Why Volunteer Work is Good for You
Are you thinking about lending a helping hand at the local animal shelter or soup kitchen? Then here’s the good news: Volunteering doesn’t just help the cause you’re supporting — it’s also good for you!
According to the article “Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits” in HelpGuide, volunteering can help you stay positive and healthy. It reduces negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and anger; combats depression; and even makes you happy. In addition, many people find that it makes them more confident, offers them a sense of purpose, and helps them stay physically healthy.
Doing volunteer work also allows you to acquire and hone new skills. Whether you practice your communication skills by interacting with clients at a homeless shelter or learn how to use a software program to help with an organization’s accounting, the skills you learn off the clock are just as important as those you learn in your day job.
In addition, it’s a good way to meet new people and expand your network. As Kat Boogard points out in her article “5 Career-Boosting Reasons You Should Volunteer (in Addition to the Fact That It Makes You a Good Person)” for The Muse, it’s an easy way to meet local people who share your interests. This is in contrast to formal networking events and even LinkedIn, where networking can sometimes feel forced and awkward. What’s more: If you volunteer regularly, you’ll likely see the same people more frequently, which will allow you to build stronger relationships with them.
Finally, it enhances your job prospects. According to Imagine Canada, 22% of Canadians reported volunteering as a way to improve their job prospects. Whether your choice of volunteer work is related to your profession or not, listing it on your résumé is a way to showcase your skills, as well as demonstrate your ability to work in a team. In The Value of Volunteering in Canada report, Volunteer Canada outlines the economic impact and broader benefits of volunteering. They state the top reasons to volunteer cited by Canadians as being to make a positive contribution to the community (over 90%) and to make use of skills and experience (close to 80%).
People of all generations enjoy volunteering, and once you fully appreciate the benefits of donating your time, energy, and skills to a good cause, it’s easy to see why. So if you haven’t already found an organization where you can help out, why not check the volunteer centre directory on the Volunteer Canada site to see if you can find something that’s a good match for your interests in your local area? And with the right choice, you can create a win-win situation that offers personal and professional benefits you might not find elsewhere.