Give a Little, Get a Lot: Why and How to Become a Valuable Volunteer
Through volunteering, you can help those in need and make a positive impact on the world. It’s a great way to give back, but a common experience for volunteers is feeling like they received even more than they put in.
The Benefits of Volunteering
Although the altruistic aspects are reason enough to volunteer, here are some of the benefits volunteers receive when they give back.
Improves Mental Health
Volunteering can make you happier and improve your mental health. It can even help those with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Self-esteem can also improve as a result of volunteering. This can be helpful for anyone but may especially important for young people. Improved self-esteem can also improve mental health conditions.
Enhances Career Prospects
Adding volunteer experience to your resume can help it to stand out from the crowd. Especially if you’ve done something unique like volunteer overseas, it can provide a good talking point in interviews.
Your experience might even help you one day land a better job or higher salary, especially if it’s related to your job.
Helps Build Community
Participating in volunteer activities can enhance your sense of community and help you build relationships. You’ll form bonds with both the people you’re helping and the people you’re working with.
Improved social connection leads to other benefits as well, such as improved mental and physical health.
How to Get Started
If you’re ready to begin your volunteering adventure, follow these few simple steps.
Think About Your Values
The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of volunteering you want to engage in. What issues do you care about and want to help out with? There are a huge number of options from helping low-income families to preserving nature to assisting hospital patients.
You should also consider what kind of experience you want to have. You could choose to travel or stay close to home. You could volunteer one-time or on a regular basis. Maybe there’s an opportunity that requires specific skills that you have. There are many variations, so you should choose the one that fits you best.
Do Some Research
After you’ve chosen your cause and type of volunteering, do some research on charity organizations and available opportunities. If you find an organization you think you might like, read a bit about them, see how they run their charity and make sure they fit with your values.
Once you’ve found the right group, check out all of their opportunities and the requirements for participating in them. Then choose the one that’s right for you.
After you’ve identified the volunteer project you’d like to participate in, contact the event organizer and let them know! Ask them any questions you have and give them the information they need. The next step is to just get out there and volunteer!
Although volunteering is, of course, about helping those in need, that’s not all it does. It also provides benefits to the people volunteering. So, if you’d like to help out others and receive some benefits yourself too, choose a volunteer activity and go give back!