Volunteering as a science: Helping people and the wellness quotient

Volunteering is a means to render one’s services and resources for the benefit of the community and the society as a whole. Moreover, the immense self-satisfaction and peace of mind brought about by volunteering activities keeps one motivated to maintain an optimistic outlook.

On a personal level, volunteering is good for the body and mind while stimulating the senses towards a higher purpose in life. Volunteering is a learning curve to pick up new skills and utilise them for career advancement. However, for all the good things associated with volunteering, it never requires a long-term commitment. Even the simplest activities in terms of sharing and contribution are a great way to get started.

‘Helping others can instil happiness’, it is no longer a motivational maxim but a scientifically established fact. In a study conducted at the London School of Economics, the researchers examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness among a large group of American adults. The results showed that the more people volunteered, the happier they were thus establishing a direct relationship between volunteering and happiness.

A correlation between one’s Happiness Level and Volunteering trends showed Sweden among the Top 10 Countries as per World Happiness Report. The reason being that around 48% of the Swedish people between 16–74 age participate in volunteering work.

Apart from the direct positive impact on the mental health, volunteering is also an effective cure for ailments plaguing older adults. Some research also shows the positive effects of volunteering in maintaining blood pressure, safeguarding cardiovascular diseases and improving thinking skills. NCBI claims that volunteering even improves an individual’s morality.

However, it’s difficult to pass the thought of devoting time, energy, and resources for any purpose. Several constraints bind us. But the field of volunteering has been completely revolutionized with platforms like ours, that promotes corporate volunteering goals, while simultaneously engaging with employees.

The contribution of volunteering in improving the employee efficiency and engagement has been acknowledged by the business and marketing sectors. Employees with a better engagement rate continuously enhance their capabilities, work diligently, and have a direct, positive impact on the overall productivity of the company. Furthermore, what else can be better than a well-organised volunteer program to strengthen employee engagement?

There are some ground fundamentals for any institution, corporate, or otherwise to initiate volunteering programs.

1. Make volunteering mission oriented:

It is always advisable to plan volunteering initiatives and partnerships that resonate with the value system as propounded by the organisation. For example, a company associated with the healthcare field can partner with shelter-homes, elderly care initiatives. A direct involvement of the volunteers in taking major decisions regarding the initiatives is the hallmark of holistic participation and teamwork.

2. Inspiring volunteering and upholding its importance:

Elaborate discourses on organisation of community engagement are of little use if there is no policy to encourage employee volunteer work. An active and dedicated Employee Volunteering Committee that facilitates volunteering initiatives focusing on the core values of the company is an important constituent of proactive employee volunteer program.

3. Volunteering as a tool to develop and hone new skills:

Utilising individual strengths in a volunteer work is an opportunity to build upon basic skills for the benefit of the greater community. Volunteering opportunities provide extensive training and experience in a new field. For example, you could become an experienced crisis counselor while volunteering for a women’s shelter. Volunteering is a chance to explore an all-new career trajectory without a long-term commitment.

Most importantly, volunteering should never be a compulsion or a guilt-ridden enterprise. Volunteering initiatives need to resonate with the ideals and beliefs of an individual, an organisation, and of a community. Volunteering is not a top-down approach, but an essence of mindfulness to fulfill the needs of self and those around.