Are you on the fence about volunteering and need a little nudge one way or the other?
Volunteering benefits others, of course, but you yourself get to reap plenty of benefits of volunteering in your community, abroad, or virtually.
Volunteering cons are few—it takes time, it takes effort, you may break a sweat, etc. However, volunteering pros are legion, laudable, and lifelong.
So, what are the benefits of volunteering?
Keep reading below to find out!
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Here are five great advantages and benefits of volunteering:
1. Volunteering Makes a Difference
This is the main reason people volunteer, so let’s get this out of the way from the start. Volunteering is a great way to support causes and organizations that matter to you. While donating money is always welcome, most students and young professionals struggle to make ends meet; volunteering lets you help these change-making organizations without costing you a dime.
And, one of the best parts about volunteering is that you decide who, what, when, where, why, and how. Perhaps you admire the work your local food kitchen does and want to help them help others. Or, maybe you have a soft spot for dogs and prefer to lend a helping hand at the county animal shelter. You can volunteer completely online, or offer your time supporting a specific SDG you’re passionate about. Volunteer working evening shifts, as a side job on the weekends, or once a year on Earth Day. Whatever the case may be, there’s sure to be an organization requiring your assistance.
Related Read: How to Choose a Charity to Support in 4 Simple Steps
2. Volunteering Improves Health & Well-Being
One of the most well-documented benefits of volunteering is its effects on your well-being. In one study published by the American Sociological Association, researchers took a look at the relationship between volunteering and six elements of a person’s well-being: physical health, self-esteem, happiness, sense of control over life, life satisfaction, and depression. They found volunteering had a significant impact on each aspect of well-being, particularly if the person was less socially integrated to begin with.
3. Volunteering Betters Your Understanding of the World
Depending on the kind of volunteer work you seek, you may get a unique opportunity to connect with, learn about, and immerse yourself in a community, culture, or group of people you otherwise may have never encountered or interacted with. Not only will this expand your intelligence and understanding of the world around you, but you’ll get a better sense of how society works—and what you can do to better it.
Of course, not all forms of volunteering will help you gain a better understanding of other communities, cultures, or walks of life. But just about every type of voluntary work will connect you to new people and experiences, which alone is enough to make the personal benefits of volunteering greater than any time and effort you’ll lose because of it.
Related Read: 25 Small Acts You Can Do to Have a Great Impact
4. Volunteering Advances Your Career
What lets you build great job skills, develop real-life working expertise, and network with amazing professionals? Why volunteering, of course! While volunteering should be about helping others, it’s hard to overstate the impact even a minor stint has on your career. In fact, a “volunteer experience” section is one of the best things to include on a resume.
And, if you’re just starting out and looking for a first job but wondering how to get a job with no experience, volunteering is experience. On top of that, it shows the prospective company, recruiter, or hiring manager that you are a hard worker, work well on a team and with others, and have an all-around great attitude and character. If you’re looking for the best way to improve your job prospects, volunteering is really hard to beat!
Related Read: How to Turn Your Passion Into a Career in 5 Easy Steps
5. Volunteering Can Create Lifelong Friendships
Finally, friendships! One of the most overlooked benefits of doing community service or volunteering is you have the chance to make friends with people who share your passions, interests, and determination to effect positive change. When you’re working side-by-side with peers towards the same goal, it’s pretty difficult not to create some strong attachments. And, while the purpose of volunteering isn’t to meet your BFF, who knows? You may do just that!
These are our top five benefits of volunteering, and, while there are plenty of other reasons to volunteer, we’ll leave it at that. But, if you have any questions, feedback, or more examples of why volunteering is important, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!