Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things a person can do in their life time.
Why do people volunteer? Is it because it feels good to give back? Or maybe it’s because you have a personal connection with the cause. No matter the reason, volunteering is an amazing experience that can provide you with more opportunities than you ever even realised. When you invest your time in an organisation and its mission, there is plenty for you to gain. And, you should be seeking ways to make the most of your experience.
Volunteering can sometimes be viewed as an entirely selfless act, with the assumption that you’re sacrificing your time and resources to help others without any benefit to yourself. Although our primary goal through volunteering may be to help others, we also know that the experience feels awesome!
Before getting started with a volunteer opportunity, it’s important to ask yourself what you’d like to learn or accomplish from the experience. If you jump into an opportunity that doesn’t follow your passions on some level or doesn’t involve in any way your current skills or interests, you could walk away with a negative volunteer experience.
You will gain confidence! Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement.
You’ll create meaningful connections! It takes more than a great skill set to build a successful career. As a volunteer, you have the flexibility and freedom to move around an organisation and donate your time to areas that truly interest you. This also allows you to reach a number of people, many of which may be key decision makers. Use this time to build a strong social network. It is a great way to build positive relationships by building bonds of trust and developing a deeper respect for diversity.
By volunteering you will get to know many of the people around you. Introduce yourself, learn from the organisations leaders and try to develop long term relationships that you can call on at a later stage in your career and be part of a community. Volunteering can help you feel part of something outside your friends and family.
You’ll develop better people skills! Volunteering can reintroduce you to the feeling of being on the front line. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what it means to connect with and work alongside a number of people. Whilst leadership skills are always desirable, never underestimate the significance of people skills. Improving your ability to effectively communicate will only strengthen and improve your work environment!
You’ll practice self-reflection and mindfulness! As a volunteer, you may be exposed to a number of issues that, otherwise, you would have known very little about. Take this time to really educate yourself and understand why the charity or organisation is trying to tackle these problems.
Also, spend some time reflecting on yourself. Many of us forget just how much we have to be grateful for. In our journey to do great things, we should never forget or become disconnected with what we already have.
You’ll inspire others to do good! Volunteering sparks a contagion between people who match-up emotionally, whether that’s friends, family or that handful of colleagues you’re really close with. The more positive you feel about your volunteer work, the more this enthusiasm and dedication can spread to people nearby. By sharing your positive experiences with those around you, you’re inspiring others to do good and give back.
You might even find your calling! So, you’re still searching for a role that truly suits your skill set. Or maybe you have found your dream job title but still looking for an organisation that really allows you to love what you do. In both of these instances, volunteering can be a blessing in disguise. This is a chance for you to find your feet and get immersed within a campaign or cause that strikes a chord with you.
You will have the time of your life! Most volunteers have a great time, regardless of why they do it. Part of being a great volunteer is loving what you’re doing. Find something that you’re passionate about or something that inspires you, and then find a need in your community. There are dozens of reasons why you should volunteer – you just need to find the one that feels right.