The Personal Benefits of Volunteer Work

Have you ever felt the desire to help your community, but wondered how you would find the time for others? While altruism is arguably the best motivator for enlisting with a charitable organization, there are many tangible personal advantages to giving your time for nonprofit work. Whether you are a student, a working professional or a stay-at-home mom, volunteering is an excellent way to gain work experience and broaden your social network.

Professional Benefits

For one, volunteer work will flesh out your resume and set you apart from the crowd. Past charity work says a lot about your character, giving you a multi-dimensional personality and highlighting your good nature. Even more importantly, volunteer positions show future employers your drive and dedication. Such accomplishments demonstrate initiative, personal will, leadership skills and the ability to work hard.

Sandra H., a successful young woman from Toronto, has experienced first-hand what charity work can do for your career. She has a Masters degree from the University of Oxford and was recently offered a job with a global IT consulting firm. When she was 18, Sandra volunteered for a Big Sister program in her hometown, which she says was not only an immensely fulfilling experience - it also gave her an edge career-wise. "People are really impressed by long-term volunteer commitments and activities," she explains. "This volunteer position has helped me endlessly with job applications and interviews. I'm pretty sure it's the reason I got my summer job at a law firm, and having had that job in conjunction with the Big Sister project has certainly helped me in my achievements."

Another motivation for volunteering is to broaden your horizons and develop new skills that could be beneficial to your career. You may discover interests you were unaware of, learn more about a subject that appeals to you, or even choose a new career path!

Social Networking

A nonprofit job opens the door to meeting many interesting and diverse people that can have an impact on your life, in one way or another.

Surveys show most people feel they have benefited from meeting volunteer contacts and developed better interpersonal and communication skills while participating in charity work. Keep in mind that social contacts are also a potential career investment: an acquaintance could very well be the key to a new career opportunity. Networking is a valuable tool to increasing your business prospects. And don't forget, a philanthropic group activity is the perfect setting in which to impress others and show off your abilities.

If nothing else, volunteer work offers the opportunity to meet people who share your interests. Many adults find it difficult to meet new people outside of the work or home environment. Volunteering at a local organization can be a good way to make new friends - or even new romantic interests!

Good for the Body and Soul

Feeling under the weather? Try volunteering! Research shows there may be health benefits to volunteering. For example, an improved sense of well-being and higher self-esteem may lower certain health risks associated with anxiety and depression.

Perhaps the most important of all reasons to volunteer is to experience the sense of achievement and personal fulfillment that volunteering can bring. Joanna C. is a preschool teacher from Vancouver whose past volunteer work helped her land the teaching position she currently holds. Now that she's working full-time, she continues to volunteer for young children with learning disabilities because of the personal joy it brings her to reach out to others. " I truly love all the families and children I have met while doing this and I always look forward to it," she says. The appreciation Joanna feels for these families and the feeling of giving back to her community are immeasurably gratifying. Volunteering can give you self-confidence and self-worth that will reflect on all aspects of your life.

Finding a Volunteer Organization

To find a volunteer job that is right for you, first consider your interests and determine which causes you are most passionate about. Do you enjoy working directly with people? Is caring for animals or wildlife more your style? Once you have determined the general type of work that inspires you, you can contact local organizations to find out if they are in need of volunteers. For a broad view of some of the positions that are available, check out www.volunteermatch.org or www.volunteersolutions.org: these websites have listings of volunteer positions by zip code and will undoubtedly have a diverse list of opportunities near you.

Now you can set aside the time for volunteering, knowing you will be helping others as well as yourself!

Comments 22 comments

Sapristi! profile image

Sapristi! 8 years ago Author

Thanks to marisue for being my first commentator on HubPages!!

Lol, not sure I'd go for the dunkings myself... I admire you and all others who give their time freely to helping others. Personal benefits aside, I think volunteering for those in need without asking for anything in return is truly being in touch with your human spirit.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

it is a sign of a true giver...and we don't know what kind of a giver we'll be -- until we do it. I learned a lot about myself and one thing in particular I learned is -- I can tolerate way more than I ever thought possible. hah

Before I sound toooooo "up there" into sainthood, most of the time, fostering or other ways of volunteering just keep you so busy and occupied, that you don't have time to toot your horn. haha

marisue ---keep hubbing!!


John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee

Great post. I am a big believer in the more you give the more you get.

If often tell people, if you want more from life, start giving more to live.

John


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

I really enjoyed this hub! I agree, focusing on others keeps you from having a me me me me attitude. Welcome to hubpages :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Excellent hub!

The links are wonderful resources. Volunteermatch returned 147 volunteer opportunities within a ten-mile radius of my home.

Marisue, that guy deserved to be dunked. It's the perfect volunteer job for him, since he's all wet anyway. When you volunteer, you represent the organization you volunteer for just as if you were an employee. He did that charity organization a diservice. I think your response was perfectly appropriate.

Welcome to HubPages, Sapristi!. I look forward to reading more of your hubs!


Sapristi! profile image

Sapristi! 8 years ago Author

Thank you all for the posts and the warm welcome!

Sally, I'm glad you checked out the links. I have found tons of interesting projects going on in my area through those websites. If more people knew how easy it is to find a volunteer group, I bet they would be more likely to get up and go do it.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

hahaha Sally, you're right -- he was all wet....cute comment. People often misunderstood foster parenting...some people would even say to us..."you mean there's abused and neglected children in our community?" ( It was a small town, near bigger ones...)

another comment they would make is "I admire you. I just couldn't do it...I'd get too attached." I always wanted to say back "naaa we don't get attached, we just move 'em in and move 'em out."

Of course you get attached...but the goal of foster care everywhere in this country is "re-unification" whereever safely possible. What comes in, will eventually go back out. You know that from the beginning and give what strength you can to the family. And, really the people who commented meant well...it's a road hard to understand until you walk down it...and I did my best to be gracious to other people who were trying to understand. Our hearts broke often though...and after 18 years...it was time to retire. sigh. good to hear from you...Marisue


annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

Sapristi, great work on a beautifully written and inspiring hub. Volunteering is especially near and dear to my heart, since I work at a non-profit and we depend on volunteers every day!

Some other places look for opportunities include www.volunteerway.org, which is sponsored by the United Way, and www.idealist.org, where volunteers, interns, and professionals can network for opportunities around the world.

Happy volunteering, everybody!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Yes!!! Thanks for a great Hub that illustrates benefits to the volunteers as well as the people that are being aided. This is so important. All of us in my martial arts schools do volunteer work at hospitals, churches, schools, special events, crusades, disasters, overseas, all kinds of places, and really connect with the people we serve.

This is part of what the Bible means about a leader being a servant to mankind. For me, it is a personal ministry and a lifetime commitment. Providing some free martial arts classes and homework tutoring for 20 years to the physically challenged and those with lower incomes has seen several rise from wheelchairs permanently and others graduate college who were not "supposed to be able to do it."

Miracles will occur through volunteering - big ones and small ones, but all miracles.

Thanks again for the Hub.


flread45 profile image

flread45 8 years ago from Montana

I have donated to the homeless by giving clothes,and money.It's not hard.


Sapristi! profile image

Sapristi! 8 years ago Author

Thanks anne! That's great that you work for a non-profit! I've been looking at some non-profit jobs myself lately. I just can't bring myself to work for a self-serving corporation. If you have any advice on finding a job in the non-profit sector, please let us know!

Patty - what you guys have done with martial arts sounds amazing. Miracles do come from within us. Thanks to all the strong and compassionate people who realize they can make a difference. And thank you for the comment!


annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

Hi Sapristi, www.idealist.org is a really great place to start a career search - we found our current Executive Director by posting a job listing on the website.

The best advice I can give is to volunteer for an organization you love. That's how I got started - they offered me a job a few months after I started volunteering. To this day, the majority of our new instructors come directly from the volunteer pool. Because I've known them for years, and they're familiar with our philosophy and practices, a volunteer can be a better bet for a new hire than someone off the street.


Sapristi! profile image

Sapristi! 8 years ago Author

True, true. I've been in a couple of volunteer leader positions and you are absolutely right, I wouldn't really trust anyone but someone who knows the ropes and is good at their job already to take over. Thanks for the tips!


Volunteer NC 7 years ago

Inspirational hub on volunteering, thanks for your insights!


Roger Carr 7 years ago

Thanks for the great post on volunteering. I have met the kindest and most generous people while volunteering.


goodnewuser 6 years ago

Great hub!

There is more satisfaction in giving something than receiving it in the long run.Non-profit organization namely www.ivolunteers.org helped me to get started with volunteering.

Great job Sapristi! Keep it up!


smile 5 years ago

That's the amazing.So i wanna be volunteer.


student 5 years ago

thank u im using your info to help be on my report thanks!


student 5 years ago

thank u im using your info to help be on my report thanks!


peapod97 5 years ago

we do charity work too!

at feed my starving children minnesota


JOSH 5 years ago

THANK


Doe-Dartey Believe 3 years ago

Hello Sir/Madam,

My name is Believe Doe-Dartey and I am the director of ‘World Class Volunteers Network’.

Our experienced organization focuses its work on three main areas, namely – documenting local impoverished communities, improving the environment (both local and global) and developing communities through voluntary work.

We have made documentaries that highlight undeveloped potential tourist sites, poor educational facilities and dangerous health and water conditions that can be found in many deprived areas of Ghana.

We have recently started running environmental projects where we enable communities to use their toilets to generate ‘Biogas’ for domestic and commercial use.

The current global financial crisis makes sustaining an organisation such as WCVN very difficult!

However, there is a lot you can do to help, such as showcasing our documentaries to your friends or any organisations you think could help our cause, organising a fund raising event which could go directly to those who need it most. You can even set up a volunteer group and come and work with us in Ghana. No commitment is too small and we have the experience and infrastructure to help you in your endeavours.

my Email.saffertransport@yahoo.com

Thank you, I hope to hear from you soon

With love,

Believe Doe-Dartey

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