We’ve all heard of people who volunteer. Maybe you have even gone out and given some of your time. But what’s the point of investing valuable time or money to become involved? What motivates people to do this? What’s to be gained from helping out?
When looking at these questions from a psychological perspective, volunteering goes beyond the selfless idea of helping others. Volunteering often fulfills the inner needs of the volunteer. These could include a desire to have a stronger sense of belonging within their community, or someone else, to network for their business. No two people’s inner drive will be exactly the same! Some people may be volunteering because they are looking for a mentor to give them guidance, to gain practical experience to assist in the career hunt. The list goes on.
Whatever it is that gets you off the couch and out making a difference, there are definite science-backed reasons as to why volunteering is good for you. HelpGuide.org lists several benefits of volunteering including:
- It helps you make new friends and contacts
- It increases your social and relationship skills
- It increases self-confidence
- It combats depression
- It helps you stay physically healthy
- It can provide career experience
- It can teach you valuable job skills
- It brings fun and fulfillment to your life
As you can see from this list, volunteering doesn’t just help improve the lives of those in need; it helps to improve aspects of your very own life as well. It can help you create connections and improve your social skills by interacting with different people and different personalities. This constant and diverse interaction can lead to a satisfying sense of fulfillment, can lift up your spirits and improve your overall happiness. This sort of fulfillment can help battle depression and even increase self-confidence.
For those of us who have office jobs or general desk jobs, volunteering is a way to get out and get moving, providing us with more energy and a better feeling at the end of the day. Moving around and being physical has a whole list of other benefits, which we will not get into, but as you can see volunteering can be the start of a whole chain of benefits to your well-being and health (physical and mental). The more you volunteer, the more this cycle is repeated and, hopefully, the better you will feel not only about yourself but about doing such a great service!
Once you start volunteering, your overall mindset on doing good can change and you may find yourself performing random acts of kindness more often and reaping the feel-good benefits that come along with it. Your own happiness and willingness can spread and encourage your friends and family to get involved as they see how it has affected you positively (once again, we point back to the “positive cycle” aspect).
Volunteering can be not only very rewarding but very inspiring as well. It can lead you to eye-opening experiences that help you become in-touch with some of the things that are going on in your community and the world. It can show you how many people are actually in need of help, and just how easy it can be to contribute. As the big idea of “making a difference” feels more accessible, you may imagine how much of an impact we could make if all of us just volunteered a little more time. Helping feels good and gets addictive!
But of course, the most important motivation of all is helping a good cause. You can align your passions to a great cause and watch the magic unfold. Alongside everything else we’ve listed, that are really just added benefits, this reason alone may be enough to help kick start your interest in volunteering!
Not sure where to start? Join GozAround today to search for volunteer opportunities that can help launch your volunteer career in a way that fits your interests and schedule (it’s free, what do you have to lose?)