Why do people volunteer? Is it because it feels good to give back? Or maybe it’s because you have a personal connection with the cause. No matter the reason, volunteering is an amazing experience that can provide you with more opportunities than you ever even realised. We automatically associate it with giving; whether it be to the community or a worthy cause, we have a tendency to think that it is not about us. But what we’re missing here is the most obvious aspect: personal growth.
When you invest your time in an organisation and its mission, there is plenty for you to gain. And, you should be proactively seeking ways to make the most of your experience. So the real question is, what can you gain as a volunteer? Here are a few things that will happen when you volunteer.
You’ll create meaningful connections
It takes more than a great skillset to build a successful career. Beyond what you know, it is also about who you know. As a volunteer, you have the flexibility and freedom to move around an organisation and donate your time to areas that truly interest you. This also allows you to reach a number of people, many of which may be key decision makers. Use this time to build a strong social network. Not only is this a great way to connect with your community, but you’ll also build positive relationships by building bonds of trust and developing a deeper respect for diversity.
Don’t be idle – get to know many of the people around you. Introduce yourself, learn from the organisations leaders and try to develop long term relationships that you can call on at a later stage in your career.
You’ll develop better people skills
Many people get to a stage in their career where they’re leading and managing a team. Sometimes, this means that we become out of touch with all of the aspects that help an organisation to truly operate at its best.
Volunteering can reintroduce you to the feeling of being on the front line. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what it means to connect with and work alongside a number of people. Whilst leadership skills are always desirable, never underestimate the significance of people skills. Improving your ability to effectively communicate will only strengthen and improve your work environment!
You’ll practice self-reflection and mindfulness
As a volunteer, you may be exposed to a number of social and political issues that, otherwise, you would have known very little about. Take this time to really educate yourself and understand why the charity or organisation is trying to tackle these problems.
Also, spend some time reflecting on yourself. Many of us forget just how much we have to be grateful for. In our journey to do great things, we should never forget or become disconnected with what we already have.
You’ll inspire others to do good
Did you know that you can ‘catch’ certain emotions? Volunteering sparks a contagion between people who match-up emotionally, whether that’s friends, family or that handful of colleagues you’re really close with. The more positive you feel about your volunteer work, the more this enthusiasm and dedication can spread to people nearby. By sharing your positive experiences with those around you, you’re inspiring others to do good and give back.
You might even find your calling!
So, you’re still searching for a role that truly suits your skill set. Or maybe you have found your dream job title but still looking for an organisation that really allows you to love what you do. In both of these instances, volunteering can be a blessing in disguise. This is a chance for you to find your feet and get immersed within a campaign or cause that strikes a chord with you.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at all of the amazing volunteering opportunities on CharityJob right now.