Quite recently, a trusted colleague and friend had explored some benefits of volunteering which I will like to share.
BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING
by Dr. Ugonna .N. Ajoku (Co-founder, Health Army Initiative Nigeria)
“ One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” – Gordon Hinckle.
- Learn or develop a new skill
Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill. Planning and implementing a major fundraising event can develop goal setting, planning and budgeting skills. Supervising and training other volunteers also helps to develop supervisory and training skills.
In fact, an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review called skills-based volunteering overseas “the next executive training ground.”
- Be part of your community
Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s wellbeing. What better way is there to connect with your community and give a little back? As a volunteer, you certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you.
- Motivation and sense of achievement
Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life there is choice involved in volunteering. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help on your own accord, free from pressure to act from others. Volunteers predominantly express a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from your desire and enthusiasm to help. It’s all about making that little corner of the world where you live just that little bit better.
- Boost your career options
A survey carried out by Time Bank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses
- 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
- 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills.
- 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted.
Also, if you are thinking of a career change then volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields, the ideal way to expand your work portfolio in your field and to gain a real insight into your chosen path.
- New interests and hobbies
Sometimes we do get locked into the “rat-race” of life and volunteering can give that escape to everyday routine and create a balance in our lives. Finding new interests and hobbies through volunteering can be fun, relaxing and energizing. Help run a youth radio station or website for a few hours a week or assist in publishing a charity newsletter. The energy and sense of fulfillment can carry over to a work situation and sometimes helps to relieve tensions and foster new perspectives for old situations. Sometimes a volunteer experience can lead you to something you never even thought about or help you discover a hobby or interest you were unaware of. You can strengthen your personal/professional mission and vision by exploring opportunities and expanding your horizons.
- New experiences
Volunteering is a brilliant way to get life experience. Whether you build a library or mail flyers to raise awareness for a local charity, you will experience the real world through hands-on work. This guide section has established that volunteers can do almost anything and with the new millennium has dawned an era of infinite volunteer opportunities.
- Meeting a diverse range of people
Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Both the recipients of your volunteer efforts and your co-workers can be a rich source of inspiration and an excellent way to develop your interpersonal skills. Volunteering also offers an incredible networking opportunity. Not only will you develop lasting personal and professional relationships but it is also a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and you can never tell whom you will meet or what new information you will learn and what impact this could have on your life.
- Send a signal to your employer, teachers, friends and family…
People pay attention to your life outside the environment in which they have direct contact with you. For example, your employer would be interested in the activities that give you a good work-life balance, just as academic institutions are interested in your extra-curricular activities. Volunteering reflects and supports a complete picture of you, and gives real examples of your commitment, dedication and interests. Show people what you are passionate about and maybe you will inspire them too!