If somebody told you that there was an activity which would make you feel happier, healthier, boost your career and make a difference to society in as little as an hour a week, would you do it?
Well the good news is, there is!
It’s called volunteering!
Millions of people formally volunteered at least once a month in 2015/16 (NCVO) and if you weren’t one of them (three in four of us weren’t), then we hope that the following benefits might persuade you to give it go. By volunteering you will…
1. Make a difference
It’s not hard to imagine how volunteering can help make a difference. But, if you’re concerned that you only have an hour or two a week to give and that it’s not worth giving, then think again. Collectively, volunteers make a huge difference to people, communities and society in general.
Over 21 million people volunteered in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £24bn to the UK economy.
Also, by volunteering, individuals are able to play an active role in their society and by mixing with people from different cultural and social backgrounds it helps break down social barriers. Therefore, it is safe to say that volunteering has a huge impact on people, communities and positive social change. Not only that, but every contribution of time, regardless of amount, counts!
2. Improve your health and well being
There are few people that can claim they feel 100% happy and healthy all the time. In fact, a survey carried out by The Big Lunch, revealed that more than 66% of British adults are lonely to some extent or another. Furthermore, it has been discovered that suffering from loneliness and social isolation has a negative impact on physical health. Research by Holt-Lunstad, 2015 shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.
But how can volunteering help, you wonder…
Results of a survey by United Healthcare, featured in a blog post by Volunteermatch.org show that:
More than 68% of those who volunteered in the past year report that volunteering made them feel physically healthier.
29% of volunteers who suffer from a chronic condition say that volunteering has helped them manage their chronic illness.
89% of volunteers agree that volunteering improved their sense of well-being.
73% of volunteers feel that volunteering lowered their stress levels.
92% of volunteers agree that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life.
Those statistics speak for themselves and the NHS also agrees that volunteering brings many health benefits, including improved quality of life, improved ability to cope with ill health and improved self-esteem.
3. Boost your career and gain experience
Whether you’re a student, a person with a long career or someone in between, there are plenty of good reasons why volunteering can be beneficial to you:
Your CV looks better.
Meet new people and expand your network.
Clarify your career goals. .
It can help if you want to make a career change by trying out work in an industry that interests you before committing to changing jobs.
Find, develop and refine new skills.
Increase your confidence.
The results are clear: Volunteering leads to an expanded network, increased knowledge, improved skills and increased conviction of what you want to do. They all help you to present as a more impressive and well-rounded candidate. And, strolling into an interview feeling qualified and competent? Well, it can’t help but boost your confidence too!
If, after reading this, you feel inspired to give volunteering a try but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve provided links to some of our partnering charities’ websites which contain details about volunteering opportunities that they offer. Just click on their image to find out more.
If you still don’t think that volunteering is for you, there’s another way to support charity. Our Gone for Good App makes giving to charity easy and it won’t cost you a penny or take up much of your time!
Visit our homepage where a short video will tell you more or go to the Google Play store or the Apple iTunes store and search for ‘gone for good’.