The work done by charities, nonprofit organizations and other altruistic groups to make a positive difference in the world is endless, and even those who have a roster of paid staff usually rely on volunteers to stay effective. Giving up your time to help a worthwhile cause is of course a fantastic way to make the world a better place, but did you know it can also bring you some more personal benefits? Here’s how.
What types of volunteering can I do?
Before we get into the specific benefits of volunteering, let’s look at what it actually entails. There are many different ways in which you can work with your favorite charity or nonprofit, for example:
- Helping at an animal shelter for abandoned cats and dogs
- Doing a shift at a charity store
- Assisting at a one-off event, such as a Christmas Fair or tree planting
- Running an information stand and encouraging people to donate money
- Offering your skills in specific areas, such as building a website or writing for a blog
- Giving blood
- Taking part in an event, such as running a marathon
- Distributing leaflets door to door to raise awareness of an issue
- Tutoring disadvantaged children
- Cooking and serving food at a local soup kitchen
These are only a few of the possibilities that are available, so be sure to contact any charities or organizations that you’re interested in working with to find out what options they have available.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
Now that you have a better idea of what volunteering involves, it’s time to talk about why it can be good for you. In addition to the obvious advantage of making a positive impact on a cause that you care about, volunteering can change your life in a more personal way. For example, it can be a great opportunity to meet people from lots of different backgrounds and of different ages, but with who you definitely have at least one thing in common with. Also, if you’ve recently moved to a new area, volunteering can be a good chance to make new friends.
Volunteering can also help to build your confidence and give you the opportunity to learn some valuable new skills. This could be anything from physical skills, computer skills, or transferable skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. All of these can look very impressive on your resume next time you’re looking for a new job or promotion.
Research has also found that volunteering can be good for both our mental and physical health. It has been shown to lower stress and blood pressure, help with depression, decrease cognitive decline, and give us a stronger sense of purpose in our lives. Volunteering can even make you happier! The key is to find an opportunity with a cause that you genuinely care about and that suits your talents and personality. That way, you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long term, enabling you to not only reap the full benefits but also help the charity or organization you volunteer with as much as possible.