Volunteering does not have to be a purely altruistic activity. Getting involved can benefit you too!
Volunteering can be a fantastic resource in terms of developing new skills, testing career options, meeting people and generally opening up new opportunities. These benefits often go unspoken as volunteering is about helping others. Isn’t it?
Finding the right volunteering option for you is about being honest about what you hope to achieve. If in the process you further the goals of your particular volunteering project it’s a win-win.
Below are some of the personal and professional benefits one can gain from volunteering:
The hands-on experiences that volunteering offers can provide you with valuable skills and information. These can range from an increased awareness of what is happening in your community to new computer skills.
There is no better feeling than that of being valued. Contributing unique skills, experiences and perspectives can leave you feeling like an integral part of something greater than yourself. In turn, such positive social psychological factors are correlated with lower risks of poor physical health. Volunteering may enhance a person’s social networks to buffer stress and reduce risk of disease.
Volunteering can introduce you to new professional options. It can be a wonderful way to learn more about a particular role or sector. It may give you an insight into the culture of a prospective career path and allows you to test the waters before making a switch.
It can also be an excellent opportunity to network. We have all heard the stories of successful connections taking place in the gym or in the local garage. Why not add the local Scouts group or animal shelter to that list?
In addition to professional networking, volunteering is a simple and meaningful way to meet new people. If you are new to your community this is particularly applicable. Volunteer and get to know others who care about the same issues that you do.
Have an impact
Lastly, volunteering is one of the best ways we know of to make a difference in your community. Whatever it is that interests you, however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to make a real and lasting impact.