Volunteering: The Benefits of Giving
The Importance of Charity to Humanity
“Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man’s help, something for which you get no pay, but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too”
by Albert Schweitzer.
Loving and giving comes in a variety of forms. It comes from the golden rule,“do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” There are many ways in which you can influence your community and give to others without sacrificing an exorbitant amount of your time or money. You could try micro-volunteering, which is spending less than 30 minutes helping someone from your home, phone or computer. It is the networking model of opportunity volunteering known as sparked.
In fact, a mere act of kindness – holding the door open for a stranger, saving the last slice of pizza for a neighborhood friend, or inviting your mailman in for a glass of iced tea – can go far in brightening another’s day.
Furthermore, your calculated acts of kindness and giving can positively influence your life as well. So, before griping about all of the negative aspects you imagine your time volunteering might bring about, consider all of the benefits not only for the community, organization or individual you are helping, but for yourself.
Dr. Pamela Livecchi cites three reasons young people should volunteer:
1. Giving selflessly, without expecting something in return. Creates a habit of engagement and personal responsibility.
2. Giving your time, when you may be struggling with time and money. Volunteering can help you make use of your spare time and even help you find meaning and purpose.
3. Being a volunteer in the community can be a beneficial experience. It sets examples for your kids as well as, having a positive effect on your moods and wellbeing.
Six Ways Volunteering Positively Impacts Your Life
1. Stay Connected – Volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet new friends and expand your network. Over the course of your volunteer project, you will be exposed to different people with similar interests and investments in your community will help you feel good about yourself just by volunteering your services to help someone else in need. To see how volunteering can affect people’s lives check out this video.
2. Increase Your Self-Confidence –A natural sense of accomplishment and belonging comes from helping others in your community. Accomplishing a large and meaningful project evokes pride in volunteers, which resonates into the other aspects of life. A job well done boosts self-confidence, and can increase your self-esteem and give you a sense of purpose such as explained in this video resource. It can help change your life as well as, other lives.
3. Maintain Good Mental Health – Social isolation is a crucial factor for individuals suffering from depression. Becoming involved with a volunteer effort helps to combat depression by surrounding the individual with a group of people who can act as a support system. In her video, Sarah Moran covers the benefits of volunteering and motivation. Volunteering provides an overall feeling of camaraderie resonates through the group of volunteers instilling in each member an understanding of their personal identity.
4. Stay Healthy – Studies reveal that those who volunteer have better cognitive functioning, and longer lifespans than non-volunteers. John Tesh says volunteering will make you happier. Why? Because it reduces stress levels, and your body produces more Oxytocin and Dopamine. Furthermore, a study performed by the University of Michigan Research Center demonstrated that volunteers with a history of heart problems had reduced chest pain and lower cholesterol levels compared to sufferers who did not volunteer.
5. Gain Career Experience – In today’s competitive job market, employers want to hire individuals with experience. Volunteering helps you to gain experience in a career field you are trying to break into. Additionally, volunteering might introduce you to important internship opportunities or professional organizations that will increase your potential for career advancement.
6. Learn Valuable Skills – Read more about micro-volunteering and how to make a difference from your couch. Every volunteer position holds the opportunity to learn new skills or improve your current skills. Fundraising can improve your communication and marketing skills, while volunteering at your local shelter can teach you valuable crisis counseling and management skills.
As Gandhi said, “if you want to change the world, be that change.” As a volunteer, you are performing a valuable service to both the community and to yourself. Check out this video to see the monetary impact volunteers can have. Also check out this amazing chart detailing the estimated value of volunteer time. The estimated national value of volunteer time for 2012 was $22.14 an hour. Open your heart. Volunteer. Someone can always use your help.
Four Community Key Resources Starting Points
4. Idealist – This is a resource center that can help you find volunteer opportunities. Finding ideal opportunities to volunteer is not hard. You will need to look for them. There are all types of volunteer opportunities available like mentoring, fundraising, collections and distribution, food service and general labor.
You can find some opportunities for volunteering at some of the following national and state organizations like:
Adoption Agencies, Habitat for Humanity, Suicide Hotlines, Teaching language skills, Make-a-Wish-Foundation, Peace Corps, Horses for the Handycapped, Red Cross, Public/Private Library, Zoo, Hospitals, the USO, Feed America, Your Church, House of Worship, The Salvation Army, Food Banks, Child Advocacy Centers, Schools, Meals on Wheels, Senior Centers, Soup Kitchens, Humane Society and many more.
Just look around you. All you have to do is remember, “it’s better to give then receive,” as it will return to you. Ancient Wisdom says “press down with good measure. Your cup will run over with benefits”.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics for Volunteering for 2012, by Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Americorps and United We Service – Volunteer in low-performing schools to work with the students, teachers and parents to help the students succeed in and out of school.
- Helpguide.org – Provide you with better information and articles on many topics tohelp getyou started with volunteering.
- People Like You, by Irene Brennick, YouTube, this is a song written by Irene Brennick, dedicated to the hero’s and volunteers
- Youth Volunteerism, by PillarNonprofit, YouTube, this is about sharing ideas on volunteering in the community
- The Volunteer Experiences, by The Volunteer Experience, YouTube, this is about helping communities by doing the volunteer work, not just talking about it.
- “Children as Volunteers: Preparing for Community Service” By Susen J.Ellis, Anne Weisbord, Katherine H. Noyes. E-book and paperback (ISBN 0-940576-30) for $9.00 and hardcover for (ISBN 0-940576-26-0416-95) $16.95 at Energize.
- “Proof Positive” by Susen J. Ellis and Katherine Noyes Cambell e-book (ISBN-0-940576-29-S) available as a paperback (ISBN -0-940576-37) on Amazon.
- “The Third Wave” an Inspiring Volunteering Story by Alison Thompson (ISBN-10: 0385529163 ISBN-13: 9780385529167) available for purchase for $ 17.64 at Barnes&Nobles.com.
- Nonprofit Insights: “Who is Volunteering in America, by Volunteer Match, YouTube
- Volunteer Match, which connects good people and good causes together also has a popular iTunes website and has served 5 million volunteers. You can find great opportunities from your iPhone or iPad.