The Benefits Of Volunteering

     

Why volunteer? The benefits of volunteering can last a lifetime—not only for those who you are helping, but for you as well.

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If you are on the fence about diving into a new volunteer experience or have doubts about whether or not volunteering is right for you, you might find yourself surprised at just how much you can gain from taking the plunge.

Let’s learn more about the many benefits of volunteering và how to start getting involved!

Why Volunteer?

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What is Volunteering?

Volunteering means giving your time và abilities to lớn aid others (usually a nonprofit organization) without the want of financial compensation. Put simply, volunteering is a service khổng lồ your community.

Many nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to accomplish day-to-day objectives & to reach long-term goals.Miles4Migrants, for instance, relied solely on volunteer hours for their first few years of operation. Most nonprofits would not be able to bởi vì the important work they vì without the power nguồn of volunteer work.

Nothing gets done by one person alone, which means we have lớn band together to lớn make thechanges we want lớn see in the world. Volunteerism has indeed been the fuel to lớn the fires of change both on international and local fronts. Volunteering your time, skills, and resources is one of the most powerful ways to lớn make a difference, lớn help others, và as it turns out, khổng lồ enhance your wellbeing.



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7 Benefits of Volunteering

While you won’t get paid for your community service, volunteering comes with a lot of other benefits to lớn boot. Donating your time, energy, & possibly resources can be just as rewarding for you as for those you are helping. Here are some ways volunteering can affect you positively:

1. Meet New People & Build Community

Everyone loves new friends!

Being a part of a team with a common goal will help you khung bonds with strangers that can be life-changing. Volunteering inherently means helping people, and that means you’ll be creating meaningful relationships with others và increasing your social interactions.

Volunteering provides a quality opportunity: it connects people with very specific shared values. Và the values may not be what you think. In addition to likely having shared concerns for children,sustainable living, healthy eating, or whatever project you’re working on, volunteers are also people who also cốt truyện things lượt thích a willingness khổng lồ step outside their comfort zone, an openness to lớn spending time on a community effort, a proclivity for engaging in team-oriented activities, và a desire to lớn contribute to the well-being of others.

You’re sure khổng lồ meet people & make new friends that nói qua common interests, values, and outlooks. Building a community in which you are all working together towards common future goals will nurture your sense of belonging và purpose and expand your tư vấn system. This social benefit of volunteering grows into a bunch of other benefits that we’ll continue to lớn explore in this list!

2. Gain Knowledge & Understanding of Other Ways of Life

Volunteering might take you lớn a new part of your community you have never been to lớn before. Volunteer programs can give you the opportunity lớn bring people into your social network you otherwise wouldn’t get khổng lồ meet và learn from those who come from different walks of life. This experience can expand your understanding of others who are different from you.

Learning about cultures & ways of life that are different from one of your upbringing will increase your social flexibility and expand your world-view. It will also raise awareness of the issues that other people deal with & will increase important social skills like empathy & teamwork.

3. Gain a Sense of Purpose and Become Happier

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What an amazing reason to vày something! Who doesn’t want to lớn become happier?! Volunteeringhas been shownto give you a sense of accomplishment và to increase feelings of happiness.

How you may ask?

Throughout your life you’ve developed social và professional skills that promote your personal achievement. Using those skills for a wider, communal impact can be even more fulfilling. Volunteering will enrich your life and give you a broader purpose and can give you a boost of motivation.

Researchers also posit that it’s the social connections you make while volunteering (as we’ve mentioned) that help increase your feelings of happiness.

Feeling like you are a purposeful role of your community will make you feel…da da dum…HAPPY! Volunteering is indeed aknown mechanismto help fight all sorts of mental issues lượt thích depression, anxiety, stress, và anger.

Where vày we sign up?!

4. Boost Your Self-Esteem

That’s right! Spending time as a volunteer hasbeen shownto improve your self-esteem!

The more opportunities you take khổng lồ learn new skills và gain knowledge, the more fully you will develop as a person. And what safer space to lớn develop those skills than in a context of service?

Stepping out of your comfort zone & building new skills is the best way lớn develop your self-esteem. Volunteering will increase your sense of pride và thus, your self-confidence! When you challenge yourself through volunteering and receive appreciation from others, it can make you feel better emotionally và mentally.

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Plus, who has time to think negative thoughts about yourself when you’re out saving the world?!

5. Advance Your Career by Improving Job Prospects

Gear up! This one’s a big one!

Volunteering will offer you skills that can be used throughout your career development. If you are wanting to lớn change to a new career, especially a new environmental orsocial impact job, volunteering in that new field can help you develop the skills và knowledge you will need.

When you have a volunteering experience to add to your resume, you stand out over job candidates who don’t take the time khổng lồ give back to lớn society. Volunteering highlights your character, passion, và determination!

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Through your volunteer experiences, you have a chance to show that you’re interested in things bigger than yourself, và you are willing to lớn take kích hoạt to make the changes you want in the world—and that will always help you shine through the competition.

Plus, volunteering can also give you a better understanding of the issues you are working with và discover where there are gaps in the field. This knowledge can prepare you to lớn enter a new field of work or, for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, volunteering may lead khổng lồ developing your next business idea or inspire you tostart a nonprofityourself!

6. Accrue the Health Benefits of Volunteering

It’s true! There are manyphysical benefitsthat come from volunteering, & most important is that it can help reduce stress!

Spending meaningful time with others can reduce stress & the health effects it has on our bodies. Reduced stress translates into several physical health benefits. You’ll sleep better, get sick less often, and even prevent heart disease! In fact, somestudieshave even found lower mortality rates in volunteers vs non-volunteers in older adults.

This makes sense because as we give our attention to lớn others, we take our attention off of our own problems và concerns. It can also put our stresses into perspective và feel more gratitude in our day-to-day lives.

Volunteer work can also be an outlet for the frustrations you feel about certain issues và will leave you with a sense of agency and empowerment. Worried about climate change? do something about it!

7. Increase Your Brain Functioning

Every volunteer opportunity has its own set of tasks, and some of those might require you lớn learn new skill sets & challenge yourself. This means you’ll be keeping your brain busy & limber!

Volunteeringhas been shownto increase your ability for problem solving, increase your long-term and short-term memory, và reduce your risk of developing age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. So time lớn get started!


The Good và Bad of Volunteering


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PROS

Meet new people and develop lasting relationships.Increase your happiness and better your mental health.Learn new skills and increase your brain function and self-esteem.Stand out on job applications & further your career.Decrease your stress and accrue the health benefits.Do good in the world and help make a difference.

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CONS

Can be time-consuming.Some tasks can be repetitive depending on the volunteer role.Might take multiple attempts lớn find the right fit for you.

Getting Started on Your Volunteer Journey

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So you have made up your mind to volunteer—what now?

One of the many beauties of volunteering is that there are endless ways that you can get involved and make a difference. The thing is, you won’t know which is right for you until you get out into the community and start!

The key to lớn accruing all the benefits of volunteering is khổng lồ find something you really lượt thích in a community that you love. It is time to lớn consider your options carefully so you can find an opportunity that will be realistic for you as well as fulfilling.

How khổng lồ Start Your Research

There are tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations in the United States with volunteering opportunities ranging from health care & mental health, to lớn sports, khổng lồ politics, to lớn childhood development. Here are some tips lớn start finding the right volunteer opportunity for you:

search online for organizations in your interest areas & see if they have a volunteer page on their website. Make sure to check out the organization’s FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page & follow-up with any additional questions or concerns before signing up to volunteer. Ask as many questions as you lượt thích of a nonprofit before you volunteer with them!Contact your local community centers, nonprofit organizations, senior centers, or libraries to find out if they are in need of volunteers. They usually are!

What khổng lồ Consider: Finding the Opportunity That is Right for You

It’s important to lớn make sure you only volunteer in a capacity that you are comfortable with & that brings you joy. Here are some things lớn consider as you search for your next volunteer opportunity.

Time

First & foremost, consider how much time you can give. There is no competition in volunteering (or at least, there shouldn’t be!). If you can only give an hour a month—great. That is an additional hour a month your community will benefit from that it otherwise wouldn’t!

When volunteering as a part of a team, you should make sure you can commit the time you are promising. If you are volunteering to bởi vì things like theonline sale for the nonprofit, that don’t require working directly with others, make sure you are upfront about your skill levels, abilities, & availability. This will ensure you don’t feel stretched too thin, which often results in burnout.

Making reasonable timeframes will help you settle in for the long-term. Và being upfront about your time constraints will help you avoid disappointing anyone counting on you và your volunteer efforts.

Physical Limitations

Also, consider your physical capabilities. Vì chưng you have constraints that will make certain tasks difficult? Be honest with yourself about what you are comfortable with accomplishing. I have found that most nonprofit organizations are very happy to lớn accommodate volunteers who have special requests and needs if you are upfront with them about your limitations.

Your Skillset

Another thing to mull over is what kind of skills you already possess. What skills or experience could be helpful lớn the nonprofit you are working with? If you’re in marketing, consider helping an organization develop theirnonprofit marketing plan. If you know accounting, help them get their books in order. Organizations will LOVE getting this kind of expertise (that they would usually have to pay vị trí cao nhất dollar for).

Your Interests

Next, think about where your interests lie & what kind of field would you want to explore. Bởi you lượt thích working with animals? Want to lớn learn more aboutfarming and agriculture? Interested in learning tocompost? do you enjoy playing with children? Spending time with the elderly? Would you want to learnhow to lớn help refugees?

Deciding what kind of organization you would lượt thích to work with first will help you bring enthusiasm and excitement to your volunteer experience. It is no good for anyone if you volunteer to vị something you flat out don’t lượt thích doing.

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Volunteer Abroad or in Your Own Community

Are you interested in working outside of your home country? vì chưng you have the time & finances khổng lồ travel? Would you rather stay close to home where you might not have to spend money to lớn volunteer?

Consider again what might work best for you. Volunteering abroad tends khổng lồ be expensive và time-consuming, which may or may not be something you are prepared lớn do. Plus there are many opportunities right in our own communities!

But if you want to do work tosave the oceansfor instance, & you live in the mountains of Colorado, your local community may not have the right opportunity for you. In that case, you will want to search outside of your hometown.

Make sure that if you are considering volunteering abroad, that you work only with a reputable organization that you can verify necessary information about what khổng lồ expect before you leave home.

There are some amazing opportunities to lớn combine your travel with volunteering. Companies likeHave Fun vày Goodprovide the opportunity to do purposeful travel, arranging for your trip lớn be structured around a service project.

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Learn more about how these travel experiences incorporate volunteer projects in our interview with the Founder of Have Fun do Good, Adam Kunes!


Kind TravelerandDiscover Corpsalso allow you khổng lồ take your impact beyond your hometown. Or join the “give-back-packers” atBambooand take your impact across the world. Or, maybe you prefersaving sea turtleson a visit to Costa Rica? The possibilities are endless!

The nguồn of Giving Back

The reasons people volunteer are many and will vary person khổng lồ person. What we bởi know is that when you find the right fit, you’ll enrich the lives of others và your life will be made better by the experience!

We all contribute to the construction of the world we live in—don’t you want your contribution lớn be one that makes that worldbetter? Working towards equality for everyone will make a better world for all of us!

Whether you are a high school student volunteering at a football game, a girl scout selling cookies, or a senior volunteering at an animal shelter, when your efforts go towards making society better for all of us, we all feel better. It’s a win-win situation.

Good luck on your search for the right volunteer experience for you and let us know how your experience goes! Happy volunteering!