‘The secret to living is giving’ – A beautiful quote that captures our inherent nature to help others and make a difference in the world. But of course, volunteering has powerful benefits for the volunteer too.
Build Your Network
Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet people.. You never know who you might bump into and it’s true that ‘its not what you know but who you know’. What better way to meet new people and demonstrate your values! Plus, because you already share an interest in volunteering, it’s easy to start a conversation. Just jump in and start helping out and pretty soon you are engaging others, asking questions and making new connections!
Boost Your CV
When you are just starting out and lack real work experience, volunteering is the best way to show initiative. And the best part – it doesn’t cost anything! In fact, volunteering may be better value than many paid courses or services. It’s especially good for college, university, scholarships and any opportunity where you must demonstrate your leadership capacity.
If you really want to impress, co-ordinate your own campaign with friends! As for where to put volunteering in your CV? List your activity towards the end under ‘Relevant skills and experience.’
Strengthen Your Team
It’s no coincidence that team-building exercises often include working towards a shared goal. The purpose-driven nature of volunteering helps create stronger emotional bonds between friends, family and colleagues. So if you are looking to become closer to your loved ones or your team, join a volunteer group and deepen those connections.
“The difference you can make to one person, may mean the world to them”
Developing yourself as a person is a lifelong endeavour and you can practice your confidence and communication at the same time. Plus, simply working with others helps to open your mind to new ideas and ways of doing things. There is a beautiful synergy that emerges when people come together to help others.
Build Emotional Stability
Have you ever noticed the more we focus inwardly, the more self-conscious we become? Studies show when we start to think outwardly, we gain more positive feelings of self-esteem, purpose and resilience.
Volunteering could be just the prescription of ‘vitamin V’ you need to pick up your mood and improve your social and mental wellbeing.
Lead a Healthier Lifestyle
Not all volunteering activities will have you burning hundreds of calories but many will. And research shows it can lower blood pressure and help you live longer. As you move, your body recognizes your effort and sends good-feeling endorphins that keep you motivated and energized for longer. Great examples are clean-up campaigns or renovation work. You can also consider a sponsored activity to raise funds through running, cycling or other sports.
“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
Have as Much Fun as Possible
There’s no reason volunteering shouldn’t be an exciting and fun event you can look forward to all week. So make your volunteering sessions a celebration! This is your chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends, sing songs, make jokes – all in the spirit of doing good for others. And the more fun you have, the more likely your good vibes will attract others to join you.
Develop Your Leadership Skills
Volunteering is the perfect way to polish your soft skills, especially when it comes to leadership. It’s not about being the one calling the shots, it’s about service to others.
Second, lead with kindness. Your kindness can show through your words, your tone and your actions. Third, be a role model for others. Leaders take initiative through being respectful, organised, hard working and caring.
Lastly, lead in the moment. After all, it’s the small differences you make that add up to build your reputation for integrity.
“if serving others is beneath you, leadership is beyond you”
Become More Empathic
Empathy is such a powerful but overlooked asset. With proper development and utilization, we gain greater understanding of other people. Where once we may judge, with empathy we can be open to learning something new. Then, we are much more able to tackle root causes of problems with new innovative solutions.
Build a Gratitude Attitude
The secret to fulfilment is gratitude. As well as protecting against jealousy or feelings of inadequacy, helping others help us appreciate what we do have, and strengthens our resolve to continue the work we are doing. Even if the work may be difficult emotionally, take home with you the difference you have made – your actions made the world a little brighter.
Helping others is a real privilege for the volunteer and an opportunity to focus on what really matters, far beyond material things. Volunteering keeps us more balanced, more humble and better able to appreciate what’s important: things we may take for granted otherwise.
“the struggle ends when the gratitude begins”
How to Volunteer Today
Search for and follow local youth groups or organisations on Facebook/Instagram. Volunteers are always in demand and always appreciated!
Right now, you can search You Can Lead BN for New Opportunities that promote volunteering and even Volunteer Online for the United Nations. Who says you can’t make a difference in the world from the comfort of your own home..