Volunteering means spending some of your free time helping others. You may volunteer to help other people, such as the families who lost their homes after a natural disaster. But you can also volunteer to protect animals, the environment, or any other cause that you care about. Volunteering helps others, but it can also help you, too. If you’re upset about something that’s happened — like a hurricane or other disaster — doing something about it can be a great way to cope with your feelings. Volunteering also lets you see your own life in new ways and lets you spend some time focusing on others for a while.
People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding. Here are some reasons why you should be a volunteer:
Learn something new
As a volunteer you will have a unique opportunity to experience first-hand how work in the community and voluntary sector is conducted i.e. what structures, policies and attitudes inform the work of people and services responding to community needs.
Raise awareness of the work you do
Volunteering is an opportunity to raise awareness of your company and the important work that you do. It allows you to connect ‘across sectors’ and see how your professional work is of value to the wider community.
Build new relationships
Volunteers have a valuable opportunity to meet and form relationships with community workers, service-users and the people whose lives are being benefitted by volunteerism.
Volunteering is a relaxed, non-pressurised and creative alternative to an ordinary work day!
Make a difference
Volunteering impacts on the community in a way that changes lives for the better. Your contribution will improve the lives of both individuals and the wider community.
Below are some of the reasons that provides an opportunity to:
- Give something back to an organisation that has impacted on a person’s life, either directly or indirectly
- Make a difference to the lives of others
- Help the environment
- Help others less fortunate or without a voice
- Spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
- Gain confidence and self-esteem
For some, volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change. From this perspective, volunteering can be a way of:
- Gaining new skills, knowledge and experience
- Developing existing skills and knowledge
- Enhancing a CV
- Improving one’s employment prospects
- Gaining an accreditation
- Using one’s professional skills and knowledge to benefit others
For others, volunteering appeals because of its social benefits. These include:
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- A chance to socialise
- Getting to know the local community
There are some statements of volunteers:
- “I am volunteer because I find something incredibly satisfying about acting in a way that is consistent with my principles. Being able to say I changed something in the world, in the lives of others, gives meaning to my being here beyond simply looking after myself. For me, it changes my life from being purely self-centered to being something with meaning for others, too.
- “I am volunteer because it continuously teaches me something new about people, about cooperation, about compassion, and about myself. In helping others, I am reminded that we are all in this together and we need to remember to support each other. Life has so much to offer if we remember look beyond ourselves.”
CHANGING THE WORLD ALWAYS NEEDS VOLUNTEERS!