The Benefits of Volunteering and How To Be a Great Volunteer
Judie Stilman August 7, 2022
You’ve probably been encouraged to volunteer at some point in your life. Whether it’s for a college application, more social interaction, or simply because you want to help others, you’ll find unlimited satisfaction in these opportunities.
First of all, what is the benefit of volunteering? After all, the average volunteer spends about 50 hours per year donating their time. While that’s only four hours per month, your time is a precious commodity.
So what are you really getting from this volunteer experience?
It looks good on your resume
Here’s the deal. Did you know that a 2016 study concluded that 82% of interviewers prefer applicants with volunteer experience?
That’s right! The study (conducted by Deloitte) asked 2,506 U.S. hiring managers if they cared about volunteer experience on a resume.
92% say volunteer activities build leadership skills, so hiring managers find volunteering exceptionally important.
Community involvement can open new doors
Volunteering at the local fire department, garden, school, or beach cleanup helps you get to know your community a little better. Not only can this help you make new friends, but it could be a chance to meet the “right” people.
Maybe you’ll connect with your next boss for a job you’ve always wanted, an investor for your passion project, or someone to start a business with.
You never know who you’re going to meet!
Donating can be a tax write off
If you can’t donate your time, you can always donate financially.
From contributing to a friend’s GoFundMe to offering a chunk of change to your favorite charity, the IRS allows a percentage of your donation as a tax write-off.
Learn more about it here.
RELATED: #DOONETHINGTODAY TO CHANGE THE WORLD
4 Tips on Volunteering: How To Be a GREAT Volunteer
Now that you see the benefit of donating your time, let’s talk about what it takes to be a great volunteer.
Below are four tips on volunteering that will make each experience enjoyable— and beneficial.
- Turn Your Passion into Action
For starters, before you commit to a volunteer experience, try a couple of different events so you can decide where your passion really lies. We recommend using the Golden App to find the right volunteer position for you!
Remember, volunteering for the right cause can make all the difference. You’ll be more committed if the organization aligns with your personal beliefs and passions.
So, if you like working with kids, volunteer at a school. If you love animals, see if you can volunteer at an animal shelter. Do you enjoy cooking? Check out local nonprofits that provide free meals.
2. Come Prepared
Now, once you have a list of volunteer ideas, search for local causes. You’ll want to do your research on each organization. Make a note of what volunteer positions they have open, how many hours you can donate, and what supplies you might need.
Next, after a few weeks of volunteering, figure out how you can be more proactive. Being willing to step up and take initiative at these events can really open doors for you.
3. Communicate with Your Peers
Here’s another benefit. Volunteering can make you some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Remember, you’re already there with people who have the same core interests as you. So don’t be afraid to reach out and get to know other volunteers!
One tip on volunteering that we want to drive home is how important communication is to these organizations. Make sure you effectively communicate with event leaders.
Let them know when you’re available, give them notice if you can’t make it (more than 24 hours), and don’t overbook yourself. Start slowly by volunteering once a month and gradually work your way up into more consistent involvement.
4. Offer Your Expertise
The best way to make sure you consistently volunteer is to offer your expertise.
For example, if you’re a good writer, you might want to write articles, blogs or social posts for a local political campaign or nonprofit. If you have experience in the medical field, you could be a volunteer firefighter. If you’re an artist you might volunteer to arrange flowers for an event or paint a mural at a local school. The options are endless.
This doesn’t have to be tied to your work skills; it can be linked to your hobbies, too!
In other words, if you like to read, volunteer at a school to help kids discover the joy of reading. Tell them how it makes you feel and what other hobbies you enjoy because of reading.
In conclusion, volunteering your expertise and sharing your passions ensures that you’ll have fun, open doors to new opportunities, and be appreciated for who you truly are!
Still not sure where your passion truly lies? Take this quiz to find out what Kind of Volunteer You Are