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8 Reasons To Start To Do Voluntary Work Now

8 Reasons To Start To Do Voluntary Work Now

I volunteered for a local organization for two years, doing art projects with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I went to the organization’s learning center once a week, which gave me time to still work full-time as a graphic designer. Over time, I realized that I loved my volunteer work more than my paid work, and took a year to be an employee of the organization. During this time, I actually worked as the volunteer coordinator! I had such a passion for the organization as well as volunteering that the job was a perfect fit. Since then, I’ve met so many people – potential volunteers, lifelong volunteers, and other coordinators – who share this passion. And now I’d like to share some of the benefits of voluntary work, in hopes you’ll seek out organizations in your community that can benefit from your care and passion.

1. You get to network and socialize with others.

When you volunteer at organizations in your community, you meet a lot of people you might not otherwise get to know. For example, I’ve always worked as a graphic designer, so I knew a certain type of people. Yet when I volunteered, not only did I meet a variety of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I also met employees and volunteers from other walks of life. If I had stayed cocooned in my 9 to 5 life, I never would have met these people! Now they’re some of my closest friends, and they’ve helped me expand my social life, as well as led to many important professional contacts. Getting outside of your usual circle really helps expand your life.

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2. There are great career benefits.

I got a great career benefit from volunteering, which was getting hired by the organization I volunteered for! This is actually very common, and other volunteers were hired during the time I worked there. It was because employees got to see how good the volunteers were when they worked for free, and knew they would be hard-working employees. Even if you don’t want to work at the organizations you volunteer for, there are still great benefits to volunteer work in general. You can list volunteer work on your resume just like it was a job – include how long you were there, what duties you did, and what you got out of it. Any employer would be happy to see that you’re the type of giving person who will work just for the good of it, and that will give you talking points in job interviews.

3. You gain experience.

Voluntary work will give you a variety of experience, whether you’re doing something you’ve never done before, or even if you’re using your everyday skills for a new purpose. Never be afraid to ask questions or ask for help when you’re a volunteer. Make sure you understand what you’re expected to do so you can get the most out of it, as well as help the most you can. Then you’ll have experience that you can use the more you volunteer at the organization, or take it with you when you volunteer elsewhere, or even take it back to your regular job.

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4. You find an outlet for your passion.

When I was a volunteer, I helped out with a weekly art class. I love art, even though I’m not especially artistic. This was a great way for me to find an outlet for my passion. I’m not good enough to become a famous painter or anything on my own, but since I loved it, that passion came through when I worked with the adults with disabilities, and that was enough for them. They didn’t expect anything from me except care and enthusiasm, so it was the perfect outlet for me! What passions do you have that you can share with others? You don’t have to be incredibly talented, as long as you have the desire to help others and share your drive. Think about what you love and who might benefit from your passions, and you’ll easily be able to make a list of organizations that would love to have you as a volunteer.

5. You improve your vision.

Volunteering in a new field helps you improve your vision. Voluntary work usually involves non-profits, which means you’re helping people less fortunate than you. Even the most charitable, caring people often get too wrapped up in their daily lives to think of those who have less than us. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, because it’s normal. But volunteering means you’re around people you wouldn’t usually be around, so you’re exposed to different walks of life. This helps you understand your own life and path that much more. You might find that you’re in the wrong field altogether, and change the direction of your life!

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6. You fulfill your potential.

Just like following your passion, voluntary work can help you fulfill your potential. Getting paid to do certain duties is one thing, but do you leave your job every day feeling like you’re tapped out, that you’ve done all you can do, and that you’ve helped others? It’s rare to feel that fulfilled from a paid position. Volunteer work helps you be more well-rounded, which means you can still work full-time at one position while doing something different for a local organization. Doing a variety of different things will help you feel like you’re using your full potential.

7. You get satisfaction.

Voluntary work is about helping others, but it’s ok to feel good about what you do. You should get satisfaction from helping others. Make sure you allow yourself to accept thanks and compliments from the organization you volunteer for, and let yourself feel proud of your hard work. You’re going above and beyond by helping out for nothing in return, so soak up that appreciation and pat yourself on the back!

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8. You help others.

It’s obvious, right? Volunteering is about helping others. But it’s a great reason to do voluntary work. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, getting swept away by small problems that seem important to you but don’t really matter in the scheme of things. But helping others out of the good in your heart is an amazing reason to do anything, and hopefully this reason alone will inspire you to go out and volunteer today!

Featured photo credit: BluEyedA73 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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