In an age where people seem to be more and more self-centered, volunteering might not seem very attractive. Why spend time working for others without getting paid? However, many volunteers find their work deeply fulfilling. Volunteering can have benefits not just for the community and the people who are being served, but for the volunteer as well.
The most apparent benefit is that volunteering feels good. Pitching in to make a difference in others’ lives is something to feel proud of at the end of the day. A study from the University of Exeter showed that volunteers had higher levels of happiness and self-esteem. They even appeared to have a lower mortality rates than non-volunteers, suggesting that giving back to the community can have health benefits beyond mental well-being.
Volunteering is also a great way to develop new skills or gain experience in a potential career field. In fact, TimeBank reports that 70% of employers claimed that volunteers are more likely to receive higher pay and a promotion. Employers recognize that people who are generous enough to volunteer their talents will be a great asset to their team. Volunteering can also give job-seekers the occasion to network by meeting others who work in the field thus increasing their chances of finding a job. Additionally, volunteering can afford ample opportunities to grow professional skills that will be valuable in any career such as leadership, effective planning, communicating with co-workers.
People are often surprised at how volunteering opens their eyes to issues present in their community and society at large. Engaging in the community gives volunteers an opportunity to meet people struggling with things that they have taken for granted. Doing so can give greater meaning to their lives and make them more passionate about voting, working to change policies or recruiting others to join them making a difference.
Volunteering is obviously beneficial for those who are being served, but it can have a multitude of personal benefits as well. There are so many different ways to get involved in the community and no matter what one’s gifts may be, there is sure to be a community organization that could benefit from them. Engaging in one’s community is a positive step for all involved, and any time volunteering is sure to be time well spent.