• Theo

Reasons To Volunteer

Volunteering is something that we all know of and consider it a good option, but not that many of us go for it. The most-likely reason being that we don’t see an immediate benefit. Volunteering can be time-consuming, hard work that doesn’t have monetary gain but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other benefits.

I have always been an advocate for volunteering especially when it comes to mental health. It provides an opportunity to practice being in a workplace without the commitment or financial consequences if you can’t do it. Only recently though did I take my own advice. Volunteering taught me a number of things and answered some of my questions that I had in regards to future business ideas, but it also introduced me to some fantastic people. Volunteering can benefit everybody and here’s how.

1. Developing Contacts

One of the major benefits of volunteering is that you get to meet new people. The first groups of people will be the ones you work with and providing you are volunteering at a place of interest, those people could prove valuable for your future. In industries, people know people and volunteering is a great way to get a foot into that network.

The second type of people you would meet are clients. Every business has clients and there are a number of situations in volunteering when you get to interact with them. Once again, those clients can build up a part of your network.

2. Developing Experience

A major benefit to volunteering is that companies are more likely to take you on for a period of time as they don’t have to pay you. What you get though is experience in that industry. You can see what your job role would be like, what is involved in the day-to-day running of the business and what skills you have as well as the ones you need to work on in order for you to progress.

Many employers require experience now as opposed to qualifications as they want to know you can do a job and volunteering provides you with the option to gain that experience.

3. Socialising

I had always envisioned volunteering as a slightly lonely role but in my experience it wasn’t. Needless to say, every volunteering opportunity is different but in most of them, you will be able to communicate with people. You get to know the regular people on the job, interact with clients and hopefully make new friendships. In a time where it’s difficult to meet new people in person, volunteering is the perfect solution. You get to interact with the world, without filtering to a criteria.

4. Gaining New Skills

Similar to developing experience, volunteering enables you to learn new skills. Perhaps skills you didn’t know you lacked, or skills that can enhance your future options. For me, communication was a skill that I thought I was well-versed in. I had dealt with a variety of clients, team members etc. but when I started volunteering, I realised that I was lacking communication skills with children. Suddenly the only encouraging words I knew were “amazing” and “brilliant”. But after a couple of sessions, I’d already learnt from others around me and was able to communicate properly.

5. Helping Others

At its core though, volunteering is about helping others. You are offering to work for free and a lot of places that accept volunteers are charities. Volunteering at a rescue centre not only gives you a purpose but is helping the lives of animals. By working with those who have disabilities, you are bringing something positive in their life. Helping others brings a sense of fulfilment in our life. It doesn’t all have to be about money or about our own progress. Doing something good for others should be enough sometimes.

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