September 11, 2014 by Lisa Brammer
Do you ever see volunteers helping others and wish you had the time to join them? Sometimes our lives get so hectic we don’t think there is enough time to give-back. However the impact is ginormous—volunteering not only benefits a community, it also has far reaching positive effects on the volunteers. Depending on where you volunteer, you can learn different skills, connect with new people, boost your self-confidence, advance your career, and even improve your health.
The most well-known benefit of volunteering is the impact on communities. There is no doubt that many worthwhile nonprofit organizations could not (and would not) exist without volunteers. Never underestimate the power of individuals on a mission. Together they accomplish a lot of meaningful things that could not get done any other way.
According to the report, “Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2013” people in the Midwest did a great job giving back. Wisconsin ranked 8th in the U.S. with 35.6 percent of residents volunteering 165.3 million service hours in 2012. That amounted to $3.7 billion of service contributed.
Helping others can be as beneficial for the giver as it is for the receiver. Volunteering is known to decrease the risk for depression and increase self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall life satisfaction.
Volunteering can strengthen your connection with humanity. Seeing how people who are less fortunate handle their problems can have a profound effect on how you look at your own challenges—and stimulate personal growth. It can be exciting to work alongside a diverse group of people from differing circumstances and career paths. In fact, volunteering may even improve your interpersonal skills and relationships.
Likeminded people who come together to help others often develop strong networks and these connections are thought to help minimize stress and reduce the risk of getting sick.
There is no telling what great benefits could arise from contributing a few hours of your time volunteering. To get the most out of the experience find a cause you are passionate about and please consider the following:
▪ Are you a person who likes to work in groups or by yourself?
▪ Do you prefer to be front and center, or behind the scenes?
▪ How much time are you willing to commit? To avoid burn-out or the guilt of calling in “sick” be realistic and don’t over-commit—even if pushed—this way you can be proud you are a reliable volunteer.
▪ Remember your fellow workers are volunteers too. Be kind in your thoughts and interactions—they are contributing what they can, just as you are.
▪ It’s not all about the work, have fun!
If volunteering is something you would contemplate if you had the time, consider this quote by the memorable Lucille Ball, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.”
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