The Benefits of Volunteering
It’s National Volunteer Week, and we are honoring all the people around the world who offer their time, talents, and resources to make a positive impact on their communities. It’s also the perfect time to encourage even more people to give back through volunteering. The benefits of volunteering go far beyond what the eye can see. Volunteering not only influences the lives of those we serve but also changes us in ways we never dreamed possible.
How Volunteering Benefits Others
Most nonprofit organizations rely heavily on the selflessness of others to complete their mission. Nonprofits strive to keep their overhead costs low so more of their funding can directly impact those they serve. However, organizations can only steer this money away from administrative costs and towards the clients if they have a strong base of volunteers who keep the program running smoothly.
When you volunteer, you’re freeing up financial resources that are desperately needed to help others.
Depending on how you volunteer, you could also be making a direct impact on the lives of the people you serve. What might feel like “no big deal” to you – serving a meal, working one-on-one with a single mother, or giving a hug to a child in need – could be the very action that encourages someone else to keep going.
Finally, volunteering sets a positive example for others around us. When we volunteer, it encourages our friends, families, and co-workers to get involved as well. The more people who volunteer, the more impact we can have on those in need worldwide.
Volunteering is Good for You, Too
Volunteers are incredibly valuable to nonprofit organizations and the people they serve. But volunteering has many personal benefits, too. Below are just a few of the many ways getting involved can have a positive impact on your life:
- Meet new, like-minded people.
- Learn new skills that you can apply to your work, home, or school.
- Gain valuable experience that could translate to job advancement.
- Learn about different cultures and ways of life.
- Be more appreciative of what you have: a home, running water, plenty of food, etc.
- Appreciate new ways of thinking and see the world from a different point of view.
- Bolster your resumé or school applications.
Most importantly, however, volunteering allows us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We can put our own needs on hold and serve those less fortunate than us. Through that action, volunteers are actually boosting their own mental and emotional health.
The research on volunteering supports this. A study out of U.C. Berkeley found that people who volunteered in the last year reported being happier with their lives. They experienced fewer instances of depression and anxiety, and had greater satisfaction in their jobs, relationships, lives overall.
Furthermore, the report found that the more often people volunteer, the happier they are. That is, volunteering regularly doesn’t just help those around you – it makes you happier, too.
Between the social connection and the “feel-good” sense of helping others, volunteering can dramatically impact our lives in many positive ways.
How to Get Started Volunteering
If you’re not already volunteering, it’s time to get started. Join a cause that is important to you and find ways to support those in need.
There are nonprofit organizations dedicated to nearly every cause under the sun. If you’re passionate about making a difference in the world, there is sure to be an organization where your talents are welcome.
Take the first step today. Search our website at GreatNonprofits.org and browse thousands of organizations worldwide. Everyone can make a difference, whether you want to devote many hours a week or just a few minutes a month. There are many benefits of volunteering – both for those you serve and for yourself. As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, let’s discover new ways to make the world a better place.