Not only is volunteering beneficial for the organization utilizing the volunteers’ skills and talents, but the participating volunteer can gain as much or more through the experience. Both tangible and intangible benefits can be produced through a well-run and meaningful volunteer opportunity. It is a powerful business tool and a way to boost your ‘feel good’ endorphins. Whether you have or haven’t thought about volunteering before, hopefully the benefits below will get you motivated to lend a hand.
Intangible: Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people. Since many organizations are looking for volunteers, you have an opportunity to choose your own ‘elective’ (remember how fun electives were in college). By pursuing this elective, you will find others who share a similar passion which could lead to some great friendships and possibly some great dating opportunities.
Tangible: The people you meet through volunteering have their own network of colleagues and friends that you will get linked to. These people might just know the right person at the organization you really want to work for. Never underestimate the power of networking. You know the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Despite what we may want to believe, there is a lot of truth to this.
Intangible: You are giving back and most likely doing a good service for someone or something. This is likely to lead to a very rewarding feeling and the release of those ‘feel good’ endorphins. Sometimes money can do that, but it often seems more rewarding to make a positive difference in someone’s life than only a positive difference in your bank account. If you can do both, all the better.
Tangible: It could help you land your next job. Even if your volunteer job is completely unrelated to the work you do or are trying to do, a LinkedIn survey found 41 percent of hiring managers view volunteer work as equal to a paid job. More importantly, you have a 27 percent better chance of being hired than people who don’t volunteer, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Intangible: You could discover your passion. So many people have no idea what they would like to do, especially something that would pay the bills and keep them motivated. Finding a job that you are passionate and interested in can be difficult. In college, your major is often chosen by the type of work you ‘think’ you would like to do, but you don’t really know. Volunteering is a great way to see if you like a particular type of work or find a passion for something you never knew existed.
Tangible: You can learn some new skills. There is such a wide array of organizations to volunteer for and an equally wide net of skills to be learned in these organizations. Whether it’s learning a new software, or honing your interpersonal and communication skills, volunteering is a great way to improve your skill set and your marketability.
A great place to start volunteering is at the upcoming HandsOn Day on October 17th. Registration for projects opens on Tuesday, September 8th. Save the date to start reaping the benefits of volunteering!
YNPN RVA, powered by ConnectVA, is a movement powering young and early-career nonprofit professionals through professional development, networking, and social opportunities to positively impact the Greater Richmond area.