Volunteering has a meaningful, positive impact on your community. But did you know that it can have many benefits for you too? Here are 10 surprising benefits of volunteering:
1. / Learn or develop a new skill
Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill. It is never too late to learn new skills and no reason why you should stop adding to your knowledge just because you are in employment or have finished education. Planning and implementing a major fundraising event can develop goal setting, planning and budgeting skills. Supervising and training other volunteers helps to develop supervisory and training skills.
2./ Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.
Community service and volunteerism are an investment in our community and the people who live in it.
3./ Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.
4./ Volunteering is good for your mind and body
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
- Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety.
- Volunteering combats depression.
- Volunteering makes you happy.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence.
- Volunteering provides a sense of purpose.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy.
5./ Motivation and sense of achievement
Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life there is choice involved in volunteering. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help on your own accord, free from pressure to act from others.
6./ Boost your career options
A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses
- 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
- 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills
- 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted
Also, if you are thinking of a career change then volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields. If you have a passion for the arts but have a career in computing then why not volunteer at your local theater? Or if your ambitions are to be a doctor why not find out about volunteer opportunities at your local hospital – the ideal way to expand your work portfolio in your field and to gain a real insight into your chosen path.
7./ New interests and hobbies
Finding new interests and hobbies through volunteering can be fun, relaxing and energizing. The energy and sense of fulfillment can carry over to a work situation and sometimes helps to relieve tensions and foster new perspectives for old situations. Sometimes a volunteer experience can lead you to something you never even thought about or help you discover a hobby or interest you were unaware of. You can strengthen your personal/professional mission and vision by exploring opportunities and expanding your horizons.
8./ New experiences
Volunteering is a brilliant way to get life experience. Whether you build a library or mail flyers to raise awareness for a local charity, you will experience the real world through hands-on work. This guide section has established that volunteers can do almost anything and with the new millennium has dawned an era of infinite volunteer opportunities.
9./ Meeting a diverse range of people
Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Volunteering also offers an incredible networking opportunity. Not only will you develop lasting personal and professional relationships but it is also a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and you can never tell who you will meet or what new information you will learn and what impact this could have on your life.
10./ Send a signal to your employer, teachers, friends and family…
People pay attention to your life outside the environment in which they have direct contact with you. For example, your employer would be interested in the activities that gives you a good work-life balance, just as academic institutions are interested in your extra-curricular activities. Volunteering reflects and supports a complete picture of you, and gives real examples of your commitment, dedication and interests. Show people what you are passionate about and maybe you will inspire them too!
Getting the most out of volunteering
You’re donating your valuable time, so it’s important that you enjoy and benefit from your volunteering. To make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit:
- Ask questions. You want to make sure that the experience is right for your skills, your goals, and the time you want to spend. Sample questions to your volunteer coordinator might address your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to do if you have questions during your experience.
- Make sure you know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organization and understand the time commitment. Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first. Give yourself some flexibility to change your focus if needed.
- Don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t force yourself into a bad fit or feel compelled to stick with a volunteer role you dislike. Talk to the organization about changing your focus or look for a different organization that’s a better fit.
- If volunteering overseas, choose carefully. Some volunteer programs abroad can cause more harm than good if they take much-needed paying jobs away from local workers. Look for volunteer opportunities with reputable organizations.
- Enjoy yourself. The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organization. If you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why. Is it the tasks you’re performing? The people you’re working with? Or are you uncomfortable simply because the situation is new and familiar? Pinpointing what’s bothering you can help you decide how to proceed.
How can you get involved?
On The Corner has a variety of opportunities . If interested in meeting the team and having a look around then please get in touch.
You can have a look at our get involved section on our website or contact Ronan to get more information:
Mobile: 07851 462789