Surprising Volunteer Benefits
Volunteering is great for many reasons—you can aid your community and provide a needed service, possibly something you love doing, and you can do that all at the same time. Plenty of schools even require a certain number of volunteer hours per semester. But besides the obvious, what makes volunteering so worthwhile?
Here are a few benefits of volunteering that you might not have known about:
Making new friends.
It’s an opportunity to be social! Volunteering connects you to people maybe you’ve never met before, or maybe you’re volunteering with friends. Either way, there are going to be members of your community that you can talk to and learn from, and it says a lot about you when you show up to help. Volunteering strengthens your ties to the community and puts you among like-minded people who care about the same causes you do.
Increasing your social skills.
For some, it’s easy and natural to strike up a conversation with someone new. For others, it’s a lot harder. Volunteering gives you an avenue to work on this, if you fall in the latter category. Although volunteering can be a once-and-done afternoon, it can also extend further, which will help you regularly spend time with the same people.
Keeping your mind and body healthy.
Feeling stressed? Help someone else. Feeling angry? Go volunteer. Feeling anxious? Get involved. Volunteering can help in literally any one of these situations, and, if you don’t believe it, take a second to research.
On the physical side, volunteering keeps you active, mobile. You’re walking more, you’re doing physical labor, and you’re probably enjoying yourself so much that you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
Advancing your career.
When you make new friends and meet new people, you’re establishing a larger network of acquaintances. You’ve heard it before: it’s not what you know, but who you know. And you never know who you’ll meet while you’re volunteering.
But, that’s not to say that what you know isn’t important, too. Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to pick up new skills for a job you’re interested in, but maybe don’t have a lot of experience with.
Many of the skills volunteers acquire are useful in other situations, too, even if they’re not job specific. By volunteering, you’re gaining skills in teamwork, communicating, solving problems, time management, and lots of others.
As much good as you’re doing when you’re volunteering, you’re getting so much more out of it than you realize