In the United States this week, we celebrate National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers that come together to tackle tough challenges, and build stronger, more resilient communities.
The busier we get in life, the more difficult it can be to find time to volunteer. There is much to be gained from volunteer work and some may be surprised by the benefits of volunteering their time for a community service project. Below we highlight some of the ways that volunteering can have an impact on your personal and professional life.
Improve Your Health by Volunteering
We know that committing to one more activity on an ongoing basis may lead to more stress. However, studies have shown that volunteering can actually benefit both mental and physical health.
- By volunteering, you can counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety by building meaningful connections to other people. If you like animals, working with animals has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Volunteering gives you a sense of accomplishment and can help you improve skills which will improve self-confidence. Spending some time doing something that makes a difference in the life of somebody else will make you feel very good about yourself.
- Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with every day tasks, and are less likely to develop high blood pressure.
- Finally, volunteering is a feel-good activity that will make you feel happier. We are hard-wired to give to others and the more we give, the happier we feel.
Expand Your Network by Volunteering
When you volunteer your time to a community project or activity you will be making new connections. These connections will be interacting with you in ways that can showcase your skills and business offerings. By establishing a strong network and building your reputation, you are helping to secure a network that may benefit you professionally in the future. You never know when the time might strike to share your elevator pitch.
Advance Your Career by Volunteering
If you are considering a new career or want to expand your skillset in a certain area, volunteering is a great way to acquire new skills. Many volunteer opportunities will include training which is a great way to expand your skillset with little-to-no financial commitment. Even if you aren’t looking to change careers entirely, volunteering will often contribute to skills that are useful in almost any professions (time management, teamwork, organization, budgeting, communication, problem solving, etc). Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in a new field, and to test out skills before traveling down a new career path.
You can also showcase your volunteer achievements on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and these activities may help you land your next job.
If you choose to inspire people through giving back, you may end up gaining a lot more from giving back than you anticipated. With the exposure and the opportunity to meet new people, you can end up with a large network of people who always have your back, and when combined with the skills and health benefits gained from volunteering, it’s a win-win.
We would like to thank those who volunteer their time and energy to this world a better place. Keep up the amazing work!