Expert Opinion: Why Volunteer?

(This post is part of our 2014 Resolve to Evolve program.)

Why should you volunteer? Life is busy enough, ya know?

For starters, volunteering helps strengthen communities and it helps strengthen you.

Points of Light Institute found that:

  • Volunteering helps build a more cohesive, safer, stronger community
  • Volunteering has a positive effect on volunteers, increasing their self-esteem, enhancing their skills and capacities, expanding careers paths, and increasing physical and mental health

So when you volunteer you do good and you feel good. (I think that’s what they call a win-win.)

But more than just being good for your community and your health, volunteering is good for your career.

According to the website, here are 6 ways volunteering can boost your career:

1. It Can Fuel Your Passion. If your current job is not your ideal work, volunteering at something you enjoy is an alternative source of the passion you can’t get from your job right now.

2. You Can Practice New Skills. No opportunity in your current job to stretch or learn something new? Find a volunteer opportunity that allows you to explore new roles and skills you’d like to develop. You can add this experience to your resume.

3. Volunteer Your Way Into A Potential Job. Maybe you don’t have the experience to earn the paid position yet. Signing on as a volunteer gives you a chance to learn the organization, build relationships there, and show you have what it takes to do the job.

4. Volunteering Is An Opportunity To Expand Your Network. Not only will you meet people who support the same cause, you will find people that have personal and professional connections that can help you – especially if you are looking for a job.

5. Exposure To New Ways Of Doing Things. Seeing how another organization runs things, and being exposed to different ways of managing, brainstorming, solving problems, can provide a fresh way to look at the challenges you face in your paid position.

6. You Can Use It As A Team Building Experience. This one goes beyond just you. Do you lead or work with a team? Finding a group volunteering opportunity can be a low-cost way to do good and re-establish positive connections with your team.


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Johanna Price

Johanna Price is a writer and editor living in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @johannaprice.

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