This post was orginally published on https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/what-are-benefits-of-volunteering
There are many reasons to consider volunteering. If you’re new to your community, looking to meet new people, interested in helping out a charitable cause or interested in learning new things and advancing your career, volunteering would be perfect for you. Volunteering helps you, your community and the world as a whole.
When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to make a true difference in the lives of people, animals and most of all your own life. In this article, we discuss the social, personal and career benefits that volunteering can offer.
Social benefits of volunteering
Whether you are the type of person who craves a lot of social interaction or whether you prefer as little as possible, volunteering has something for you. Personally, I have volunteered in different capacities in my life for various reasons. Some of these opportunities included:
- Building homes for those who needed a hand-up: Before this experience, I didn’t even know how to hold a hammer, much less know what a wrench was. In the end, I helped build a home for a very well-deserving family.
- Supporting political campaigns: Promoting a cause or candidate and fighting for a cause I believed in fueled my passion and competitive nature.
Fundraising through races: With my competitive nature, I loved to promote others’ achievements as well as try to learn from runners who were a lot better than me.
Other social benefits of volunteering include:
Helps you meet new friends
Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends as well as strengthen existing connections with friends, family, and co-workers that you volunteer with. You will meet new people with a variety of diverse backgrounds allowing you to learn other’s perspectives and personal narratives.
When you choose an organization or cause in which to volunteer, consider that the people you’re working with did too. Sharing a common interest will help you build closer relationships with those around you.
Increases your social skills
Volunteering gives you a chance to talk to new people and sharpen your social skills. By spending a lot of time working with others and using these social skills, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your future personal and business relationships.
Provides you with a sense of community
Volunteering can help you feel connected to those you are helping in the community. This experience may make you want to get involved with other aspects of your community, local politics or to advocate for programs that you believe are important.
Volunteering may boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. When you do something that you feel is worthwhile and valuable for the community, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Feeling that sense of accomplishment will help you feel better about yourself, your life and your future goals.
Career benefits of volunteering
Volunteering can help you grow your career. You can gain valuable experience and build skills that can be used to obtain paid jobs in a career you are interested in. Here are some ways that you can advance your career through volunteering:
Teaches you valuable skills
The training and hands-on experience you gain while volunteering can help you learn new skills as well as build upon the skills you already have. For example, if you are a volunteer that advocates and raises awareness for a cause that interests you, you will gain valuable communication, public speaking, and marketing skills. You can put these skills on your resume and enhance your skill set.
Provides job prospects
Along with acquiring valuable skills and experience gained through volunteering, you may also meet people in your field of interest who can become your mentors or at least become a part of your network.
If you choose to pursue a career in the field you volunteered in, the connections you make may help you to widen your job prospects. The experience you gain while volunteering may be very attractive to potential employers.
Personal well-being benefits of volunteering
After helping others, you might feel excited, happy, helpful or thankful. Volunteering can positively impact your overall well-being. When it comes to personal benefits, volunteering:
Brings fun and fulfillment into your life
Participating in volunteer opportunities can help you achieve a sense of fulfillment. For example, many people use volunteering as a way to make time for their hobbies while making a difference. If you are interested in the outdoors, you may volunteer at your community garden or help out at a children’s summer camp.
Volunteering for organizations or causes that you are interested in may provide you with a renewed sense of creativity and motivation that carries over into your personal and professional life.
Provides you with a sense of purpose
The work you complete as a volunteer is purposeful and likely helps other people in some way. You can find your purpose through volunteering and becoming part of something greater than yourself. If you’re an older adult who may have retired or lost a spouse, volunteering and helping others can give your life new meaning and purpose. It can also take your mind off of your own worries and keep you mentally stimulated.
Helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety
It often feels good to contribute to projects and organizations that mean something to you. These good feelings can help lessen the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety in your life. Volunteering may provide you with the tools you need to be a happy and well-rounded individual. Building bonds and connections with people you volunteer with counteracts social isolation that often causes stress and anxiety.
Allows you to overcome challenges
Through volunteer work, you may overcome personal challenges you might have by leaving your comfort zone and doing something new with people you may not know. You may be faced with various challenges while you volunteer that require you to exercise those critical thinking skills. You may also be faced with situations in which you will learn troubleshooting skills that are also critical to your own personal development.
Helps you stay physically healthy
Many volunteer opportunities involve physical labor that helps you keep active. Volunteering also reduces stress and boosts happiness. As a result, some of the health effects that stress can have on your body can be counteracted.
Tips for choosing a volunteer opportunity
Volunteering allows you to impact and connect with your community. There are volunteer opportunities that fit a variety of interests. Here are some tips for finding a volunteer opportunity:
Start with the basics. Some of the most common volunteer opportunities are helping at an animal shelter, planting flowers, trees or shrubs at your local garden, beach or park clean-ups, talking or reading to the elderly and political campaigning.
Choose a volunteer opportunity you are passionate about. You will get to explore your interests and have fun doing so.
Working for volunteer organizations that you believe in. Supporting a cause you are passionate about can be a meaningful and energizing disruption from your everyday routines.