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The Joys of Volunteer Work

Updated on June 19, 2013

Work. For many people, that four letter word connotates painful images of physical labor, sweat, struggle, stress, and sometimes rather embarrassingly, tears. Why then, would anyone work for free? This is the question we might ask ourselves when deciding whether or not we should volunteer. To help answer this question, I'd like to share with you the potential joys of volunteer work. If you volunteer your time already, then you'll enjoy reading the following. If you've never volunteered your time, I invite you keep your mind open, and continue reading.

5 Benefits of Volunteer Work

1. Joy

There is much evidence that shows those who give money, or time, even in the smallest amounts, report a significantly higher quality of life. For example, this study from the Harvard School of Business that says not only do happier people give more, but giving causes increased happiness. Given the evidence, why is this so hard to believe? Maybe because all of our lives we have been taught this simple equation - money buys happiness. Today, we know more than ever - it doesn't. Giving is what buys happiness.

2. Knowledge

Whether you want to learn a new skill or master an age-old craft, a volunteer position could provide you with the opportunity to do that. Unlike paying positions, there's rarely an application, interview, or hiring process involved. Free labor is never discriminated against. If you are willing and able, you can find a volunteer position almost anywhere you choose. With that, remember to choose an organization that focuses on the particular subject you'd like to know more about. Soon, you'll be on your way to becoming a master in your chosen subject. The best part is, unlike costly universities, trade schools, or weekend seminars, it's free.

3. Community

As with any new job, you will be given the opportunity to meet and create things with a new group, or community of people. While the motivation behind those who volunteer may vary (whether it's the need to give back, make a difference, or cure boredom), the people are always the same - amazing. A volunteer position will provide you with a new community of wonderful and potentially life-long friends.

4. Love

If all of the world's problems could be solved with a single word, the word would be love. I know this is nothing new - as our late friend and founding member of The Beatles, John Lennon once said, "all you need is love." As we grow, our hearts fill with love. Volunteering your time for a great cause is one way to share that love. In sharing, you make room for more deeper, bigger, and better kinds of love. As you do, the universe will follow.

5. Positivity

Unlike paying work, volunteer work is often done on behalf of organizations whose bottom line is to bring positive change to the world, instead of the owners bank account. For this reason, you can be sure your work is playing a role in bringing positive change in our world, and in yourself too.

They make volunteering look fun. Maybe it is?
They make volunteering look fun. Maybe it is?

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