You know the drill: wake up early, roll out of bed, go to work or school, come home exhausted after a long day and repeat. After such a busy day, who would have the time or energy to volunteer? We have a lot of other important things to do, like paying the bills, receiving an education and taking care of the myriad other responsibilities that take priority in our lives. To many people, volunteering just doesn’t seem worth the effort when weighed against these other priorities.
This is the wrong mindset to have, however. There are numerous benefits to volunteering, both for the volunteer and for the recipient of the volunteer work. Volunteers are a noble breed, and it’s high time we explore all of the positives that can be gained from engaging in a little bit of volunteering. The following points draw on my experience volunteering, as well as other sources that espouse the greatness of becoming a volunteer.
Volunteering is a true mark of selflessness
Volunteering for a cause, whether it be at a local wildlife sanctuary or a soup kitchen for the homeless, is a surefire way to develop a sense of empathy and ensure that you put the needs of others before your own. Volunteers, provide unique services to others without monetary compensation. This, by itself, is an act of selflessness. When we volunteer, we agree to use our knowledge, effort, and time for a cause that we (hopefully) believe in. If that isn’t true of selflessness, nothing is.
Volunteering provides alternative networks
Professional networking is always a beneficial way to further career goals. However, many of these professional networks suffer from being too close-knit. In other words, the people in your network are usually working in the same career field, limiting the amount of professional outreach you can attain. By volunteering, however, working professionals can expand this network to include other volunteers and anyone else around the cause they’re volunteering for. Volunteers have access to a world of possibilities that their non-volunteering counterparts don’t –– namely a way to get to know people with similar interests and passions, which can lead to exciting opportunities down the road.
Volunteering makes society (and you) healthier
It’s well-documented how people who volunteer are healthier than those who don’t. Society also benefits greatly from volunteering. When we think of typical volunteering opportunities, it’s easy to see why. Cleaning litter from the streets, serving meals to the needy, helping refugees resettle in a new environment, assisting a non-profit bookstore, and providing free legal services (pro bono) to communities without the means to pay for good lawyers are just a few of the volunteer experiences that undoubtedly make society a better place to live.
Volunteering cultivates personal and professional skills
This last entry is a culmination of the previous points. Volunteering develops empathy and a knack for helping others that will enrich personal relationships. When we are more considerate of other people, trust blossoms –– relationships can’t help but be improved by a more well-rounded, empathetic and trusting approach. We may be more willing to listen to ideas different from our own and adopt an open mindset for solving problems due volunteer experience. Cooperation, coordination, and communication are all vital components to volunteering and other professional ventures. Volunteering and the workplace go hand in hand in this regard.
Volunteering is never the easiest thing to do, yet it’s one of the most rewarding. As these points have demonstrated, volunteering can make an impact on many lives, and not just your own. So the next time you have a chance to volunteer, don’t be afraid to sign up. It’s worth it.
Word and Phrase Bank
- уou know the drill – you know the routine
- myriad – many
- noble breed – good people
- espouse – advocate for, to support
- surefire – definite
- culmination – a sum of the previous parts
- blossoms – develops
- go hand in hand – are the same
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Irvin is a 3rd year undergraduate studying at UC Davis. He enjoys reading, writing, and golfing.