Many people are interested in volunteering in one way or another. It’s a great way to give back to your community, and it’s a great way to learn new skills. Many students who are community-minded might start thinking of ways to get involved in a cause they’re passionate about, but there are some additional benefits even they should consider. Here are some reasons why every student should think about doing a little volunteering.
1. Learn Teamwork
Most likely when you are volunteering for an organization, you’re going to be put together with a team of people in order to help achieve a common goal. Learning to cooperate with people from all walks of life is just as valuable as learning to work with your peers. Collaborative skills are increasing in demand, so it’s important to learn how to be effective in a team.
2. Learn To Lead/Become Self-Reliant
The more time you spend doing an activity, the more responsibility you will likely be given. While volunteering, you may have the opportunity to take on some leadership roles. You will learn how to take directions and figure a way to complete your task. In some ways, you might be asked to take the initiative to help the organization. Maybe, you might be tasked with assisting, training, or leading newer volunteers. Everyone – from colleges to employers – is interested in someone who can take the lead.
3. Gain New Perspectives
Through volunteering, you will likely be exposed to people from a variety of different backgrounds. These people will bring their own stories and perspectives that may change the way you think about some things. This will open your mind to new ideas and can be valuable for shaping your own perspective in the future.
4. Exercise Your Creativity And Resourcefulness
As a volunteer, you may be asked to take over certain parts of a project. Maybe you can help with designing something, or you may be asked for ideas on how to accomplish something. You may not have many resources available to you, so it’s a great exercise in using your brain to find creative solutions. This will help you think outside of the box a bit more.
5. Win Scholarship Money
Some organizations may have grants or scholarships that you can win throughout the process of working with them. Volunteering may be a part of what it takes to qualify, or it may give you a leg up in the scholarship/grant process. Generally, many private scholarships and colleges will look favorably on volunteer work as it’s a great way to show some of your personality and passions, show off your skills, and show that you’re involved in your communities.
6. Improve Your Resume
Over time, you’ll develop new skills through volunteering. You’ll also develop a track record for the quality of work you can do and develop relationships with your supervisors. In the future, these may be people you want to ask to be a reference when you’re applying to college or for jobs. This can start opening doors to greater opportunities for you.
7. Change Your Community
As a volunteer, you are doing some sort of service to your community. It’s probably the reason why you thought about volunteering in the first place, after all. Many community organizations and nonprofits can have a positive affect on the surrounding area, even if small. You can help make a real difference in the community or in someone’s life by being a part of an organization that is doing some good.
8. Network With Others
As you volunteer, you’ll develop relationships with those around you. That’s all networking really is. It’s not attending some stuffy meeting where people are in suits talking about careers. It’s making connections and friendships. The more you volunteer, the more you will meet others and establish those connections. As you get to know them, you might learn more about what they do, the opportunities available to you, and what’s going on in the world around you. These relationships will be helpful in staying on top of the things that matter to you. The more friends you make, the more people you will have rooting for you. They’ll look for ways to help you accomplish your goals too.
9. Hone Your Skills
Many volunteer positions will include some sort of training. You’ll likely learn a bit and pick up new skills, but you may also have the opportunity to futher hone your existing skills. For example, if you are proficient with social media and the organization needs some assistance getting their message out to the community, you can learn to sharpen that skill to help the organization have a greater impact.
10. Earn School Credits
Depending on your school, you may have the opportunity to earn class credit through volunteering. This is more likely to be the case with colleges, but you never know. Your school might have a program where they have partnered with an organization where volunteering with them can partially or completely replace a class. If this interests you, ask your school’s career counselor what kind of options they may have for turning volunteer work into class credits.
Some organizations operate in many communities. If you are interested in seeing more of the world, volunteering might be a way to do it. You might be asked to visit different neighborhoods, cities, or even countries if you have the availability.
12. Get Inspired
You may find inspiration in the work you’re doing and the people you meet. You will likely learn more about yourself and want you want in the future. You will gain new perspectives and might come up with novel ideas of your own. Maybe it leads to you finding new ways to assist the organization you’re in or starting one of your own.
13. Explore Career Opportunities
As a volunteer, you might have the opportunity to wear many hats. One day, you might be assisting on the front lines of what the organization does, the next, you may be learning about how the organization gets its message out or operations on a day-to-day basis. You might have the opportunity to switch roles and learn more about what it takes to do different types of jobs. There may be other adult volunteers that do not work for the organization full time, so they may also give you some insight about the kind of work they do and what you might like about it. It’s a great opportunity to get some new perspectives. Be curious and see where it leads!
14. Volunteers Are Healthier
According to Psychology Today, volunteers are generally happier and healthier than non-volunteers. Establishing meaningful connections through volunteering can have great effects on your well-being and can be more important than exercising and eating well. It can also give you a sense of purpose, a great benefit to your mental wellbeing.
15. Learn How The World Works
The more you are involved in your community, and the more you talk with people, the more you will start to learn about how the different elements of your community work together. You will learn about how the organization you’re volunteering for impacts the community around it and the issues that are relevant to the community you serve. You will also get a healthy dose of others’ views about the community as a whole. Adults in the organization may also be able to help you learn more about the things that will matter for your future. What’s it like in a particular job or to apply for college? What’s going on in the community? The people around you may not have all the answers, but they may help you fit in some of those puzzle pieces to create a more complete picture for what matters to you.
16. Inspire Others
The more time you spend in an organization and the more responsibility you take on, the more you’ll be able to impact others. Others will see your work and may be inspired to get involved as well. You may train others and make an important difference about how they see the organization and more. Someone choosing to get more involved might be a direct result of working with you.
17. Personal Growth
If you’re getting really involved and are taking the time to meet people and learn about them, you’ll likely grow in many ways. You’ll learn how to manage more and take on greater responsibility. You’ll learn more about yourself and what you want from life. You’ll learn more about all the options available to you. You’ll grow into a better version of yourself.
18. Make Lasting Memories
No matter what your takeaway is, you will make memories that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Working with other people can be fun, and you might make a friendship or two as you work with others towards a common goal. Hopefully, you leave with many cherished memories which will provide the foundation for many great things in the future.
Whatever your reason for volunteering, it can provide massive benefits to individuals and the community as a whole. We definitely encourage you to look into volunteer opportunities.