Have you volunteered for a non-profit organization because you believe in the cause or want to impact the community in a positive way? Maybe you have supported an organization because it feels good to give back or you wanted to try something new. Individuals have a variety of reasons for wanting to volunteer and when they do, there are both benefits to the organization, and for the person volunteering.
Benefits to the Organization
Organizations benefit in several ways when individuals volunteer. A significant benefit is that volunteers save financial resources for the organization. Non-profit organizations may have only a few paid positions and work with lean budgets. They rely heavily on volunteers to carry out the mission of their work which saves financial resources to provide critical needs to the served population. A second substantial benefit volunteering has for organizations and on the community is providing services and support to the members of the community being served. Keeping the support local helps to foster and strengthen a healthy community. A third important benefit to organizations served by volunteers is their participation on the governing board which develops the vision and policies of the organization. Additional benefits organizations gain from volunteers include bringing together talents from a variety of backgrounds, having daily office tasks managed, building support for fundraising efforts, and marketing the organization to volunteers’ friends and beyond.
Personal Benefits for the Volunteer
Along with the organization benefitting from volunteer support, when you volunteer or give back, you benefit in various ways, too! Several benefits relate to how you feel, and you may believe that giving back is essential to having a satisfied life. Research shows that giving back through volunteering or outreach efforts has positive effects on your mental and physical health including lowering your stress levels. When you have a sense of purpose and you are giving back to an organization or cause that you are passionate about, you boost the release of dopamine which makes you feel relaxed. Other personal benefits to volunteering that can improve your mental health are the social aspect of connecting with others; it is a time to set aside what is on your own mind, and your self-esteem is improved as you serve.
Practical Benefits for the Volunteer
Besides feeling good about volunteering, there are practical reasons you may choose to volunteer which can include gaining experience, networking, or enhancing your resume. For someone who is looking to switch careers or to develop a new skill, volunteering in an appropriate setting gives you the opportunity to learn something new. While engaging with others through volunteer opportunities, you are also networking with potential mentors and connecting with individuals outside your normal day-to-day routine. Through these connections, you never know what possibilities may open for you. Lastly, having volunteer experience on your resume shows dedication to supporting the community and its needs. Listing volunteer work on your resume is also something that may make you stand out from other resumes. Some individuals may overlook adding volunteer work to their resume, however, find a way to include it.
Overall, volunteering benefits both the organization and the person volunteering. Being able to make an impact while supporting a worthy cause, improving your physical and mental health along the way, and gaining experience for a career change or your resume are all excellent reasons to consider giving back to your community. And people often report they have fun while volunteering!
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