Believe it or not, there are more reasons to volunteer than just the warm, fuzzy feelings you may get by helping other people. While the feel-good rationale is certainly good enough, if you’re on the fence about donating your time to an organization or cause, we’d like to help nudge you over the edge in the charitable direction.
Here are three great reasons to start volunteering today:
1. You’ll expand your network
If you cringe when you hear the word networking, but understand its value, you might want to consider the charitable donation of your time. That’s right, you can forgo swilling cocktails and maintaining awkward conversation at a designated networking event, and start building relationships by dedicating yourself to a shared activity. You’ll meet people who share your values and have common interests, which will naturally facilitate conversation and idea sharing.
2. You’ll gain experience and meet references
If you’re currently looking for a job, use a bit of your spare time to volunteer in your field. For example, organizations such as City Harvest in the U.S or Partage in Switzerland present ideal volunteering opportunities for those in the hospitality industry. Not only will it be a better use of your free time than binge watching all five seasons of Breaking Bad, but you can also gain on-the-job experience, hone your skills and cultivate unique references that may set you apart from other job seekers.
3. It’s just good for you
We mentioned the warm fuzzy feelings already. Serving meals at a soup kitchen, spending time with the elderly, walking shelter dogs, teaching others what you know—all of those activities can also reduce stress, thereby improving your immune system.
So, what are you waiting for? If you don’t know where to start, check with your local community leaders about the most needed services in your area, or consult websites like www.idealist.org for opportunities online.