Donate Volunteer

Your skills and experience will make a difference.

CESO Advisors


By sharing your professional knowledge and expertise, you can make a positive difference in Canada and around the world. We’ve been successfully matching our CESO Advisors with clients and partners in over 120 countries since 1967. Our volunteers drive both economic and social change by strengthening the private sector and creating an environment for communities to thrive.

Our Advisors are highly-skilled professionals who advise, mentor and share strategic and technical expertise with partners and clients through a planned sequence of short-term, strategic assignments. They are Canadian citizens (or permanent residents) who represent a wide range of industries and professional skill sets.




Governance &
Hospitality &
Agriculture &
Small Business (SME)
& Entrepreneurship
Business Management &
Strategic Planning
Finance & Microfinance
Production & Manufacturing



Q1 How do I become a volunteer?

Fill out the CESO Volunteer application form and attach your resume.


Each application is carefully reviewed to ensure a strong match between a volunteer’s skills and the needs of the project.

Orientation and Interview

You will be invited to a one-hour virtual orientation session to learn more about CESO, followed by a phone interview and reference check.

Pay a one-time $100 administration fee

Pay the $100 through PayPal.


Successful candidates will receive a welcome letter and log-in information for the myCESO online information portal.

Apply for Assignments

Congratulations – you are now eligible to apply for assignments!

Q2 Are there any costs associated with being a CESO volunteer?

Upon becoming an active Volunteer Advisor (VA), you will be asked to pay the one-time $100 Administration Fee.

Q3 What is the Administration Fee?

All volunteers applying to CESO for the first time pay a $100 Administration Fee. This fee is to cover the costs associated with the services that help make your entire volunteer experience a positive one. Please note, your payment of the fee does not guarantee that you will be selected for an assignment, however, you will be eligible to see a full list of current assignment opportunities in our internal myCESO portal.

Q4 What costs does CESO cover for volunteers?

International assignments – CESO covers the costs associated with:

  • *Flights to and from the country of assignment
  • Entry visas
  • Health and accident insurance
  • Medical clearance/vaccinations
  • In-country travel related to the assignment (not including personal travel)
  • Food and accommodation up to a maximum of the established country daily rate
  • A per diem spending allowance

National assignments – CESO covers the costs associated with:

  • *Travel costs to and from the assignment
  • Food and accommodation (up to a maximum of the established country daily rate)
  • Travel and accident insurance
  • Incidental costs

When booking airfares, CESO must comply with the requirements stipulated in our funding agreement with our program funder, which states:

Global Affairs Canada will limit the reimbursement of plane tickets to the lowest fare available at the time of reservation even when the Organization chooses not to use this fare”

This means that you must accept the most direct and cost effective route to and from the assignment and travel will be in economy class. If you would like to book upgraded seats, you will be responsible to pay the difference. Please speak with your Program Coordinator if you would like to learn more.

Q5 Is there an age limit to being a Volunteer Advisor with CESO?

CESO is not able to provide insurance for Volunteer Advisors who are 79 years of age or older as the eligibility for medical coverage and AD&D (Accidental Death & Dismemberment) insurance through our provider, AIG, ceases at 79 years of age.

In the past, CESO may have permitted VA’s, over the age of 79 or residing outside of Canada, to arrange and pay for their own medical insurance in order to fulfill assignments. However, effective immediately and in keeping with our risk management practices, we will no longer be able to accommodate this independent option.


Q6 Do I need health insurance?

All Volunteer Advisors must be covered under a Canadian provincial health program (e.g. BC Services Plan, OHIP, Quebec Health Insurance Plan). Applicants without this will not be permitted to go on assignment.

Q7 Can I take my spouse/partner with me on assignment?

Yes, you can bring your spouse/partner at their own expense and only with the permission of both CESO and the client. Our funding applies only to the expenses of the volunteer, not the spouse/partner.

Q8 How long are volunteer assignments?

International assignments typically last from two weeks to four weeks (with some exceptions, where assignments may last up to 6 months). National assignments typically last from two days to two weeks.

Q9 What are the chances that I will be selected to go on assignment?

Our assignments are driven by client demand and as such we cannot guarantee a certain number of assignments over any period of time. We regularly speak with program partners and communities in need to see where we are able to provide services, and the number of available assignments is constantly changing.

Q10 What are CESO volunteers expected to do?

As a volunteer you are expected to:

  • work cooperatively with CESO staff, clients and partners in order to meet their defined needs
  • act as a mentor and/or advisor to the client/partner you are working with
  • execute your assignment to the best of your ability, including pre- and post-assignment planning and requirements
  • represent CESO to the best of your ability at all times in accordance with our Code of Conduct
Q11 How much notice will I be given before having to go on assignment?

We try to provide volunteers with as much notice as possible about a potential assignment. Typically, for national assignments successful candidates will be given two weeks to one month’s notice to prepare and deploy for assignments. For international assignments, successful candidates will typically be given two weeks up to a few month’s notice.

Q12 What is myCESO?

myCESO is our internal web portal that gives you access to all current volunteer opportunities, as well as detailed information and any documents necessary for your assignments. You will gain access to myCESO upon becoming an active Volunteer Advisor (VA).

Q13 Who do I contact if I cannot log into myCESO account?

If you are experiencing difficulties logging into your myCESO account, please send an email to for immediate assistance.

Q14 If I have a question about volunteering but it is not listed here, who do I contact?

For questions in English, please contact our recruitment manager Jennifer Rovet at 1-800-268-9052, ext. 4100, or at 1-800-268-9052
Canadian Executive Service Organization CESO | SACO is a registered charity (BN 11883 0850 RR 0001), with no political or religious affiliations. Copyright CESO-SACO 2019 • All Rights Reserved
CESO thanks and gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Global Affairs Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and our private-sector supporters.