Tis the Season: 9 Reasons to Volunteer
It may be a cliche, but it is a good one: Giving really is better than receiving. With that in mind, this month’s AUM blog is looking at the benefits of volunteering during the festive season. Of course, we all know that volunteering is beneficial to the people we are helping, but there are a lot of benefits to ourselves as well. So with that in mind, let’s look at nine key reasons why you should volunteer at Christmas.
- Meet new people
Most volunteering roles allow you to meet new friends and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. This allows you to understand a range of other perspectives and improve your holistic view of the world.
Remember: Your fellow volunteers have chosen the same organisation as you to volunteer for. Therefore, it stands to reason that you will share common interests and views with the other volunteers.
- Get a purpose
For a lot of people, volunteering allows them to become part of something greater than themselves. This is especially the case for people who are retired, unemployed or grieving; volunteering can give your life new meaning, as well as giving you mental stimulation.
- Be part of the community
Volunteering is a great way of making you feel like a valuable part of the community. In many cases, volunteers subsequently want to get involved in other aspects of their community and add even more value to their local area.
- Improve your confidence
Volunteering is a great way to boost your self-esteem and confidence. Doing something that adds value to your community can give you a superb sense of achievement. Consequently, you end up feeling fulfilled and more positive about life.
- Enhance your social skills
If you spend time working with others, you will improve social skills, such as active listening and managing relationships. This will benefit you in other areas of your life and allow you to enhance your personal and work-related relationships.
- Leave your comfort zone
Volunteering often means that you have to leave your comfort zone and do something completely new with people you do not know. You may also have to tackle a variety of problems and use critical thinking skills. This is a great way of aiding your personal development.
There’s also the fact that many volunteering roles may involve physical activity. This exercise is another great way in which volunteering can benefit us.
- Improve your employability
You may not think that volunteering is a potential business networking opportunity. But remember that many of your fellow volunteers will have similar mindsets and backgrounds as you, they may even work in similar industries. What’s more, you may want to pursue a career in the area in which you are volunteering.
- Learn new skills
Volunteering will often give us new skills and viewpoints. These skills could include public speaking, marketing, communication and empathy, as well as a number of other hard and soft skills. These are all skills that you can add on your CV and improve your employability.
- Have fun!
Most importantly of all, volunteering can make us feel good. Contributing to projects and organisations that have meaning to us, can put a smile on our faces. And that can have a huge knock-on effect on our stress levels, as well as reduce the anger and/or anxiety in our lives.
Overall, volunteering can provide you with the tools you need to become a happy individual. It can allow you to build bonds and connections with people. In some cases, this can alleviate any feeling of social isolation.
How to find volunteering roles
Now that you know the fantastic benefits of volunteering, let’s look at how you can find volunteering opportunities and identify which one is right for you.
Volunteer opportunities can be found in a number of different places. Some of the most common include:
- Community groups
- Youth groups
- Parks and public gardens
- Care centres
- Animal shelters
- Places of worship
In all honesty, there will be a lot of volunteering opportunities that do not appeal to you at all. Think about the topics you are passionate about, and look for roles within those areas. This will allow you to explore your interests, plus potentially discover potential new ones, all whilst having a lot of fun.
Hansa Pankhania is a published author of 10 Wellbeing books for adults and children available on Amazon or through her website.
In her books, she is passionate about sharing natural wellbeing techniques which do not cost anything but nourish your body, mind, and soul in powerful ways.
She and her team offer Coaching and Training on Wellbeing, Stress Prevention, Resilience Building and related topics to Individuals and Managers.
She has a national and international team of affiliates who are committed to promoting individual wellbeing as well as develop mindful, compassionate, thriving workplace cultures.