Volunteering is one of the most underrated ways to improve your life. According to Volunteer Canada, 65% of Canadian nonprofits now face a severe volunteer shortage. So why not take advantage of this opportunity with all these new openings available to you?
Whether you’re looking for a new way to meet people or simply want to try something different, volunteering is just as rewarding as it is beneficial.
Here are 10 reasons why you should start volunteering today:
#1 Volunteering Connects You With Others
According to the National Library of Medicine, more than 1 in 3 people often feel lonely. But volunteering can help you combat this feeling by providing you with opportunities to meet new people and make connections. Building a community in which you are all working together towards common future goals will nurture your sense of belonging and purpose and expand your support system. This also helps in creating social capital which is the value you get from trust and community connections built on a shared set of values.
If you are unsure where to start, check out Volunteer Canada’s directory to explore opportunities that resonate with you personally and professionally.
#2 Accelerate Your Career
Volunteering is a great way to expand your network, make valuable professional connections, and develop new skills that might be useful in future jobs. When we volunteer, we often meet people who can help us later down the line—either by giving us advice or introducing us to someone else who might be able to help. That person could turn out to be the one that introduces you to a new client or hiring manager.
#3 Find Mentors/Mentees
When you’re volunteering, you’ll often be around people who are more experienced than you in your field. They may have been at their job longer than you or have had more experience with the organization. You can learn from them by asking questions and paying attention to how they complete projects and tasks for the organization you’re volunteering for.
It’s also a great way to find mentees—people who want to learn from you. Mentoring can help you feel more confident about yourself and your abilities, and you may even find out something about yourself through the teaching process!
#4 Enhance Your Leadership Skills
A study by Deloitte found that volunteering experience can play a big role in bolstering successful leadership skills.
Volunteering helps you develop key leadership skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving. In some cases, it also gives you the opportunity to lead teams of volunteers. As a volunteer leader, you will have many responsibilities including training other volunteers, assigning tasks based on skill level and availability, communicating with sponsors about fundraising goals, or organizing activities for participants.
Ultimately, volunteering makes you more confident, more resilient and more empathetic, all traits required to be a successful leader.
#5 Boost Your Resume
Volunteering is a great way to stand out from the competition when it comes to getting a job. It shows that you are willing to step up, take on responsibility, and help others in need. It also shows that you have good time management skills and work well within deadlines.
If you’re a student, it gives you an opportunity to gain experience before entering the workforce. You can get valuable experience in your field of interest as well as learn how to manage your time effectively, which will make you a competitive candidate when job hunting. Be intentional about what organization you choose to volunteer for and what role you take on so you can reap this benefit!
#6 Overcome New Challenges
Volunteering is all about overcoming new challenges and pushing yourself to become a better person.
When you volunteer, you’ll be exposed to problems that you might not have even thought of before. For example, you might find yourself working with limited resources or having to deal with other volunteers who don’t show up when they’re supposed to.
These situations can put your ability to work under pressure and think on your feet, skills that can support all aspects of your life.
#7 Acquire Real World Experience
Volunteering can be a great way to gain experience that’s not related to your current job, but the new career path you’re interested in. If you’re an accountant but are considering switching over to a career in marketing, for example, volunteering at a non-profit who has a marketing committee will give you all sorts of insight into what it’s like being a marketer. This will help you decide if marketing is right for you while enhancing your marketing skills along the way.
#8 Develop New Perspectives
Volunteering can help you learn about other cultures and countries…you might even get the chance to travel abroad and volunteer in a different country!
Through this, you will be exposed to different viewpoints and experiences from yours—which will make you better at understanding different perspectives and becoming a more empathetic and compassionate individual.
#9 Inspire Positive Social Change
Volunteering is more than just an act of kindness—it’s an act of change-making. By getting involved, you can make a huge difference in your community.
When you volunteer, you give back to the community that supports us all. You help make our world a better place by giving your time and energy to something greater than yourself. And when you do that, you’re not just helping others; you’re helping yourself too!
#10 Experience Joy & Fulfillment
The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that volunteering reduces stress, increases happiness, develops confidence, and creates a sense of purpose.
At the end of the day, volunteering can be a lot of things: it can be an opportunity to change the world, to help others and make a difference in your community, or just a way to feel more fulfilled in your own life.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your volunteer journey today!