Volunteering is Your Best Move
by Lindsay Tafelski
Perhaps you’ve thought of volunteering in your community and are still not quite ready to make the leap. You might be surprised what you can gain from giving your time. There’s no doubt that you will create real change — both for yourself and the community — along the way.
Most nonprofits rely on unpaid volunteers to help them reach their goals — whether that be through the giving of time, energy, or resources. And it’s through the collective power of the group that they’re able to achieve their mission.
Here are a few benefits of volunteering:
New Faces in New Places
Looking to build new friendships or network for the health of your career? Diving in on a shared volunteer project is a great way to get to know others and bond.
Often, you’ll meet people who you have a lot in common with and who share an interest in giving back. You’re also likely to meet people who are very different from you and who may broaden your understanding of issues others face in your community. It’s when we broaden our understanding and perspective that we’re even more motivated to create change.
With many new people in your life, you’ll develop solid relationships with people in many lines of work. If you’re looking for a new role, often they may provide a contact or even a job idea you’d never considered.
You’ll also develop new skills while volunteering that make you an even better candidate for available jobs. Volunteerism looks great on a resume because it gives your potential employer confidence that they’re hiring someone who goes above and beyond.
What do we all want more than anything else in this world? I’d argue it’s happiness. Studies show that community involvement increases your sense of wellbeing. It may be partly the social connections you make while volunteering or a personal pride over a job well done.
The act of giving back also boosts your self-esteem. As you work on projects you learn new skills, gain knowledge, and develop confidence in your capabilities. And when you achieve great things for others and receive thanks in response, it can make you feel even better on a psychological level.
In addition to mental benefits, giving back can also ramp up your physical wellness. How so? Well, first of all, it can reduce stress.
Spending time giving to a noble cause while building social connections reduces our stress by helping us to move our focus away from our own concerns and toward positive action for others.
By reducing our stress, our body responds with fewer colds and flus, better sleep, and even a reduction in major ailments like heart disease. Studies have even reported increased longevity for volunteers.
Live longer. Be happier. Be connected. Does this sound worthwhile to you?
In truth, there are many more benefits of volunteering. The best way to discover them? Take action yourself!