What are the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteering can give you far more than experience on your CV
If you are thinking about volunteering there are plenty of reasons to do so. The first reasons that might come to mind are being able to give back to our local community, meeting new people and learning new skills to put on our cv. The benefits that come from volunteering can go far beyond what we first expect. Through volunteering we can help to reduce our stress, increase our social and relationship skills and give ourselves a new perspective on life. Click here to read more about SpunOut.ie contributor’s experiences of volunteering.
The benefits you can get from volunteering
Volunteering can give us the opportunity to contribute something positive to our local community, country or further afield depending on where we decide to volunteer. It can be hard to measure just how much of an impact volunteering with a charity can have both on the organisation and the people that we work with. Regardless of where or who we volunteer with our contribution can make a real difference to the environment, families or individuals. If you are looking for some inspiration to volunteer you can read about the experiences of some of our SpunOut.ie contributors who have volunteered with Barretstown, Suas and NiteLine.
Meeting new people
When we decide to volunteer we open ourselves up to the opportunity of meeting new people outside of our normal comfort zone and friendship group. Through volunteering people of different ages and with different interest can come together to work towards a shared goal. Volunteering allows us to meet people with different lived experiences and to learn and grow from one another. You may also meet people who you choose to work with in the future on further volunteer or personal projects.
Learning new skills
Volunteering allows us to learn more practical skills than we can in a classroom setting. There are so many different charities to choose to volunteer with, each with its own goals and methods of achieving them. The skills that can be gained go beyond the obvious ones that we would think of to begin with. For instance by deciding to volunteer with a Foróige youth group you could gain experience working with young people but also develop organisational skills, public speaking and time management. Volunteering can help to increase our compassion and empathy by working with others.
Help you reduce stress
Volunteering can be a great way to help to reduce stress. Taking some time out of our day to focus on others can help to clear the head and put worries in perspective. Interacting with people and giving back to society can help us to feel happier in ourselves through the good that we do. Depending on which charity you choose to work with, volunteering can also be a great way to stay active. Simple changes in lifestyle such as walking more can help to boost our mood and energy levels and this can come hand in hand with volunteering.
Boost your CV
You may have heard it said in school and college that volunteering looks great on your CV and it is true. The experiences and skills that can be gained while volunteering can put us on a career path that we may not have considered when choosing our subjects for school or college. Potential employers can learn more about us through our extracurricular activities such as your hobbies or volunteer work on our CV. Having experience as a volunteer can show a potential employer the range of skills which you have outside of our academic learning.
Explore your interests
When choosing subjects in school or college it can often be difficult to narrow down our interest into two or three areas. By volunteering we can choose to explore our interests and passions in a hands on a practical way. Volunteering can help to give a clearer idea of the field we would like to work in in the future, or help decide where our passions lie outside of the workplace.
Increase your social and relationship skills
As volunteers we can interact with a diverse range of people in a variety of situations. Working with people who are older than you or from different backgrounds can help to improve your social skills as you learn to adapt to the needs of others and to create a positive working environment.
Not all the experiences that we will have as a volunteer will be positive, but even if we experience people or situations that are difficult we will learn from them. When we choose to volunteer we challenge ourselves to meet the standards and needs of charities and the people that use their services. Volunteering can be an emotional experience as we commit ourselves to a cause that we are passionate about, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding.
Gives you a new perspective on life
Many of our contributors at SpunOut.ie have written articles about their personal experience of volunteering. They talk about the new perspective which volunteering gave them on life and how it helped them to grow as a person. To read more about the experiences of our contributors when they have volunteered click here.