When it comes to benefits of volunteering, a lot of people think that’s it’s all about the warm and fuzzy feeling you feel after helping someone. As it turns out, that’s far from the only benefit. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it is not just about soup kitchens, the peace corps and doctors against borders. Charity work requires a wide variety of people, doing a wide variety of things for everything to work. Because of this you can volunteer as almost anything, which means there are some surprising benefits to be had. For example, volunteering….
1. Teaches You New Skills
From helping making websites, to teaching immigrant kids your native language, to arranging events for charity. Volunteering can really be almost anything. That means that when you get involved in charity work, a lot of the time you will face challenges just as you would in a new job. And through overcoming these you learn and start to master completely new skills,
2. Helps You Stay Active
Sometimes when you need to do something the most, is when you feel the least like doing anything. This is where volunteering can help out. It’s a lot more difficult to blow off volunteering than a casual appointment with a friend. So when you feel like shit, and you don’t really want to, but really need to stay active, volunteering is your friend.
3. Fills Empty Spaces On Your Resumé
If your job search seems to be taking longer than you had expected, you might want to consider volunteering. It’s a way to prove that you’ve not just been sitting on your ass the whole time but you’ve been actively taking steps that can help you better your situation.
4. Can Lead To Work
I’ve seen people go into volunteering with no expectations, and further down the road, ending up working for a non-profit as a coordinator. Of course this line of work is not for everyone, but thankfully actually volunteering will give you a good idea of whether or not it’s a viable career path for you.
5. Can Be Therapeutic
Depending on what you choose to do, volunteer work can have a tremendous therapeutic effect. There are many options that can be tremendously giving. One of my close personal friends has completely transformed after she started working with disabled kids. Volunteering helps you look outside yourself and your problems, allowing you to see the world and other people from a whole different perspective, which in turn can make you grateful for what you already have and see your own personal value.
6. Can Help Improve Social Skills
If you’re the kind of person that has a hard time putting yourself in social situations, volunteering can help. Of course it’s far from an instant fix, but it can be a useful tool in your battle. A permanent excuse to talk to people and try to get along.
7. Can Be Relevant Work Experience
Everyone and their third cousins are overwhelmed by finding a decent job these days. Something that seems to stop many, is that experience often seems to be a prerequisite to get a job. With some professions, volunteering can actually help you get the experience you need to get your foot in the door. There’s many a budding journalist that got his or her start volunteering for a college or university paper, and that’s not at all the only profession this applies to.
8. Can Teach You What Truly Matters
It’s a great way to find new perspectives on life. When you’ve been at it for a while, you just might find yourself re-evaluating your priorities, or even deciding on a completely new path to take in life. One of my friends went from wanting to be a lawyer, to discovering a true passion for teaching.
9. Helps You Make New Friends
Maybe not so surprising, but what might surprise you, is how genuine these friends are. Some of my long term friends are people I’ve met through volunteering.
10. Helps You Expand Your Network
One of the great things with volunteering, is that you meet a very wide variety of people. Instead of looking at it in a negative light of meeting people you don’t have a lot in common with, think of it as expanding your network. You’re getting to know people involved in many different walks in life that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I’m not the kind of guy that makes friends purely for connections, but sometimes it’s very convenient to have a broad network.
11. Helps You Grow
Summed up in one line: Volunteering helps you grow. Not only as a person, but as we’ve covered, it can help you develop your skill set as well. The only real downside is how hard it is to leave when circumstances make it difficult for you to continue.
So if you’ve ever considered volunteering, what are you waiting for?
Featured photo credit: Anna Earl via unsplash.com