“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”
Many of the most important jobs are ones that don’t come with a salary. Over half of us volunteer at least occasionally. Here are the top 10 reasons that people volunteer:
Gain Work Experience – Young or old, we often lack some skills required for the position we want. Volunteering is a great way to overcome this.
Meet New People – If you’re new to a community or just wanting to expand your social circle, consider volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about, you’ll already have something in common with the people you meet.
Personal Connection – Many people volunteer because their lives have been affected, good or bad, by a particular organization or event. If a loved one passed of cancer, you might find yourself canvassing for donations. If your love of music was fostered in part by your participation in the Y’s Men’s Music Festival, you might find yourself involved in organizing it for future generations.
Improve Health – Volunteering has been shown to reduce stress and enhance positive emotions like joy and optimism, which can actually boost your immune system
Strengthen Your Community – Supporting young people emotionally (offering support services), financially (funding programs), intellectually (mentoring), and physically (coaching sports) creates a strong community as well as a future crop of selfless volunteers.
Use Different Skillsets – Sometimes, the things you enjoy doing like photography, graphic design, bookkeeping or event planning aren’t part of your daily job description. A volunteer position is a great way to give back while unleashing those otherwise unused talents.
Personal Growth – Learning to work as part of a team with different types of people toward a common goal can be a challenge sometimes, but challenges are often when we learn the best lessons and grow in many ways.
Make a Difference – Volunteering can change the path of an at-risk youth. Providing them opportunities to be involved in sports or camps, fostering a love of the arts, or finding them a place to volunteer where they can build their own self-confidence are all great ways to foster a healthy mind and attitude in a young person.
Network – Build your professional and personal networks by getting to know people from many different professions. Need a plumber? You met one while volunteering and you’ve seen the great work he does, so give him a call! Need a babysitter? That student who provided face-painting at a recent event would be perfect!
Have fun – Volunteers know how to work had but they often play hard too. A sense of comradeship from working together leads to a lot of fun, good times and laughter.
There’s no right or wrong reason to volunteer, just like there’s no right or wrong organization to volunteer for. Everyone fits in somewhere. No matter what your interests or skill sets are, somebody is waiting eagerly for you to sign up as a volunteer.