The Benefits of Volunteering
#VolunteersWeek takes place every year and is a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution that volunteers make to our communicates. Volunteers play such a critical role across so many areas with over 11.9 million people volunteering at least once a month.
As well as the fantastic help, support and expertise that volunteers give to groups and organisations, volunteering is also really great for our wellbeing. One of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ is ‘giving’ and volunteering is a great way to give to others and boost our happiness levels.
Those that report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy and research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that a committing to an act of kindness once a week over a six week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
So as well supporting great causes and making us happier, what are some of the other benefits to volunteering:
Builds confidence - volunteering can help to build confidence by giving you the chance to try something new, enhance your experiences and build a sense of achievement.
Learn new skills - through volunteering you can gain new skills, experience new opportunities and even sometimes gain a new qualification.
Supports your physical health - research shows that those that volunteer have better health with lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression and greater functional ability.
Build social connections - by volunteering you strengthen your community and social networks by meeting new people and building friendships.
Raises self awareness - volunteering can get you involved in different communities and learn about different cultures and organisations which can also help build softer skills such as empathy and compassion.
Advance your career opportunities - through volunteering you can stand out on job applications by showing your passion and character to help others and take on roles outside of your day to day career.
If you are interesting in doing some volunteering, here are some links for how you can get involved:
Volunteer jobs in the Charity Sector - https://www.charityjob.co.uk/volunteer-jobs
Roles within Volunteer Centres - https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/find-a-volunteer-centre
Gemma Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting