Why Volunteering is Important: 5 Ways Volunteers Benefit
Volunteering has seen a decline in recent years, according to a study released by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. However, there are still 62.6 million people who spent time volunteering in the last year. While some may not see the benefits of volunteering, there are actually many ways in which volunteers benefit from giving their time and effort to a cause. Here are five ways volunteers benefit:
1. Volunteering connects you to other people and to your community.
Volunteering helps you feel a greater sense of community and connection with the world around you. Instead of limiting your life to work, socializing, and your own family, you can gain insight into the lives of those in your community through volunteering. Whether it be serving meals at a local soup kitchen or reading stories to underprivileged youth, volunteering allows you to connect with people who you may not have otherwise met.
2. Volunteering gives you a perspective unavailable elsewhere.
Volunteering and non-profit work may seem like serious business, but emotions often drive volunteers to give their time. By connecting with the emotions behind volunteering, volunteers gain new perspectives on life that may have previously been closed off to them. Volunteering at a homeless shelter might make you realize that a job is not everything and that kindness and appreciation are invaluable qualities. Volunteering helps us gain perspective on what is truly important in life.
3. Volunteering looks great on a resume.
Volunteering can be a great asset when searching for a job. Volunteering long-term for an organization that you care about not only shows dedication to a cause that is above yourself, but it can also show potential employers that you have skills and experience in areas outside of your career path. Employers appreciate consistent dedication to solving social issues, and this quality can make a candidate stand out.
4. Volunteering actually improves your health.
Volunteering may not only help your mind but also benefit your body, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University. Volunteers over the age of 50 who volunteered consistently had lower blood pressure than those who did not. Specific types of volunteering can have specific health benefits. Tutoring children helps memory and cognitive function in older adults, and activities that require a lot of movement, like working in a soup kitchen, can help cardiovascular issues such as blood pressure.
5. Volunteering helps you develop new skills.
Volunteering can help you find skills you did not know you had. Whether you are an investment banker who has a knack for teaching or a nurse who can build houses, volunteering can help you discover skills outside of your career path. The only way to discover whether or not you have a skill is to continuously do it, and volunteering can provide the opportunity for just that.
In conclusion, volunteering provides not just benefits for those being served, but also for the volunteers themselves. By connecting with their community, gaining new perspectives on life, strengthening their resumes, improving their health, and developing new skills, volunteers can reap the rewards of their service. If you are interested in volunteering, visit volunteermatch.org or idealist.org to find an opportunity in your community. You won’t regret it.