What Skills Can You Gain From Volunteering?
We automatically associate volunteering with giving; whether it be to the community or a worthy cause, we have a tendency to think that it isn’t about us. But what we’re missing here is the most obvious aspect of volunteering: personal growth. No matter the reason for volunteering, it’s an amazing experience that can provide you with more opportunities than you ever even realised.
When you invest your time in an organisation and its mission, there’s 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 skills can you gain from volunteering?
Here are just a few of the experiences and skills you can gain from volunteering.
You’ll create meaningful connections
It takes more than a great skillset to build a successful career. We can all learn a lot from each other, and meeting with people at different stages in their careers or in different roles can lead to some valuable discussions. 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 allows you to reach a number of people, many of whom may be key decision makers.
If you use this time to build a strong social network, you’ll gain networking skills. 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 the people around you. Introduce yourself, learn from the organisation’s 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 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 compassion
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 gain teamworking skills
Volunteering often involves working as part of a team. And the projects you do could be quite different to the ones you’re assigned at work. They’re likely to be more hands on and creative, and less restricted by role. In this way, volunteering is a great way to practise your teamworking skills in a different environment, and with a diverse group of people.
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 skillset. Or maybe you’ve found your dream job title but are still looking for an organisation that really allows you to love what you do.
Now that you know what skills you can gain from volunteering, you know that 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.
This post was originally published in 2018 but has been fully updated by CharityJob to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.