Why Volunteering Is Important in a Personal and Professional Capacity

Updated June 24, 2022

Helping others in their time of need is an excellent way to connect with your community. Volunteering impacts everyone involved and is a rewarding endeavor with numerous benefits. Understanding the perks of volunteering and why you should do it yourself to help you decide if that path is something you wish to pursue further. In this article, we discuss why volunteering is important, explain the benefits of volunteering and discover places to volunteer.

Why is volunteering important?

Volunteering is important because it enables individuals to help others in a selfless way. When individuals volunteer they may choose to help people, support philanthropic causes and provide assistance to their local community. Additionally, volunteering benefits everyone and is a terrific way to have a positive impact in the community.

Furthermore, volunteering is important for certain charities because they may depend solely on volunteer work in order to operate. For example, some organizations are funded in part through the local or federal government and therefore do not have the funds to pay every member of their staff a salary. In this way, these organizations utilize groups of unpaid volunteers in order to function. The charity is then able to remain operational, while the volunteers are able to help those in need.

Related: How to Volunteer: 13 Steps to Start Volunteering in Your Community

Benefits of volunteering

There are many personal and professional benefits associated with volunteering, such as:

Personal benefits of volunteering

  • Promotes good health: Volunteering can help maintain positive mental and physical health for the volunteer. An individual who volunteers may see a rise in their confidence because helping others can provide a feeling of achievement. In addition, volunteering can help decrease an individual's risk of depression because volunteering connects you with other people and provides opportunities for positive social interactions. Volunteering also helps maintain an individual's physical health, as you are likely moving or lifting a wide variety of items, or at a minimum moving your body and getting exercise.

  • Builds interpersonal skills: Volunteering helps individuals build interpersonal skills and communicate with other volunteers, which provides the foundation for engaging social relationships. If an individual sees themselves as shy or introverted, registering for volunteer work can provide opportunities to engage with other people and connect with the community. As a result, the individual can enhance their interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Establishes new contacts: As a volunteer, individuals have opportunities to meet new people and possibly make friends with people they may not have met otherwise. These new relationships are forged through the common interest that both parties have in the volunteer work. Additionally, volunteering is a great way to interact with your community and get involved in your neighborhood.

  • Promotes happiness: Volunteering can bring joy and happiness to the volunteer by giving them opportunities to help those in need. Similarly, becoming a volunteer can add opportunities for exciting and new experiences to your life and can allow you to pursue other areas that interest you. For example, if you work as an accountant and usually work indoors, you may find it beneficial to volunteer at an animal shelter or a home building organization so you can have more time outdoors.

Professional benefits of volunteering

  • Discover a career path: Because volunteering provides individuals with new experiences, becoming a volunteer can help you discover your ideal career path. If your volunteer work aligns with your passions, volunteering can help you determine whether a career in that field will interest you. Additionally, volunteering provides valuable career information regarding your work habits and preferences. For example, you may discover through volunteering that you prefer to perform administrative tasks as opposed to sales or performance-driven tasks. Ultimately, volunteering can help you decide which career path to take and can help you assess your career goals.

  • Stay up-to-date: Volunteering allows you to stay up-to-date on any changes in working society. Volunteers are able to enhance their unique skill set and learn new skills through volunteering, which is beneficial for any job. For example, if you are volunteering at a local library, you may learn how to use advanced software or more efficient spreadsheet techniques that you may use later in your career.

  • Provide challenges: Individuals may find that some tasks are challenging, especially if volunteering in an industry that is unfamiliar to you. In this way, volunteering can provide stimulating challenges that can help you learn new skills in order to strengthen your skill set. Volunteering in a field that is new to you is a great way to make your resume stand out because it shows potential employers that you are willing to accept challenges.

  • Find a job: Occasionally, volunteering may result in the volunteer being hired by the organization. When an organization is looking to hire internally, the hiring managers are likely to begin looking at internal positions such as those who have previously volunteered at the organization. Individuals who volunteer and then apply to paid positions when available may have an advantage over outside hires. For example, if an individual has been volunteering at an agency for three years, they already know the agency's employees, policies and procedures, and company culture.

Related: 7 Reasons to Consider Volunteering

Places to volunteer

Here are some places where you can become a volunteer in your community:

  • Schools

  • Senior centers

  • Local youth sporting teams

  • Hospitals

  • Animal shelters

  • Home construction organizations

  • Libraries

  • Soup kitchens

Related: How to Find a Volunteer Job: Tips for Where to Look and How to Find the Best One for You

Ways to volunteer

There are many ways you can be an active volunteer in your community such as:

  • Tutoring students

  • Talking or playing games with seniors at a senior center

  • Singing, dancing and reading to seniors at a senior center

  • Organizing after-school activities and events for at-risk youth

  • Coaching a local youth athletic team

  • Escorting hospital patients

  • Walking dogs at an animal shelter

  • Building homes

  • Sorting and reshelving library books

  • Cleaning the dishes at a soup kitchen

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