Research shows that volunteering is beneficial in many ways. Not just to the organisation or the community, but also to the volunteer. Here are some examples of what volunteering can do for you:
Build your confidence
Often volunteers encounter new challenges when they begin their volunteering experience and they find themselves doing things that they never thought they could do. Often they can share their experience with others and also learn new skills which can give them confidence in other areas of their life.
Make new friends
Working alongside people who have similar interests or who believe in the same causes that you do creates a bond. You meet people from all walks of life and create your own ‘community’ where you can make friendships that continue outside of the volunteering environment.
Volunteering can be fun! You can enjoy being involved in events, you feel good when you help other people or good causes and volunteering opens up a whole new aspect of your life.
Improve your health and wellbeing
There is evidence to show that volunteering can improve your health and sense of wellbeing.
In ‘The Healing Power of Doing Good’ writer Allan Luks finds medical and scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of volunteering such as:
- Heightened sense of wellbeing.
- Beneficial effects for those with insomnia.
- Stronger immune system.
- Speedier recovery from illness or surgery.
- Improve your job prospects.
Whilst volunteering is not necessarily a guarantee of employment, it can certainly improve your prospects. It will show potential employers that you haven’t just spent your time waiting around for the right job to come up. Instead it shows that you’ve been involved in something worthwhile and productive.
Volunteering also enables you to ‘road test’ different kinds of work activity and find out what suits you. Are you a team player or are you someone who likes to get on with things on their own? Are you good with people or do you work better in a ‘behind the scenes’ role?
Job seekers and graduates need more than just their qualifications now. They need to demonstrate that they have relevant experience, that they know how to work with others, that they are dependable and reliable. All of this can be found in volunteering.
Your volunteering experience could provide you with a reference and will make an impressive addition to your CV.