Why volunteer?

Volunteering takes you on an exciting journey – it helps you to grow and develop and also improves your chances of getting a job. You will be part of a good cause, meet new people and help others. You can make the world that much better…

So, why should you make the effort?

By volunteering you may become more a part of your community, learn more about others and gain a whole new perspective on life. You could be in a position to help someone – someone whose life will be better because of your generosity. This will also give you a greater feeling of self-worth.

Before you decide where to volunteer – think carefully about what you want to get from the experience. Which charity messages affect you most? Which causes or issues do you want to be involved with or learn more about? What are you going to enjoy most and what do you already have the skills to do?

Volunteering has a big impact upon improving our quality of life and overall mental wellbeing. Here’s just a small selection of the benefits it brings:

1. Helping others – It’s the most unselfish of reasons and may well be the one you’ll get the most immediate reward from. This could be helping someone who is ill or has a disability.

2. Enjoyment – As well as feeling great for helping out and making a difference, if you have a positive attitude, you’re likely to really enjoy volunteering. Pick something you want to have a go at and throw yourself into it – you’ll have fun and gain confidence too.

3. Connecting with others – Volunteering helps you to connect with other ‘like-minded’ people. It’s a great way to make friends, especially if you’ve moved to a new area, and build lasting friendships.

4. Keeping active – Volunteering is a great way to get motivated. It will get you out the house, take you outside of your usual routine and sometimes even out of the country.

5. Becoming more self-aware – Your volunteering activity will help you to appreciate your life and the world around you.

6. Developing new skills – Your volunteer experience gives you the chance to learn new skills, some which you might not have otherwise had the chance to try. It is definitely something to bring up at interview as it will only impress.

You can gain as much from volunteering as from paid employment, though the experiences will be different. Volunteering proves a lot of things to potential employers and is an ideal way to fill your time and your CV all at once.

Many volunteer roles either require specific skills or can help you to develop them – for example, fundraising, event organising, accountancy/treasurer roles etc. Volunteering to do one of these activities can give you valuable experience.

Whatever you do, plan and prepare well, stay safe, enjoy yourself and don’t forget to add your experience to your CV.