In today’s society, it often seems there aren’t enough hours in the day. We’re constantly rushing around, struggling to find time for our own activities, let alone time to volunteer. However, it’s important to understand the benefits of volunteering and the impact that volunteering can have on your life, the community, and the environment.
Many consider volunteering a selfless act and participate with the sole purpose of helping the environment or others around them. While this is true, volunteering will actually help you on a personal level. Volunteering allows you to grow and develop in more ways than one.
Whether you volunteer your time on a daily basis or once in a while, volunteering can allow you to meet new people, while having fun and helping others. The following article from the University of Missouri explains the benefits of volunteering, going into thorough detail as to how volunteering can personally help you.
Volunteering offers many benefits. Here are some reasons to volunteer:
Learn or develop a new skill.
Volunteering is the perfect conduit to develop a new skill or to discover a new talent. It is never too late to realize new skills or accumulate knowledge. Employers are often seeking well-rounded individuals who have good teamwork and goal setting skills. Planning and implementing a major fundraising event can develop goal setting, planning and budgeting skills. Serving on a volunteer committee or board is a great way to learn group dynamics and team work. Serving as a committee chair increases facilitation skills. Painting a mural or making banners could highlight your art talents. The possibilities are endless.
Be part of your community.
There are so many options for being involved in your community, through professional associations, neighborhood organizations, arts and historic organizations and social service organizations. No man or woman is an island. People and societies co-depend on each other for survival. We can bridge the expanding gap between communities and societies through volunteering. Volunteering is ultimately about helping others taking part in impacting people’s welfare and happiness. What better way is there to connect with your community and give something back? Do you feel strongly about something that is happening or not happening in your community and want to get involved? As a volunteer, you certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you.
Meet a diverse range of people.
Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people varied backgrounds. Both the recipients of your volunteer efforts and your fellow volunteers can be a valuable source of inspiration and an exceptional method to expand your interpersonal skills. You do not know who you will meet, what new information you will acquire, and how this could impact your life.
Receive personal rewards and sense of achievement.
Volunteering is about donating your time, energy, and skills generously. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help freely — free from pressure to act from others. Volunteers generally convey a sense of achievement and motivation which ultimately is generated from the desire and enthusiasm to help. For others volunteering may simply be a break in regular routine or an opportunity to create balance in their lives. Volunteering around a personal interest or hobby can be enjoyable, relaxing, and revitalizing. That energy and sense of fulfillment can even be carried over to other situations and sometimes help to relieve tensions and foster new perspectives for old situations.
Watching those around you can allow you to identify leadership qualities that you most appreciate and can develop in yourself. Volunteer groups are often groups of peers that respond more to leadership than management. Opportunities are available to lead by persuasion, show innovation, and share your ideas and values. Volunteer settings allow you to learn strategic thinking and conflict resolution skills. You will learn about your community, about trends and concerns, about people and about resources–all of which can help you develop your leadership potential.
Enhance Career Opportunities.
Networking – Volunteering offers an incredible networking opportunity. You will develop lasting personal and professional relationships. Not only is it a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries, but you can also hear about job openings, gather valuable employment information and develop great references.
Retain or sharpen old skills – Sometimes job duties change and you may no longer be doing things you used to do and liked. Volunteering is a perfect means for keeping those skills sharp and current.
Practice skills – It is much more effective to practice a new skill than to read about it or study it in a classroom. Volunteering is an excellent venue to experiment, practice, and test new techniques and skills. The opportunity to build your self-confidence through practice is offered. Additionally, volunteering provides opportunities to observe others to determine best practices.
Explore new career options – Volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields. Sometimes a volunteer experience can direct you to something you never thought about or help you uncover a new skill or interest. You can strengthen your personal/professional mission and vision by exploring opportunities and expanding your horizons.
It’s important to note that volunteering shouldn’t feel like a chore. If you live in or around Massachusetts and are looking for a fun place to volunteer, then check out Southwick’s Zoo! Southwick’s Zoo, located in Mendon, offers volunteers the ability to work in a variety of areas throughout the Zoo.
We urge you to consider the benefits of volunteering at Southwick’s Zoo. Southwick’s Zoo is not only a fun place to volunteer your time and learn, but you’ll meet lots of great people and animals. As a volunteer at Southwick’s Zoo, you’ll be asked to participate in a 10 week class to learn all about the Zoo and our animals. In addition, you’ll begin by mentoring a docent and will get to experience all the exciting things the Zoo has to offer. Please fill out an application form if you are interested in volunteering your time at Southwick’s Zoo. We look forward to hearing from you!