Everyone knows that helping others is a good thing, but what are the benefits of volunteering? We’ll tell you what you’ll get out of volunteering.
We all understand that volunteering is great for the community, but why else should you do volunteer work? Aside from all the great things that volunteer organizations provide to people, there are many good reasons why you should volunteer your time. We’ll give you some specific personal and professional benefits you’ll gain from performing volunteer work.
5 benefits of volunteering
How can volunteering help you professionally?
Choosing the best volunteer opportunity
Volunteering in the US
Volunteering can yield a lot of great benefits, but let’s focus on some of the biggest and most universally outstanding things you’ll get by volunteering your time and efforts:
Volunteering can increase your sense of accomplishment and well-being. Both of these things are known to improve your level of happiness. This is especially true for people who are feeling sad and unhappy.
Doing volunteer work almost always requires that you interact with people. This will cause you to create connections and form relationships. Working with people will help you to counteract feelings of loneliness. Connecting with people is also known to aid people who are feeling depressed.
Directly related to making connections, you’ll probably make some new friends too. Working closely with other people in any situation tends to build bonds, create relationships, and develop friendships.
All the things we’ve covered (happier, less lonely, less depressed, more friends) are things that create direct and indirect mental benefits. Improved mental health is also proven to lead to better physical health and a longer life.
Volunteer work gives you something to do that is constructive and valuable to others. This will make you feel good about yourself because you’re helping others and it creates a great sense of purpose.
We’ve covered the personal benefits of volunteering, but what about professional benefits? Yes, there are definitely things you get from doing volunteer work that will aid in your career. Here are the most impactful ones:
New job skills. The most tangible thing you can get from volunteering is learning new skills. You can find volunteer work in many areas and activities which will allow you to choose a role that will not only benefit others but will give you the chance to build your skill set.
Gain experience. If you choose a volunteer project that grows your skills and abilities, then it will also probably include the opportunity to exercise those new skills and build experience with them. This is something you can put on your resume.
Expand your horizons. Volunteering will give you the opportunity to work with lots of different people and experience things that you probably haven’t encountered before. Working with diverse communities and viewing things from a different perspective will give you the ability to approach challenges differently and can also improve your creativity.
Connections and networking. Along with meeting new people and creating relationships comes the opportunity to grow your professional network. Other volunteers you work with and even the organization and individuals that you help can become invaluable professional contacts in your network.
Now that you understand how volunteering will not only help others, but will benefit yourself as well, let’s talk about how to decide on the type of volunteering you might want to do.
Consider what your interests and motivations are. If you have a deep desire to help underprivileged people, for example, then that’s probably what you’ll be the happiest doing. Is there a particular cause or political group you support? These can also be areas that usually have volunteer roles available.
If you’re looking to build particular skills, then seek out volunteer groups that are related to that area. For example, if you want to learn more about construction, then Habitat for Humanity may be a good choice for you. Do you have some specific skills or expertise that you can use to help others? This is another good avenue to find volunteer opportunities.
The key thing to keep in mind is to select something you’re very interested in and enjoy doing. Otherwise, you’ll get bored or burned out.
Do you need some help in developing your career? Then take a look at our Career Plans to find a strategy that will most effectively guide your career.
Volunteering is a good thing to do because it helps others, and you’ll get something out of it too.
Doing volunteer work can make your life better personally and professionally.
Find a volunteering opportunity that fits your interests.
Share your time to aid others, and you’ll win all the way around.
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.