The Joy of Volunteering

Posted on Jan 18

Nonprofits like PCC depend heavily on volunteers. Without volunteers, many of the services provided would not be possible. Volunteers don’t just benefit nonprofits, however. Individuals who invest their own time and energy also benefit. There is a sense of personal pride that comes when you give back to your own community and invest time in helping others. Here are several reasons that volunteering can be personally rewarding.

A Person Can Meet New People When They Volunteer
Are you lonely? Do you want to be more engaged in your community? Volunteering brings people together. Volunteers connect with others in their own community and often cultivate new relationships with their fellow volunteers. Socializing with others provides a pivotal role in sustaining emotional well-being. Not only does it feel good to give back to others through volunteer work, but it is also a great way to bring people in your own life that can encourage you when you go through a difficult time or need a little extra support. Volunteers often make new friendships and relationships which increase one’s personal network of support.

Volunteering Can Make a Person Happier
Research points to the fact that volunteering can actually make you happier. Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota says, “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. All of these things go up as their feeling of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health even their longevity.” The London School of Economics also examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness and found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Volunteering generally provides a feeling of accomplishment and can be a real mood booster.

A Person Learns New Things When They Volunteer
Volunteering provides opportunities to learn something new. Perhaps it is a task that requires you to learn a new skill or it is a project that pushes you to try something outside of your comfort zone. Volunteering provides opportunities to develop yourself both personally and professionally and can help develop leadership skills, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. These are skills that can even make you more competitive in the job market.

Volunteering Can Make a Person Healthier
Volunteering regularly can also be healthy for you. People often think of exercise and eating a balanced diet as ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but regular volunteer work can also lead to health benefits both physically and emotionally. The National & Community Service report noted that there is a strong link between health and volunteer service. “This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: "those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression.” A study released by John Hopkins University in 2009 also found that volunteering regularly also increased your brain function.

Becoming a volunteer can be rewarding and life changing. If you are ready to make new friends, boost your self-esteem, and build marketable job skills, perhaps consider volunteering. Not only can you change your own life, but you can change the life of others too. ​