.

Donate / Give

  • To donate or to give means that a person takes what he or she has, in this case time, and offers it up selflessly to others.

Freely / Willingly

  • Time is given without coercion, force or exploitation. A person uses free will and chooses without undue influence or expectation.

Without Monetary / Financial Gain

  • Time is the unit of exchange. It is not traded for another unit of exchange such as money, products or in-kind service.

Common Good / Public Benefit

  • Time is spent for a higher purpose than direct personal or immediate family gain. The focus is a broader need or group.
  • People who choose to spend their time with others as their focus do receive a return. These personal returns include enhanced compassion, sense of self, health, skills, experience, and impact to name a few. These benefits are to be recognized and encouraged as natural outcomes.

General Description (Public)

Volunteerism is a movement to benefit community and serve the common good without financial gain. Volunteerism can be formal or informal, and there are many ways to describe it. Canadians are change makers, leaders, community champions, activists, grassroots leaders, community builders, and taking different actions to improve the quality of life for others.

Formal volunteering takes place as part of a nonprofit organization’s activities, like signing up to the to be a dog walker or sports coach, sitting on a board of directors, or taking on a specific role to help a nonprofit achieve its mission.

Informal volunteering are those actions that directly or indirectly benefit people outside the family or household. Canadians are known for helping our neighbors, random acts of kindness like shoveling a sidewalk or buying someone’s coffee in the line up behind us. We organize community activities, like BBQs or litter clean-ups, and even take actions at home to support important causes, like recycling for the sake of our environment.            

Volunteerism is major thread in Canada’s cultural fabric. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada, we invite/challenge all Canadians to give 150 hours of their time to community.