Bangladesh Artisans

Want to make friends, de-stress, boost confidence and self-esteem, develop new work skills, broaden your worldview – and make the world a better, kinder place?

Volunteer for a cause you believe in.

With so many personal and societal benefits that are directly or indirectly linked to volunteerism, it’s no wonder so many Canadians give their time and energy to organizations across the country. In fact, according to Statistics Canada data, volunteers devote almost 2 billion hours to their volunteer activities, or the equivalent of about 1 million full-time jobs.

At Ten Thousand Villages, we make no secret of the fact that our 1200+ volunteers are our lifeblood. Whether they’re unpacking boxes in the New Hamburg warehouse, running a bake sale in Winnipeg, or educating customers about Cambodian bombshell jewellery in Petitcodiac, N.B., they’re a major reason we can focus on our mission: to make lives better for our 20,000 makers from 27 countries.

Simply put: We love our volunteers.

“It really is truly inspiring when you come to work every day and these people just show up saying, ‘I want to be here, want to help and I don’t want you to pay me for it,’” says Michele Burnett, National Sales Manager in Winnipeg. “They bring such a sense of home and community.”

Want to join the team and make a difference? Here’s a nuts and bolts guide for getting started as a volunteer with Ten Thousand Villages now.

We need you

While some of our busiest retail stores actually have a stack of volunteer resumes to choose from, other stores are always in need of an extra set of hands. For instance, Montreal’s St. Denis store is able to draw on a large population of social justices and environmental studies students nearby looking for experience outside university. But in a place like Calgary, Alberta, where many potential volunteers take on part-time paid work instead, it can be a struggle to find enough people to help during busy times like the months leading up to Christmas, says Burnett.

All kinds of work

Have a skill or passion? Chances are there’s a job for you. While some volunteers help keep our stores tidy and unpack boxes, Ten Thousand Villages also looks for people who have professional skills too. Lawyers and company executives join our board, for instance. Others who have time, commitment and organizational skills may be best suited to running a Festival Sale in their community.

Just come in

Applying to become a volunteer is easy. Simply visit your local store and ask to speak to the manager or assistant manager (who is often in charge of running the volunteer program). You may be asked a few simple questions about why you want to volunteer and you’ll fill out an application form. To find your local store, visit our volunteer and employment opportunities page.

Commit to hours

Volunteering is a commitment, so when you apply, you’ll want to be clear about how many hours you can donate. Managers use that information when scheduling volunteers. In most cases, you’ll be asked to commit to at least four hours a week. That way you won’t forget the skills you’ve learned between shifts!

Keeping everyone safe

We’re committed to ensuring that our customers, staff and volunteers shop and work in a safe and healthy environment. Volunteers will often to be asked to provide a police check.

Enthusiasm counts

Interested in volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages? Here’s a hint: learn more about us and how fair trade impacts the lives of people around the world (even yours).  Burnett says being a “people person” who’s interested in fair trade will definitely give you an edge.

“If someone comes in and they just love what we do and they love talking to customers, they would make a phenomenal volunteer,” she says. “It’s as easy as that.”

Share your comments


  1. Glenda Osnach says:

    Wish there was a 10,000 villages store closer to me! I live just outside Stonewall, MB R0C 2Z0

  2. Lori Baird says:

    Hi ! Do you have to be 16 to volunteer ? ( or can a 15 year old do so ? )