People volunteer at every stage of their lives. As children, volunteers can be part of a family volunteering group and there’s no upper age limit! At each point in life there are different reasons why people choose to become a volunteer – these are the ones that come up again and again.
1. Get involved with your local community
If you’ve just moved to the area or find you don’t know many people locally, becoming a volunteer is a fantastic way to get involved in what’s going on.
2. Keep your mind active and avoid boredom
If you’re not working – whether because you’re job hunting, you’ve experienced redundancy or are retired, volunteering gives you a reason to get out and do something. It keeps your little grey cells from sleeping and ensures that you’ve got something that keeps you busy and engaged. They say ‘to be interesting, be interested’ – volunteering will ensure you always have something to talk about!
3. Increase your confidence and self-esteem
You have an immediate conversation opener with other volunteers, charity staff and the people the charity helps so it’s much easier than having to face people you don’t know and have nothing in common with. You’ll quickly find that your efforts are appreciated and that will give your confidence a boost.
4. Learn new skills
Volunteering provides opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge and learn new things. Volunteers are often invited to participate in training by their charity organisation and learn things as diverse as first aid to presentation skills.
5. Impress potential employers
If you’re still in the working community – or aim to be – having a volunteer role is something more and more employers look for. It tells them about your commitment, your attitude to giving to the community and can also demonstrate skills not obvious from other positions you’ve held.
6. Improve your health
According to Make A Difference Day Survey, ICM Research 2004:
Nearly half of all volunteers (47%) say volunteering has improved their physical health and fitness.25% of people who volunteer more than five times a year say volunteering has helped them lose weight (20% overall).22% of 18 to 24-year-olds say volunteering helps them cut down on alcohol.
Nearly a third (30%) of 18 to 24-year-old smokers say volunteering helps them smoke less.
Half of people (48%) who have volunteered for more than two years say volunteering makes them less depressed.
7. Have fun!
If you’re choosing to do something it should be fun! Enjoy your volunteer experience and make it something to look forward to, not a chore.