Many people want to give back to their community in one way or another. For instance, more than 50% of adults donate to charity. Others prefer to have a more hands-on approach and volunteer in their community.
Volunteering is a great way to get more active in your community and do good for those around you. Many people may way to volunteer, but don’t know where to start or what to do. So, what should they do?
One key thing to realize is that volunteering doesn’t only benefit the community. It also benefits you as a person. Donating your time and energy to a good cause can make you feel accomplished. And, there are multiple ways you can donate your time. Volunteering isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. Each person likes to volunteer in their own way, and each way has its own benefits. If you’re considering donating your time and volunteering in your community, here are some key benefits gained from volunteering and how they’ll help you in your daily life.
You Feel Fulfilled
One of the biggest benefits gained from volunteering is that you feel fulfilled afterward. Volunteering tends to give people a sense of purpose and direction. After all, you are donating your time to help out those around you and contribute to a cause you care about. If it’s in your nature to give back and want to help out, volunteering will give you a sense of fulfillment and joy.
The best part is that you can feel fulfilled even by doing the simplest tasks. Whether it’s dishing out food at a soup kitchen or building wood storage sheds for your local community center, you’ll feel as though you have a sense of purpose and that what you did made a difference. You’ll also get to see the look on your neighbors’ faces as you make a difference in their lives. What you may consider a small task could make a huge difference for them.
You Meet New People
When discussing the benefits gained from volunteering, you can’t leave out the great perk of meeting new people. Volunteering brings people together from all walks of life, which means you get to interact with people you may not typically see in your normal routine. This helps you broaden your social circle and make new connections in your community.
Volunteering can be especially beneficial for people who just moved to a new place and want to meet new people. If you just moved somewhere and don’t know anyone, try signing up for a local charity car wash or at an animal shelter. You’ll meet new people who share similar interests and could even help you settle in your new home.
You can also ask your friends and family if they want to volunteer too, that way you all meet new people. Meeting new people can help broaden everyone’s perspective and can build stronger community ties. Plus, the more people you recruit to help volunteer, the more work can get done.
You Help Your Community
Another one of the great benefits gained from volunteering is that you help your community. You never know what your neighbors are going through. Some of them may have lost their jobs and need to get food through a food pantry, while others may need help fixing up their local business. Volunteering to do something can make a significant impact on your community and strengthen your ties to the area.
There are multiple ways to help your community through volunteering. You could host a fundraiser and raffle off larger gifts (like a vacuum or a dishwasher) to raise money for your local food pantry. Or, you could help your neighbor update their small business in your spare time. You could also donate supplies to a local animal shelter to help animals in your community. Helping your community will help you feel accomplished and proud to live there.
If you aren’t sure how you can best help your community, talk to community officials or read the local newspaper. You can find information about what causes need the most help in your community. Then, you can determine what you can do for these causes and plan your volunteer hours around them.
You Gain New Skills
On top of the other great benefits gained from volunteering, another perk is that you gain new skills. Volunteering allows you to get outside of your comfort zone and work on projects you may not have worked on before. For instance, you could work with custom home builders to build affordable housing for people in your area. You could learn how to build homes, how to design rooms, and how to plan a new residential construction project.
You can use these new skills to upskill in your current job, or even switch careers if you build them up enough. You could find a new passion that changes your life for the better through volunteering. If your job is stressful and you aren’t satisfied with it, you could build up enough skills over time and pivot into a career you love. If you aren’t sure where to start, volunteering with something you have a passion for is a great starting point.
You can also use volunteering to fine-tune the skills you already have. If you have event planning skills, you can continue to use those skills and improve them through planning fundraising events for community organizations. If you’re good at knitting or sewing, you could make clothes and winter apparel and donate it to a charity for families in need. This way, you use the skills you already have to help your community.
You Gain Experience
Similar to learning new skills, one of the added benefits gained from volunteering is that you gain valuable experience. You can list your volunteer time on your college applications or your resume to show that you have some experience in the area you’re interested in. For instance, if you want to enter the roofing industry, you could list volunteering for a building project and all the roofing you did on that project. This is especially beneficial if you want to try and work for a roofing service company.
This volunteer experience can help you shift careers or stand out among other college applicants. This shows that you have a passion for whatever you volunteered to do and are dedicated to learning and growing in that industry.
You Boost Your Confidence
Another one of the benefits gained from volunteering is that you boost your confidence. Giving back to your community and doing something that makes you feel accomplished can help you feel better about yourself. That confidence will continue to grow the more you volunteer, which is motivation to keep volunteering and giving back.
This is especially true if you use your skills and experiences to give back. For instance, if you know how to sail, you could raffle off a sailing lesson at a charity fundraiser and teach someone in your community a new skill. This can boost your confidence as an educator and as a community member.
You Better Your Physical Health
One of the underlying benefits gained from volunteering is that you better your physical health throughout the process. You’re moving around quite a bit when you volunteer, which means you’re getting more exercise throughout the day. Moving around more can help you maintain a healthy weight and promote better overall health.
You can also build up your strength and stamina while you’re volunteering. This is especially true if you’re doing more laborious volunteer work, such as home building and roof cleaning. You build your strength up while simultaneously helping your community.
Another way to improve your physical health through volunteering is to plan a charity run or athletic event. You could organize and participate in a 5K or a softball game that helps raise money for a local cause. This helps keep you active while you also raise money for a good cause.
You Better Your Mental Health
In addition to improving your physical health, another one of the benefits gained from volunteering is that it betters your mental health. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose and direction, which can boost your confidence and improve your mental health. If you’re the type of person who loves to give back but rarely has the chance to do it, you could feel unfulfilled. However, volunteering gives you the chance to do give back in a meaningful way and make you feel happy about your contributions.
One of the keys to bettering your mental health through volunteering is to do something you’re passionate about. You could help teach classes at a local preschool center, or help establish a recycling program for your local community center. If you do something you love and know you’re making a difference, you could improve your mental health and feel good about your contributions.
Enjoying what you’re doing, meeting new people, and learning new things through volunteering can also boost your mental health. If these things bring you joy, that means your brain is releasing serotonin, which is a hormone that stabilizes our happiness. The more serotonin is released, the happier we tend to feel and the better our mental health tends to be.
You Establish New Habits
Another one of the benefits gained from volunteering is that you establish new habits. Doing the same things in your everyday life can make you feel restless, especially if it’s the same routine you’ve had for years. Volunteering allows you to branch out and establish new habits that shake up your routine. Instead of waking up late on a Saturday, you could wake up early and put up some wooden fencing for local businesses. Or, you could spend a couple of weeknights each week planning an auction that benefits a charity.
Breaking your daily routine and establishing new habits can help fight feelings of restlessness and boredom. Plus, establishing new habits can help you figure out where your passions lie and what activities you want to pick up.
Volunteering can also help you establish new routines. For instance, if you’re skipping going to the gym, you could make it a routine to hit the gym after you complete your volunteer work. Or, if you find that you order fast food and take out often, you could go grocery shopping after volunteering and pick up food to cook. Once you do something productive with your day, planning to do something else immediately afterward could increase your chances of it actually getting done.
You Make New Goals
Volunteering also helps you establish new goals in your life. You may have goals for your finances and your career, but do you have goals for personal fulfillment? If not, volunteering can help you establish new goals in your life. Perhaps you want to come up with a list of recycling tips for a community program, or maybe you want to start a new volunteer group that helps clean up the environment. Establishing these volunteer goals will give you something to work towards in your personal life and help you feel fulfilled.
You can also build on these goals as you volunteer more. You could start with a small goal of volunteering once a month. Before you know it, you’re volunteering once a week. You could set a goal for baking a batch of cookies for a bake sale, and before you know it, you’re organizing the entire bake sale. Starting out with smaller volunteer goals and building them up can help you develop a true passion for the cause without getting burnt out right away. It also increases your chances of those goals being reached.
There are many benefits to volunteering in your community. You get to build skills, meet new people, and gain a sense of accomplishment from helping those around you. Volunteering is also a fun and rewarding way to get out of the house and strengthen ties to your community. You never know where volunteer opportunities will take you. You could find your new passion and enter a new phase in your life. Why not give it a try and see where it takes you?