People volunteer for an array of reasons: because their community matters to them, because they want to make a difference, or they want to meet new people, or just because they believe in a cause and want to champion it… There is no right or wrong way to become a volunteer,, this is not a “one size fits all” path.
First and foremost, volunteering is an essential factor for social transformation. It supports social inclusion, solidarity, active citizenship, the resilience of populations and social commitment, in short: it helps to build our future.
Volunteering is actually also good for the volunteers themselves, including when they are disadvantaged or belong to potentially threatened groups, such as the unemployed, asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, the elderly or the disabled.
“Volunteering contributes to improving the health and well-being of volunteers, and gives them the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge that can improve their career and employment prospects," said Gabriela Civico, director of the European Center for Volunteering (CEV) (source)
Here are 5 benefits of volunteering that should motivate anyone to give it a try:
You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.
Volunteers are 27% more likely to find a job after being out of work when compared to non-volunteers.(Source)
Volunteers without a high school diploma are 51% more likely to find employment when compared to those who do not volunteer.(Source)Volunteering helps to combat depression. A major contributing factor to depression is isolation and volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, (Source)
According to research, volunteering, especially among older people, can help to reduce mortality rates and help people live more fulfilling, longer lives. Volunteering has also been shown to combat the symptoms of chronic pain, and even heart disease.
So go out there, and give it a go. At NMA, we strongly encourage you to find the right volunteering opportunity for you. Help the elderly, work in an animal shelter or fundraise for a cause close to your heart: you’ll be surprised by how much it brings to you.
You don’t know where to start? Many platforms can help you find a volunteering position that may suit you. Try for example Volunteer Match, Volunteer World or, if you are in Switzerland, Benevol Jobs or Genève Bénévolat.
Let us know if you have any inspiring stories to share with us and others about your volunteering experience, we always love to .ear from you.
Next month we will talk about volunteer management and retention strategies. Stay tuned!