World Executives Digest |12 Terrific Benefits of Volunteer Work | According to the most recent statistics available, around 30% of Americans completed 6.9 billion hours of volunteer work during 2018.
Imagine what we could do if more people got involved in volunteering to help others. You needn’t have a hefty bank account or special skills to volunteer. No matter who you are, there’s some way you can make a meaningful contribution to the welfare of others.
Volunteering isn’t only about helping other people though, these are the benefits of volunteer work for those who’re doing the volunteering.
Volunteering Builds a Sense of Community
According to Loretta Kryshak of Rebel Reform, giving back to the community is a responsibility. It’s important to contribute towards your community and the world in general during your lifetime.
If you truly want to get involved in your neighborhood and get to know the people who live in it, volunteering is the way to go.
Working on important tasks together helps build camaraderie and goodwill amongst all those involved.
It Feels Good
Volunteering adds a sense of achievement in your life. You’ll get far greater satisfaction from spending your Saturday helping underprivileged children plant a vegetable garden than you will from watching reruns on TV.
When you get to experience the unfortunate circumstances of others, you’ll feel a lot more satisfied with your lot in life. Gratitude for the things you do have can help you to overcome life’s small hiccups more easily and experience a more contented existence.
Volunteering Gets You Out of the House
Turning your back on your usual lazy weekend tendencies is the best thing you can do for every area of your life. When you sign up for a volunteering stint you’re duty-bound to get out of the house and get active.
Even if your tasks involve little more than answering the phone, at least you’ll be doing something different from your usual mind-numbing routine.
In this way, volunteering helps you make a difference in your own life by getting you out of that boring rut you’re always complaining about.
Socialization is one of the major benefits of volunteering since it’s an integral part of human development and behavior. You’ll feel the benefits of increases socialization almost immediately and enjoy long-term positive effects from these interactions.
Consistent socialization has several mental benefits and can also bring other benefits to your life. Positive social interactions with other people can benefit you in many areas of your life.
After all, as the saying goes, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…’
You’ll Get To Try New Things
Many volunteers offer their services in areas of their expertise such as medicine. Yet, these same people could also end up painting walls, or picking up litter while working for charitable causes.
Volunteer organizations always have plenty of tasks up for grabs, so you could end up trying something new while volunteering.
You might even discover a hidden talent that you didn’t know you have.
Volunteering Increases Self-Esteem
As you learn more skills and discover that you can make a difference in other people’s lives, you’ll start to feel a sense of greater self-worth. After all, you’ve got to be a good person if you’ve spent so many hours in the service of others.
Following on from learning new experiences, when you succeed something you’ve never tried before, your self-esteem’s bound to soar.
Health Benefits of Volunteer Work
The health benefits of volunteering are far-reaching and extensive. Some of the best health benefits of volunteer work include the following:
- Increased longevity
- Reduced risk of developing dementia and Alzheimers
- Reduced depression
- Combats loneliness
There’s no doubt that volunteering for physical activities burns body fat and can help you improve your fitness and overall well-being.
Alleviates Mental Health Issues
In prisons and mental institutions, volunteering’s used as a type of treatment for mental issues like PTSD. Inmates take part in the ‘Paws for Life’ initiative, which allows inmates to train shelter dogs.
These exercises make it easier for these dogs to find a home but they also help keep the prisoners calm and give them a sense of purpose. In this way, it reduces the anxiety associated with PTSD and other mental conditions.
The ‘Paws for Life’ program is a good example of the win-win nature of charity work.
Volunteering Can Help Your Career
Not only does charity work look good on your CV, but you can also add your new-found skills to your resume. Employers view volunteer work in a very favorable light since it represents several valuable traits that they find desirable.
After all, what’s not to love about volunteers? They’re team players, they’re capable of hard work, and they care about the well-being of others.
If you’re a business owner, your community will reward your efforts by supporting your business first.
Learning About Other People and Cultures
One of the biggest benefits of charity work is that it’s akin to travel in some ways. When you venture out of your comfort zone to help people from other cultures and social classes, you’re experiencing a world that’s foreign to you.
While working with these underprivileged folk, or minorities, you’ll also get to rub shoulders with folk from all over town. These are people that you wouldn’t normally come across in your daily life.
Working with elderly people exposes you to a wealth of wisdom and interesting life stories that beats the stuff you’ll find in movies and books.
Develops a Sense of Purpose
Everyone has patches during their life where their career and home life seem like nothing more than an endless routine. As we master the tasks involved in our day jobs, it’s easy to feel like we’re missing the challenges that work once offered.
Volunteering helps add something new to the mix. Wherever you volunteer, you’ll have goals and targets to meet. There’s a good chance these goalposts will keep moving too.
In this way, volunteering gives you something to strive towards in your life.
Volunteering is Fun
There’s a lot to love about volunteering, but it’s also a fun experience. Doing work you enjoy, or using your hobbies to help others is a great way to pass the time.
Volunteering also gives you the chance to discover new interesting pursuits and meet like-minded people. It’s a wonderful escape from your day-to-day routine of family commitments, work, and school.
A fun day out with fellow volunteers creates a positive state-of-mind that spills over into your home and work life.
Getting Started With Volunteering
No matter how much free time you have to offer, volunteering’s a great way to fill it. Don’t rush out and sign up for the first thing you see though.
You’ll always create more impact and gain more personally, by undertaking volunteering that’s a good fit for you. Take the following into consideration when you’re looking for somewhere to volunteer:
- Your interests and skills
- How much time you can contribute
- Causes that are important to you
- Would you prefer to work solo or in a team?
- Do you want to work on the frontlines or behind the scenes?
It’s very important to decide whether you can cope with the emotional burden of volunteering at a particular organization. If you’re very sensitive or empathetic, you’ll experience untold trauma by volunteering at a home for abused children or animals.
Rather opt for a more hands-off volunteering experience if you think particular tasks could upset you. There are many ways to help distressed people without having to deal with their harrowing experiences first hand.
Some of the best places to volunteer include the following:
- Community theaters
- Museums and monuments
- Senior centers
- Service organizations i.e Lions Club
- Local animal shelters
- Wildlife centers
- Youth organizations and after-school programs
- National parks and conservation organizations
- Churches and synagogues
You can also search community notice boards for volunteering opportunities or look online for websites like VolunteerMatch and Idealist.
Find More Ways to Make Things Better
To sum up, the benefits of volunteer work extend far beyond the good you’ll do for those around you. You stand to enjoy significant and lasting benefits from your efforts too.
If you’d like to find out more about ways to improve your well-being, discover your passion, or figure out ways to make your life easier, keep reading our blog.
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