Nonprofit Board Leadership Volunteering

Take a leadership role

Volunteer on a Nonprofit Board of Directors


Canadian charities and nonprofits rely on their Boards of Directors for oversight and strategic leadership, an essential role filled by volunteers from the community. Non-profit boards have a special responsibility to promote an inclusive culture in their organizations.  Recruitment processes must ensure there are diverse perspectives and life experiences around the table, and board processes need to empower all voices to be heard.

Are you interested in bringing your perspective to a Board of Directors? Volunteer Ottawa can help with training and your search for a meaningful role.

Find a Board Leadership Opportunity

You can find Board Leadership volunteer opportunities on our Search page using the filters “Board Leadership” and “Governance (Boards, Committees)”.

Get quarterly updates on new Board of Directors volunteer opportunities — right in your inbox! Sign up for VO’s Governance & Leadership e-Blast.

Volunteering on a Board of Directors is a great opportunity to apply your professional skills, deepen your involvement in a cause you care about, and bring your unique perspective to leadership decisions. All provincially and federally-incorporated non-profits are required to have a Board of Directors in order to function.

Some Board opportunities may call for specific skills (for example: financial, legal, fundraising) or linguistic competencies. Volunteering on a board of directors may look different from volunteering you have done in other roles: it happens mostly through meetings, it requires reading and handling official documents, and it involves formal, legal obligations. Depending the nature of the board, you may be involved in committee work, fundraising, organizing events and public outreach. 

Board volunteering can also be a great way to advocate for causes or issues that you feel passionately about, and you can bring your unique experiences, identity, and point of view to a non-profit’s strategic direction.

Access Training on Board Leadership

Volunteer Ottawa’s popular education program offers a series on Board Leadership topics including governance, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, and advocacy. This publicly accessible series will be run on a regular basis, so keep an eye on our Upcoming Workshops. Don’t miss out on education opportunities — sign up to our monthly Education e-Blast! 

Need on-demand training for your Board? VO’s Custom Workshops can be run in-person, online, or hybrid and are designed to cover the topics you need most.

Volunteer Ottawa also offers a self-paced online training Board Leadership program, developed with support from the TD Bank Group.  Contact [email protected] to learn more.

About VO’s Nonprofit Leadership Training Programs

VO has been dedicated to capacity building in NFP leadership for many years and our programs have taken many forms, but the values of inclusion and diversity have been embedded in all of them. Our current Nonprofit Leadership Training is an evolution of the Diversity in Leadership Ottawa (DLO) program, itself an evolution of earlier programs. VO continues to improve our overall offering and to provide Board Leadership volunteer opportunities and training. 

Finding board candidates with the right skills and time in their schedule is never an easy task, and when you’re a smaller charity looking to expand the diversity of its leadership, it is even more challenging. We were pleased at the candidates presented by [Volunteer Ottawa] and were happy to bring one of them on board. After several months, it is clear our choice was a good one and the candidate has been able to contribute immediately in her new role.
Clair Toplis
Board Chair, iSisters Technology Mentoring
[Volunteer Ottawa] helped Families Canada recruit two outstanding board members. We believe that diversity and inclusivity is essential to meet our community’s needs and produce positive outcomes. Without the support provided […] it would have been very challenging for us to enrich our board with highly qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Karen Burpee
Chairperson, Families Canada
We have a very diverse membership, and it's important to our Board to reflect that diversity at all levels of the organization. We were thrilled that the Diversity in Leadership Ottawa program was able to help us find two candidates who have the skills, expertise and passion we need, while also helping ensure the Board is more representative of the community we serve.
Shelley Robinson
Executive Director, National Capital FreeNet

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