Does Volunteering Makes A Difference?
Posted on September 9, 2019
Many of us want to give back to society in some way. Volunteering is one way of doing it, but we may wonder does volunteering make a difference?
This can be answered by Margret Mead’s quote which says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Of course, volunteering does not bring any remuneration, but it relates to the human need of helping others and advocating social causes. The purpose of volunteering is for an individual to give his time for a greater good.
Volunteering for a cause that you feel strongly about not only helps in resolving the issue but it makes a huge difference to the volunteer. It gives him a sense of deep satisfaction. Data reveals that 77 million Americans volunteered for a cause in 2018!
Why do people volunteer?
There are many reasons to volunteer:
Most people volunteer to give back to society and do their part to make a better world.
A survey revealed that 66% of respondents volunteer to help the community while 83% volunteer to contribute to a cause they care about.
However, volunteering offers personal benefits to the volunteer as well. The reason for volunteering depends on the individual. An individual could volunteer for his personal gains.
Volunteering allows socializing
Many volunteers enjoy working for a cause in the company of like-minded people. It has been found that people who look for socializing opportunities while volunteering are found to give more of their time volunteering. Volunteers looking to socialize are likely to be associated with more than one cause. Although these volunteers like to work in a group, their commitment to the cause cannot be undermined.
Social Benefits of Volunteering
When you volunteer, you build a social group. This offers multiple benefits. You can develop your social skills. You get an opportunity to network. People with a social group are less likely to suffer premature death and have lower health risks. Social groups provide individuals physical and emotional support at the time of need.
Volunteering offers an opportunity to develop skills
Many volunteers volunteer to build their skills and network. Such volunteers are likely to spend more hours in volunteering.
When young people volunteer to develop skills, it boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Volunteering helps keep depression at bay
Volunteering is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Besides, by volunteering the individual feels good about himself. These positive reinforcements ward off the symptoms of depression.
Volunteering Builds Communities
Participating in volunteering activities helps bring individuals who are passionate about a cause together, thereby building a community.
Volunteering Hours Look good on the CV
In most educational institutions, volunteer hours are a part of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to work as volunteers to create awareness in them about various causes. This will help them develop as individuals who are committed to issues affecting the world.
These volunteer hours in the CV of students help them in getting admissions into colleges. Employers also give preference to job-seekers who have clocked in volunteer hours.
If all these reasons give the impression that volunteering only helps the volunteer, let me tell you volunteering makes a difference to the community as a whole.
How does volunteering help the community?
Social participation through volunteering is an important ingredient for a strong, healthy, and secure community.
Volunteering helps build stronger communities. Volunteers build relationships with other volunteers and the people they help. These groups may transcend ethnicity, religion, and geographical boundaries which otherwise divide communities.
Volunteers work in groups towards causes such as poverty, healthcare, education, environmental issues, and many more. They make a significant contribution to the well being of people and their communities.
Increased community participation with more members participating in volunteer groups enhances community health.
Volunteer groups help in developing bonds in the community which reflects as group membership, civic participation, social networks, and increased levels of trust.
Giving back to the community is not a difficult task.
Here are some volunteering ideas:
Volunteer at a Hospital
By volunteering in a hospital, you provide support to the hospital, patient, patients’ caretakers, etc. Volunteer work in a hospital could be pushing a wheelchair, helping with food service, or sitting with the patient or children, etc.
Become a Tutor
You can help a student with his academics. Tutoring not limited to just academics, you can tutor adults on how to use the internet and to be tech-savvy.
You can teach any other skill you may possess such as knitting, sewing, cooking, etc. These skills are needed by people of all ages.
Volunteer at an Old-Age Home
Old People are generally abandoned and sent to old-age homes where they lead lonely lives.
You can visit them and light up their lives. Spend time with old people, talk to them because they need someone to talk to more than anything else.
Spending an hour or two with them can make a huge difference while benefiting you. You will not only feel good spending time with them but when you hear about their life’s journey, you will get some useful insights.
Organize a Garage Sale
Ask people in your neighborhood and social circle to donate articles that they are not using for a garage sale. Donate the money generated through the sale to a charity.
America has its share of unemployed and homeless people. Your group of volunteers can fix a meal for such people. This will give a sense of satisfaction to the volunteers.
These are some simple ways that you can volunteer to make a huge difference.
A study by Harvard Business School concluded that “happy people give and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop.
Although giving can be in the form of cash donations, but when you give your time, efforts, and energy, you get instant gratification. It gives you a good feeling while bringing a smile on the lips of the recipient.
We can, therefore, conclude that volunteering does make a difference to the volunteer and the person who is receiving the volunteer services.