Perhaps you are considering one of the many volunteer opportunities available in your area to make a difference beyond donating. There is something for everyone, whether you want to pursue your interests, fill a pressing community need, or expand your horizons. No matter what opportunity you choose, you’ll find that volunteering comes with an array of benefits for yourself and your community.
Here are 10 ways volunteering can change your life and those around you.
1. Health Boosts
Helping others has the potential to help your physical and mental health and well-being. While you’re likely to notice this on your own, numerous studies have backed it up. For example, a study in western Canada found that volunteering was associated with reduced markers of cardiovascular risk.
Some of the other health benefits related to volunteering include weight loss, improved sleep, increased energy, and more. A boost to health is a wonderful bonus on top of your other reasons and personal fulfillment associated with giving back to the community.
2. Social Interaction
Becoming a volunteer puts you in contact with other like-minded people that you are around on a consistent basis, making it easier to get to know people, feel comfortable around others and build a community. In the Volunteering in Canada component of the General Social Survey, 63 percent of volunteers said that volunteering helped them improve their interpersonal skills, and 43 percent said it helped their communication skills.
3. Career Opportunities
Volunteering can open the door to a certain sector or organization, helping you get noticed and build experience. While you start out providing services for free, you may be able to turn this opportunity into a paid position within the organization by inquiring about working there or applying for an open position. If not, you can still use the experience to build your resume through skills learned along the way.
You can also build key relationships that may help. The survey above found that 40 percent of volunteers said volunteering helped them improve their organizational and managerial skills. Also, many employers encourage their employees to volunteer to increase their soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
Through your charitable activities, you can learn about specific causes in your local community and the world. Seek out volunteer opportunities in an area of interest to you or see where the largest needs are and how you can get involved. The survey results showed that 33 percent of volunteers found it rewarding to learn about environmental causes, women’s issues, health, or other important causes.
5. Support to Organizations
Engaging in community service often helps non-profit organizations become more productive, which are run on minimal budgets and staff. These organizations are often limited in their capabilities and reach. As a volunteer, you can support the cause of an organization and help to further its impact.
6. Making an Impact
Carrying out a volunteer role puts you in the position to make an impact in society and your community. As this is something many of us desire, it can make you feel satisfied that you played a role in helping others. Any type of volunteering can help in some way, whether you are helping people directly, assisting animals in need, or working to improve the environment.
7. Feeling Like a Part of the Community
Many of us move from the community where we grew up and then often feel disconnected from the new community where we reside. Supporting the needs of a local organization can make you feel more integral to your community. The benefits you gain are attributed to your contribution. You will feel more rewarded and fulfilled by supporting more causes, attending more volunteer opportunities, and building more local relationships.
8. Gratifying Feelings
A writer for Harvard Health Publishing who is a volunteer says, “There’s something gratifying about volunteering. Whenever I work a charity event—which I try to do with some regularity—I often get more out of it than I give.” You might find that you feel the same way as a volunteer.
She also shared a study that regular volunteers who had altruistic intentions lived longer, so the gratifying feeling of helping others can help you as well. Giving your time to others can help you build empathy, give you a sense of accomplishment, and feel purposeful.
9. Helping Your Country
Volunteer opportunities don’t only provide benefits to your community but also to your country. The Conference Board of Canada explains that volunteer work has had a value as high as $55.9 billion in a year. As a volunteer, you would be contributing to public services and the work effort in your country, helping to further Canada as a whole.
10. New Experiences
Providing your time to a charitable cause can open your life in ways you may not have expected. It can expand your world by exposing you to new experiences and people. It can push you out of your comfort zone, challenge you, and help you learn more about the world around you. You may find that you gain a fresh start if you need one or that you feel more gratitude for everything you have.
Kambeo Connects Volunteers To Purposeful Opportunities
If you like the sound of gaining new skills, filling your time with purposeful activities, and experiencing other benefits, consider volunteer opportunities in your area with Kambeo. With a broad range of charities and nonprofits available to browse at your fingertips, you are sure to find an opportunity you are passionate about.