5 Hidden Benefits of Volunteering
by Emily Venables.
Have you ever considered volunteering but were stuck with where to start? Or didn’t know what you fancied doing with your time?
Volunteering now is just as much about helping out someone else as it is about developing yourself. Long gone the days of hours spent doing something you weren’t interested in because you felt you had too. There are so many doors open to volunteers nowadays, whether you’re a creative type, love meeting people face to face, want something more hands on or simply have a few hours spare in the evening there is something out there for you!
You might ask: But what will I get out of it?
We hear you! Well, apart from the satisfaction of helping an organization or person in need of your time or skills, there are many benefits for the volunteer themselves. How does all of this sound…?
- Learn or develop a new skill
Volunteering as part of a programme or a stepping into a new industry can expose you to a range of activities and skills you may not have had to use in your day to day life. Skills such as communication, team work, using your initiative, problem solving, planning and organising may just make you stand out from the crowd when you need to most!
2. You can make a difference to someone’s day
Whether you are tasked with something small or you are making big changes, you could really be helping change the life of some one else. It could be through helping organise an event to raise money or simply making someone smile — you never know, you could go out and make someone’s day simply by turning up and giving a helping hand.
3. Be part of a community of volunteers & meet new people
Help each other make a difference. Volunteering can enable you to meet new and different people from all walks of life, back grounds, ethnicity and interests that you may not usually have the opportunity to meet.
Volunteering is also the perfect platform to ease yourself into a new social situation, if you find yourself struggling to meet new people or find the whole situation a little daunting, every one you meet through volunteering is in the same boat looking to try and achieve similar goals to you! What a perfect starting place to branch out and make some new contacts.
4. Boost your career
Showing passion, motivation and initiative to go out and seek a cause you care enough about to volunteer for is a great way to get noticed. In a competitive job market, prospective employers are looking for someone who will go the extra mile to get what they want and voluntary work can help you get the experience you need. Employers are well aware of the commitment needed from volunteers and this should not go a miss once it has pride of place on your CV! No need to skip that part of the job application any more!
You may even feel more confident to tackle other tasks at work once you have gained more experience elsewhere!
5. Be happier!
Many studies have shown that volunteering can help people find perspective in their own life and combat feelings such as loneliness and depression. Join a community that can not only make other people feel happier, but help you improve your over all well being too.
Once you become more comfortable in your new role you may find your self-confidence increases too. The better you feel about yourself from helping others should have a positive effect on your own outlook of life.
The more you give, the happier you will feel! It’s in our nature!
What do our volunteers have to say?
“I think any charity work — large or small — gives you a warm feeling.”
F Cancer volunteer Mike McCoole has so far donated his help towards two charities as a graphic designer. His skills helped organisations, who did not have the funds or people power in house, achieve what they needed — this is where volunteering becomes so invaluable!
Why did Mike decide to volunteer?
“Like many people, I know too many effected by cancer; friends and family having suffered from cancer in its various disguises. Tragically, a lot of young lives amongst those numbers. Whilst I can’t afford to give monetary donations to every charity battling its own cause — I certainly can find a few hours a week to donate to these charities and help in anyway I can. After all, what I can do in a small amount of time for a charity, can go a long way to freeing up the good folk who work at these charities for awareness and money raising activities.”
Mike’s advice if you’re not quite convinced yet:
“Just go for it! Even if you’re skills don’t quite match up to what the charity required — you gave it a go. For aspiring creative and professionals, I would certainly offer as much as I could — charity work looks great on resumes/ CVs too.”
So, what have you got to lose?
Nothing, that’s what! Think of everything we have discussed above — making someone’s day, giving back to the community, meeting new people, learning a new skill, standing out from a competitive crowd, gaining a real sense of achievement, to name just a few! Even if you only experience one or two of these to start with, doesn’t that already make it worth it?
When it comes to volunteering passion and positivity are all that matters, everything else can be taught or given to you!