People volunteer for all kinds of reasons. Many people volunteer because they want to make a difference or help the less fortunate. And it’s easy to see how spending your time lending a helping hand and supporting a good cause positively impacts the community. But it turns out, volunteering may benefit you just as much.
Over the past 15 years, research has demonstrated the power of volunteering. Volunteering has positive impacts for your overall health and well-being; people who volunteer regularly have improved cognitive function, better physical health, live longer, and have lower rates of depression. A Harvard Health paper noted that people who volunteer weekly benefit from what they call the “happiness effect” and report happiness levels comparable to a life-changing wage increase. And, the positive benefits don’t end there!
There are professional benefits too. Volunteering provides valuable opportunities to build your communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills. According to this Deloitte report, all this experience pays off: People who volunteer are twice as likely to be “very satisfied” with their career progression. In fact, 92% of HR executives agree that contributing to a nonprofit can improve leadership skills. More and more, businesses are also reporting positive impacts of community engagement. Young professionals who volunteer through their company are more likely to be proud, loyal, and content with their place of work.
Volunteering is a win-win. Not only is it good for the community, it’s incredibly special to be able to take some time out of your regular schedule to contribute to something bigger than yourself. As a volunteer, you’re spending time building social connections, living your values, practicing new skills, and benefiting yourself and your community. Doing something good for others is good for you in just about every way possible!
Are you ready to see these benefits in your life? Sign up to volunteer for MLK Day of Service or check out United Way for Greater Austin’s website to see a list of upcoming volunteer projects in the community.
Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez, Corporate Volunteer Coordinator