Why volunteer work is good for you
Are you thinking about lending a helping hand at the local animal shelter, Goodwill, or soup kitchen? Then here’s the good news: Volunteering doesn’t just help the creatures, people, or 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. In her article “15 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering That Will Inspire You” for The Balance, Joanne Fritz reports that doing volunteer work makes you more in demand in the job market. Whether your 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.
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 VolunteerMatch.org to see if you can find something that’s a good match for your interests? And with the right choice, you can create a win-win situation that offers personal and professional benefits you might not find elsewhere.
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