We all know that volunteers are a hugely important part of any community. From running op shops and food trucks to organising drives and fundraisers, the world would be a much harder place for plenty of folks without the shining efforts of volunteers.
But what you may not realise, is that volunteering comes with a whole host of gains for the ones putting their hands up, too. Here’s our list of five surprising benefits that volunteers can expect as a result of their services.
Volunteering makes you part of a community
Chances are, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who care about the same issues as you, you’re going to make friends. Many volunteers end up making lifelong connections with the people they work with, and also reap the benefits of the feeling of belonging that comes along with working as a team towards a shared goal. Volunteering can reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness, too.
Volunteering boosts your resume
Putting your volunteering work on a CV shows employers that you’re a socially conscious, community minded person that isn’t afraid of showing up and doing the work that needs to be done. It will always reflect well for job prospects, particularly if you’ve learned some skills through volunteering that can be applied to the role you’re seeking.
Volunteering can be fun
Really, we hear you ask? Yes indeed. Hanging out with people who most likely share similar interests, doing something positive with your spare time, and developing a sense of purpose are all ingredients in the recipe for good times. And if you’re working with people or animals, you may even have some wonderful interactions along the way.
Volunteering can challenge you
With discomfort comes growth. No one ever moved forward in life while staying in their comfortable rut. Certain aspects of volunteering, especially those that deal with helping disenfranchised members of the community or people that experienced significant harms, can come with a fairly hefty dose of challenge, giving you the opportunity to rise to the occasion, develop some more emotional resources and come out the other side a stronger, better person.
Volunteering can help you with your own problems
Stay with us on this one. Ever been stuck in that obsessive loop about your own life dramas, family issues, petty squabble, financial hardships? It’s depressing, right? Well nothing gets you out of that place faster than focusing on people who are less fortunate than you are. Giving back boosts your self-esteem, distracts you from your own stuff, and helps to provide you with much-needed helpings of perspective and gratitude – things that are key to a happy life.