The holidays are a time for good food + good company. Family + friends travel near + far to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc. together. The holiday season is also a time for giving. It is a time to help those less fortunate than ourselves + take care of our fellow-man.
Many people start this season of giving around Thanksgiving. There are many worthy causes that would appreciate monetary donations. However, I challenge you this season to not just donate money but to donate your time + expertise.
You can help people in so many different ways by volunteer. You can fight their hunger, illness or even just loneliness. The gift of time is so precious + can impact people so deeply, even if you are behind the scenes. Whether it be building houses, making a meal, driving them to a doctor’s appointment, sorting clothes, you are making a difference.
Volunteering doesn’t just impact those you are serving; it impacts you as well. There are personal + even professional benefits that you can gain from volunteering.
Though volunteering can’t be directly associated with a happier + longer life, it can be correlated. The Corporation for National and Community Service states that longitudinal studies of older adults shows that community service is strongly correlated with life satisfaction. There was also a correlation between mortality rates + volunteering. For more information check out their research on The Heath Benefits of Volunteering.
Volunteering can help you grow personally. By working with + helping with diverse backgrounds you not only broaden your worldview, but you also learn about issues plaguing your community + how you can help.
Volunteering can help boost your self-esteem. Helping others can boost your confidence + make you a happier person. This could lead to being less depressed + becoming more outgoing + confident in other aspects of you life like work, romance, and friend-making.
Volunteering is a very social activity. You will meet new people + make new friends with while volunteering. The more “on brand” the cause you support is, the more likely that you + your fellow volunteers will have other interests, hobbies, and likes in common.
As stated above, volunteering can help you make new friends. It can also introduce you to new professional connections + expand your professional network. Other volunteers may be involved in your same field of work, particularly if you are volunteering your expertise.
Volunteering doesn’t have to be cleaning out kennels or delivering meals. You can volunteer your professional skills to help others. Hundreds of non-profits are seeking volunteers to help them make a social media strategy, plan events, or reach out to the media. This is a great way to hone your skills while making a difference.
Since you are honing your existing skills or possibly cultivating new ones, volunteering can boost your resume. Some interviewers may ask about your volunteer work, Companies want to hire kind people who care about others. Volunteering is a great way to show potential employers that you possess those qualities. 73% of employers surveyed by World Volunteer Web stated that they would choose a candidate with volunteer experience over one that had none.
Aside from all of these benefits, the greatest benefit of all is knowing YOU made a difference in someone’s life + in your community. Your community has dozens of opportunities to volunteer. All you need to do is decide where your passion lies + look for organizations that will help you serve that passion. If you are looking to volunteer your professional expertise, check LinkedIn for skill-specific opportunities.
Already volunteer? What are some of the best experiences you have had? Tell me about it in the comment section.