We all know that volunteering is a vital part of healthy communities. Volunteering helps organizations provide services that would otherwise be impossible to deliver in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Volunteering fosters a sense of community responsibility. Volunteering brings different segments of the community together and helps them understand each other better. But is there any benefit for the volunteer? The answer is yes—and in more ways than you might think. GetAssist investigates!
People who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who don’t, and that benefit increases with age. In addition, volunteering has been shown to reduce symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease.
People who volunteer have lower rates of depression than those who don’t. Volunteering leads to both higher self-esteem (from giving back to the community) and an increased sense of accomplishment (from improving or developing skills). In fact, a London School of Economics study of American adults found that happiness increased as time spent volunteering increased. When compared to people who didn’t volunteer at all, respondents who volunteered once a week were seven percent more likely to rate themselves as “very happy,” and those who volunteered twice a month or more were 12 percent more likely to rate themselves as “very happy.”
Surprisingly, volunteering also seems to act as a time-machine, in that people who volunteer feel like they have more free time—even if they don’t. A Swiss study of 746 full- and part-time workers revealed that those who volunteered experienced a higher level of work/life satisfaction than those who didn’t, even when controlling for factors like actual time and resources. And, in a 2012 report in Psychological Science, volunteers reported a greater sense of “time affluence” than people who spent that same amount of time doing something for themselves.
Volunteering can also deliver tremendous professional benefits. In addition to enhancing important career skills, volunteering can help you grow your network and come in contact with community leaders you may otherwise have no opportunity to meet, especially if you reinforce the connection through GetAssist. Volunteering can also give you a risk-free opportunity to try out new career options.
Without a doubt, giving back to the community is important. But there are very real benefits for volunteers that are too important to ignore. Before you take the plunge, spend some time identifying the volunteer opportunities that best fit you and your life on GetAssist. Think about the things that are important to you. What are you passionate about? What makes you happy? And, on a practical note, how much time do you have? How far do you want to travel? What type of volunteering will best help you reach your personal and career goals?
If you’re ready to start identifying some volunteer opportunities, look no further than GetAssist. With GetAssist you can join volunteer communities to keep up with postings and opportunities near you. Pre-register for GetAssist today!