Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (2023)

Bonus! Grab 15 Unexpected Ways to Volunteer [PDF]

Want the audio version of this post? Listen here:

Subscribe & Listen: Apple Podcasts Spotify YouTube

Why volunteer? The benefits of volunteering can last a lifetime—not only for those who you are helping, but for you as well.

If you are on the fence about diving into a new volunteer experience or have doubts about whether or not volunteering is right for you, you might find yourself surprised at just how much you can gain from taking the plunge.

Let’s learn more about the many benefits of volunteering and how to start getting involved!

Why Volunteer?

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (1)

What is Volunteering?

Volunteering means giving your time and abilities to aid others (usually a nonprofit organization) without the want of financial compensation. Put simply, volunteering is a service to your community.

Many nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to accomplish day-to-day objectives and to reach long-term goals.Miles4Migrants, for instance, relied solely on volunteer hours for their first few years of operation. Most nonprofits would not be able to do the important work they do without the power of volunteer work.

Nothing gets done by one person alone, which means we have to band together to make thechanges we want to see in the world. Volunteerism has indeed been the fuel to the fires of change both on international and local fronts. Volunteering your time, skills, and resources is one of the most powerful ways to make a difference, to help others, and as it turns out, to enhance your wellbeing.

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (2)

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (3) GET THE GUIDE: 15 UNEXPECTED WAYS TO VOLUNTEER!

15 things you can do (big and small) to start making a difference today.

DOWNLOAD NOW!

(Video) Hidden Benefits of Volunteering | Rowan Haffner | TEDxYouth@WHRHS

7 Benefits of Volunteering

While you won’t get paid for your community service, volunteering comes with a lot of other benefits to boot. Donating your time, energy, and possibly resources can be just as rewarding for you as for those you are helping. Here are some ways volunteering can affect you positively:

1. Meet New People and Build Community

Everyone loves new friends!

Being a part of a team with a common goal will help you form bonds with strangers that can be life-changing. Volunteering inherently means helping people, and that means you’ll be creating meaningful relationships with others and increasing your social interactions.

Volunteering provides a unique opportunity: it connects people with very specific shared values. And the values may not be what you think. In addition to likely having shared concerns for children,sustainable living, healthy eating, or whatever project you’re working on, volunteers are also people who also share things like a willingness to step outside their comfort zone, an openness to spending time on a community effort, a proclivity for engaging in team-oriented activities, and a desire to contribute to the well-being of others.

You’re sure to meet people and make new friends that share common interests, values, and outlooks. Building a community in which you are all working together towards common future goals will nurture your sense of belonging and purpose and expand your support system. This social benefit of volunteering grows into a bunch of other benefits that we’ll continue to explore in this list!

2. Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Ways of Life

Volunteering might take you to a new part of your community you have never been to before. Volunteer programs can give you the opportunity to bring people into your social network you otherwise wouldn’t get to meet and learn from those who come from different walks of life. This experience can expand your understanding of others who are different from you.

Learning about cultures and ways of life that are different from one of your upbringing will increase your social flexibility and expand your world-view. It will also raise awareness of the issues that other people deal with and will increase important social skills like empathy and teamwork.

3. Gain a Sense of Purpose and Become Happier

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (4)

What an amazing reason to do something! Who doesn’t want to become happier?! Volunteeringhas been shownto give you a sense of accomplishment and to increase feelings of happiness.

How you may ask?

Throughout your life you’ve developed social and professional skills that promote your personal achievement. Using those skills for a wider, communal impact can be even more fulfilling. Volunteering will enrich your life and give you a broader purpose and can give you a boost of motivation.

Researchers also posit that it’s the social connections you make while volunteering (as we’ve mentioned) that help increase your feelings of happiness.

Feeling like you are a purposeful role of your community will make you feel…da da dum…HAPPY! Volunteering is indeed aknown mechanismto help fight all sorts of mental issues like depression, anxiety, stress, and anger.

Where do we sign up?!

4. Boost Your Self-Esteem

That’s right! Spending time as a volunteer hasbeen shownto improve your self-esteem!

The more opportunities you take to learn new skills and gain knowledge, the more fully you will develop as a person. And what safer space to develop those skills than in a context of service?

Stepping out of your comfort zone and building new skills is the best way to develop your self-esteem. Volunteering will increase your sense of pride and thus, your self-confidence! When you challenge yourself through volunteering and receive appreciation from others, it can make you feel better emotionally and mentally.

Plus, who has time to think negative thoughts about yourself when you’re out saving the world?!

5. Advance Your Career by Improving Job Prospects

Gear up! This one’s a big one!

Volunteering will offer you skills that can be used throughout your career development. If you are wanting to change to a new career, especially a new environmental orsocial impact job, volunteering in that new field can help you develop the skills and knowledge you will need.

When you have a volunteering experience to add to your resume, you stand out over job candidates who don’t take the time to give back to society. Volunteering highlights your character, passion, and determination!

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (5)

Through your volunteer experiences, you have a chance to show that you’re interested in things bigger than yourself, and you are willing to take action to make the changes you want in the world—and that will always help you shine through the competition.

Plus, volunteering can also give you a better understanding of the issues you are working with and discover where there are gaps in the field. This knowledge can prepare you to enter a new field of work or, for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, volunteering may lead to developing your next business idea or inspire you tostart a nonprofityourself!

(Video) What are the benefits of volunteering?

6. Accrue the Health Benefits of Volunteering

It’s true! There are manyphysical benefitsthat come from volunteering, and most important is that it can help reduce stress!

Spending meaningful time with others can reduce stress and the health effects it has on our bodies. Reduced stress translates into several physical health benefits. You’ll sleep better, get sick less often, and even prevent heart disease! In fact, somestudieshave even found lower mortality rates in volunteers vs non-volunteers in older adults.

This makes sense because as we give our attention to others, we take our attention off of our own problems and concerns. It can also put our stresses into perspective and feel more gratitude in our day-to-day lives.

Volunteer work can also be an outlet for the frustrations you feel about certain issues and will leave you with a sense of agency and empowerment. Worried about climate change? Do something about it!

7. Increase Your Brain Functioning

Every volunteer opportunity has its own set of tasks, and some of those might require you to learn new skill sets and challenge yourself. This means you’ll be keeping your brain busy and limber!

Volunteeringhas been shownto increase your ability for problem solving, increase your long-term and short-term memory, and reduce your risk of developing age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. So time to get started!

The Good & Bad of Volunteering

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (6) PROS

  • Meet new people and develop lasting relationships.
  • Increase your happiness and better your mental health.
  • Learn new skills and increase your brain function and self-esteem.
  • Stand out on job applications and further your career.
  • Decrease your stress and accrue the health benefits.
  • Do good in the world and help make a difference.

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (7) CONS

  • Can be time-consuming.
  • Some tasks can be repetitive depending on the volunteer role.
  • Might take multiple attempts to find the right fit for you.

Getting Started on Your Volunteer Journey

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (8)

So you have made up your mind to volunteer—what now?

One of the many beauties of volunteering is that there are endless ways that you can get involved and make a difference. The thing is, you won’t know which is right for you until you get out into the community and start!

The key to accruing all the benefits of volunteering is to find something you really like in a community that you love. It is time to consider your options carefully so you can find an opportunity that will be realistic for you as well as fulfilling.

How to Start Your Research

There are tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations in the United States with volunteering opportunities ranging from health care and mental health, to sports, to politics, to childhood development. Here are some tips to start finding the right volunteer opportunity for you:

  • Search online for organizations in your interest areas and see if they have a volunteer page on their website. Make sure to check out the organization’s FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page and follow-up with any additional questions or concerns before signing up to volunteer. Ask as many questions as you like of a nonprofit before you volunteer with them!
  • Visit websites likeVolunteerMatchorIdealistand see if posted volunteer opportunities might be right for you.
  • Contact your local community centers, nonprofit organizations, senior centers, or libraries to find out if they are in need of volunteers. They usually are!
Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (9)
(Video) 8 REASONS TO VOLUNTEER!

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (10) GET THE GUIDE: 15 UNEXPECTED WAYS TO VOLUNTEER!

15 things you can do (big and small) to start making a difference today.

What to Consider: Finding the Opportunity That is Right for You

It’s important to make sure you only volunteer in a capacity that you are comfortable with and that brings you joy. Here are some things to consider as you search for your next volunteer opportunity.

Time

First and foremost, consider how much time you can give. There is no competition in volunteering (or at least, there shouldn’t be!). If you can only give an hour a month—great. That is an additional hour a month your community will benefit from that it otherwise wouldn’t!

When volunteering as a part of a team, you should make sure you can commit the time you are promising. If you are volunteering to do things like theonline marketing for the nonprofit, that don’t require working directly with others, make sure you are upfront about your skill levels, abilities, and availability. This will ensure you don’t feel stretched too thin, which often results in burnout.

Making reasonable timeframes will help you settle in for the long-term. And being upfront about your time constraints will help you avoid disappointing anyone counting on you and your volunteer efforts.

Physical Limitations

Also, consider your physical capabilities. Do you have constraints that will make certain tasks difficult? Be honest with yourself about what you are comfortable with accomplishing. I have found that most nonprofit organizations are very happy to accommodate volunteers who have special requests and needs if you are upfront with them about your limitations.

Your Skillset

Another thing to mull over is what kind of skills you already possess. What skills or experience could be helpful to the nonprofit you are working with? If you’re in marketing, consider helping an organization develop theirnonprofit marketing plan. If you know accounting, help them get their books in order. Organizations will LOVE getting this kind of expertise (that they would usually have to pay top dollar for).

Your Interests

Next, think about where your interests lie and what kind of field would you want to explore. Do you like working with animals? Want to learn more aboutfarming and agriculture? Interested in learning tocompost? Do you enjoy playing with children? Spending time with the elderly? Would you want to learnhow to help refugees?

Deciding what kind of organization you would like to work with first will help you bring enthusiasm and excitement to your volunteer experience. It is no good for anyone if you volunteer to do something you flat out don’t like doing.

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (11)

Volunteer Abroad or in Your Own Community

Are you interested in working outside of your home country? Do you have the time and finances to travel? Would you rather stay close to home where you might not have to spend money to volunteer?

(Video) What are the benefits for the volunteer?

Consider again what might work best for you. Volunteering abroad tends to be expensive and time-consuming, which may or may not be something you are prepared to do. Plus there are many opportunities right in our own communities!

But if you want to do work tosave the oceansfor instance, and you live in the mountains of Colorado, your local community may not have the right opportunity for you. In that case, you will want to search outside of your hometown.

Make sure that if you are considering volunteering abroad, that you work only with a reputable organization that you can verify necessary information about what to expect before you leave home.

There are some amazing opportunities to combine your travel with volunteering. Companies likeHave Fun Do Goodprovide the opportunity to do purposeful travel, arranging for your trip to be structured around a service project.

Learn more about how these travel experiences incorporate volunteer projects in our interview with the Founder of Have Fun Do Good, Adam Kunes!

Kind TravelerandDiscover Corpsalso allow you to take your impact beyond your hometown. Or join the “give-back-packers” atBambooand take your impact across the world. Or, maybe you prefersaving sea turtleson a visit to Costa Rica? The possibilities are endless!

The Power of Giving Back

The reasons people volunteer are many and will vary person to person. What we do know is that when you find the right fit, you’ll enrich the lives of others and your life will be made better by the experience!

We all contribute to the construction of the world we live in—don’t you want your contribution to be one that makes that worldbetter? Working towards equality for everyone will make a better world for all of us!

Whether you are a high school student volunteering at a football game, a girl scout selling cookies, or a senior volunteering at an animal shelter, when your efforts go towards making society better for all of us, we all feel better. It’s a win-win situation.

Good luck on your search for the right volunteer experience for you and let us know how your experience goes! Happy volunteering!

Why Volunteer? The 7 Benefits of Volunteering that Will Inspire You to Act (12)

Alma Rominger

Grow Ensemble Contributor

Alma Rominger is an educator and farmer passionate about regenerative agriculture, composting, gardening for mental health, and outdoor education.

Alma believes that the health of the earth and the health of its people are intrinsically connected and has spent her entire career advocating for both.She currently specializes in Bokashi composting systems and soil ecology through her work with Compost Queens, a women-owned community composting company based in the San Antonio area.

    Our Latest Articles & Interviews:

    • (Video) Benefits of Volunteering

      What’s Next: Learn. Understand. Love. Protect. Repeat.∞
    • 29 Good Climate News Stories to Inspire Optimism
    • Pasturebird Review: Pasture-Raised Chicken Delivered Directly to Your Door

    FAQs

    Why is volunteering important these 7 great reasons show the benefits? ›

    Meet new people and develop lasting relationships. Increase your happiness and better your mental health. Learn new skills and increase your brain function and self-esteem. Stand out on job applications and further your career.

    What inspires you to be a volunteer? ›

    A person may volunteer because they feel it is important to help others or to participate in their community. Some volunteers may be motivated to understand more about their community or learn through hands-on experience.

    What are 3 reasons why you should volunteer? ›

    Community Service: Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer
    • 10: It's good for you. ...
    • 9: It saves resources. ...
    • 8: Volunteers gain professional experience. ...
    • 7: It brings people together. ...
    • 6: It promotes personal growth and self esteem. ...
    • 5: Volunteering strengthens your community. ...
    • 4: You learn a lot. ...
    • 3: You get a chance to give back.

    Why is volunteering important to you and what is its impact on your personal life? ›

    Being a volunteer has lots of benefits. It can bring meaning and purpose to your life, while increasing your self-esteem and wellbeing. Volunteering can also relieve stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression. As well as having a positive impact on your community, volunteering can improve your relationships.

    What are the main benefits of volunteering? ›

    Most of our volunteers have specific reasons for what they do – we've shared some of them here:
    • Gaining new skills. ...
    • Making new friends. ...
    • Mental and physical health and wellbeing. ...
    • Giving something back. ...
    • Improving your confidence.

    What inspires you how do you answer? ›

    Good Answers to the Tricky Interview Question "What Motivates You?"
    • learning new things.
    • acquiring new skills.
    • meeting deadlines, goals and targets.
    • coaching others.
    • improving processes, finding ways to solving problems.
    • leading a team or being a part of a team.
    • completing a difficult project.
    • overcoming challenges.

    What volunteering means to me? ›

    Most of the time, to volunteer means that you are working side by side with others. This connects you to other human beings as you are working toward a common goal. When you volunteer, you are making connections. You are connected with the community. You are connected with the problem as well as the solution.

    What are the 3 main characteristics of volunteer? ›

    Having good interpersonal and communication skills will go a long way in your voluntary work. Being friendly, approachable and having people skills are vital volunteer characteristics for directly helping others.

    Why do you want to volunteer in 1000 words? ›

    When a person volunteers it could be for several different reasons. It could be for the satisfaction from achieving an accomplishment, to gaining leadership skills, to getting to know a community, to learning something new, to making new friends, to keeping busy, or simply because they were asked to.

    What are 5 benefits of volunteer work as it relates to careers? ›

    Benefits of volunteering
    • Gain confidence. Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement.
    • Make a difference. ...
    • Meet people. ...
    • Be part of a community. ...
    • Learn new skills. ...
    • Take on a challenge. ...
    • Have fun!

    How does volunteering shape you as a person? ›

    Volunteering can help connect you with other people.

    You will also have the opportunity to make new friends or build connections to jobs you're interested in. You can also learn new skills. If you regularly meet with others with common interests, it can make it easier to reach out and connect to others.

    How does volunteering change your life? ›

    Volunteering is a great way to achieve personal and professional growth which could help you to advance your career. You also get to meet great people from different backgrounds, broaden your horizons, make lifelong connections and see the direct impact that you have made on the community.

    How does volunteering help improve the quality of life of others? ›

    Volunteering is a great way to become more connected to your community, being involved in its fabric in a meaningful and productive way. Volunteering can help build your sense of engagement and trust in your relationships with others in your community.

    What skills do you get from volunteering? ›

    Interpersonal communication, time management, leadership, delegation, communication, leadership and problem-solving are a few transferable skills that you can develop through your volunteer work.

    What are 5 things that inspire you? ›

    10 Things that Inspire me: What Inspires you?
    • Ambition. Ambition can be defined as being eager or hungry to aspire and accomplish something; it is one thing I can't get enough of. ...
    • Past. ...
    • Doing new things. ...
    • Challenges. ...
    • My parents. ...
    • Friends. ...
    • Charity. ...
    • Faith.
    Mar 24, 2021

    What motivates and inspires you? ›

    working well as part of a team. leading a team to success. completing a difficult project, and seeing it through to the end. spotting flaws and errors so as to make sure the end result of a project is as good as possible.

    How do you motivate yourself to be inspired? ›

    Here are some tips:
    1. Regularly review your goals and progress. ...
    2. Continue to set new goals. ...
    3. Keep the momentum up. ...
    4. Find mentors, for example, someone you look up to who is experienced in the habit you want to change. ...
    5. Surround yourself with positive people.

    What are your values as a volunteer? ›

    Volunteering reflects our values – what we care about, our vision for our community, our notion of justice, and our sense of responsibility for the planet and all those with whom we share it.

    Why are you passionate about volunteering? ›

    Two innate qualities that motivate someone to volunteer are — an attitude to learn and experience new things, and a willingness to share one's experiences and knowledge. Volunteering gives you a lot in return.

    What are the 6 steps that motivate you to volunteer? ›

    Assess with these 6 Steps!
    ...
    Be proactive – assess yourself and proactively manage those you are responsible for.
    • Values – Choose an organization that shares your values. ...
    • Understanding – Find an organization that can use your skills or teach you what skills you want to learn. ...
    • Social – Find people you want to be around.
    Jun 26, 2014

    What is the most important quality of a volunteer? ›

    To sum up what makes a good volunteer, looking for volunteers who are passionate, reliable, team players, patient, creative, energetic, positive, willing to help, compassionate and organised will ensure they are great assets to your team.

    How do you write a good volunteer essay? ›

    Writing Your Essay
    1. Step 1: Hook Your Reader In. ...
    2. Step 2: Discuss the Work You Did. ...
    3. Step 3: Include Specific Details. ...
    4. Step 4: Show Your Personality. ...
    5. Step 5: State What You Accomplished. ...
    6. Step 6: Discuss What You Learned. ...
    7. Step 7: Finish Strong.
    Jan 20, 2020

    What did I learn about myself after volunteering? ›

    Life lessons learned from volunteering can lead to self-improvement, confidence, and can even help in finding our soul purpose. Find your spark by serving others and take action. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

    What are 3 ways volunteering can help yourself by helping others? ›

    5 Benefits of Volunteering: For Your Personal and Professional...
    • Gain a sense of self-accomplishment and motivation. ...
    • Improve your mental health. ...
    • Change your daily routine – you may discover a new passion! ...
    • Develop new skills and improve current ones. ...
    • Make connections and friends.
    Aug 13, 2014

    Why is volunteering important quizlet? ›

    Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement. Volunteering can have a real and valuable positive affect on people, communities and society in general. Volunteering can help you meet different kinds of people and make new friends.

    What is volunteering and why is it important essay? ›

    Being responsive to the needs of other people makes us realize and appreciate humanity and spiritual being as well as feeling good for changing someone's life. This can even help shy people get self esteem. Volunteering in society work helps in promoting and building our social obligations as human beings.

    Why is volunteering important quotes? ›

    Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”

    Why does volunteering matter and what are 3 benefits of being able to add that to your resumes? ›

    Volunteering provides opportunities for learning new skills, helping society and increasing your confidence level in a professional setting. For example, volunteering in a role that interests you as a career can expose you to the industry and business processes, resulting in developing your skill set.

    What is the most important thing learned volunteering? ›

    As a volunteer, you never stop learning. Developing new skills, discovering new passions, gaining new insights about yourself and the world around you - volunteering covers it all. Volunteering can mean learning about different communities, organizations, and fields, as well as learning more about yourself.

    What is the biggest impact of volunteerism in your community? ›

    People the world over engage in volunteerism for a great variety of reasons: to help to eliminate poverty and to improve basic health and education, to tackle environmental issues, to reduce the risk of disasters or to combat social exclusion and violent conflict.

    What volunteering means to you? ›

    Most of the time, to volunteer means that you are working side by side with others. This connects you to other human beings as you are working toward a common goal. When you volunteer, you are making connections. You are connected with the community.

    What volunteering means to us? ›

    Volunteering is contribution of time, effort and talent to a need, cause or mission without financial gain. Volunteering is all about you being able to contribute some of your own time to help people in our communities.

    How will volunteering help me in the future? ›

    Volunteering helps you get to know yourself

    Knowing your skills, accomplishments, interests, and values is the foundation of career success. Volunteer experience can be a good way to learn more about yourself and your potential. It also gives you a chance to find out how other people view you and your strengths.

    Videos

    1. Meet new people: 7 benefits of volunteering
    (Highland Third Sector interface)
    2. Have fun: 7 benefits of volunteering
    (Highland Third Sector interface)
    3. Gain confidence: 7 benefits of volunteering
    (Highland Third Sector interface)
    4. Why be a Volunteer?
    (Family and Community Services NSW)
    5. How Volunteering can help Change the World | Trishya Screwvala | TEDxChennai
    (TEDx Talks)
    6. 10 Benefits of Volunteering for Your Personal and Professional Development
    (V Life Journal - Actuary, Risk, Career & Lifestyle)
    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

    Last Updated: 02/05/2023

    Views: 5723

    Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

    Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

    Birthday: 1994-06-25

    Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

    Phone: +128413562823324

    Job: IT Strategist

    Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

    Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.