Five reasons to volunteer
Got some spare time? Here are some benefits of giving it to other people…
Spending some time volunteering can be good for you, and good for those around you. It can open doors to other opportunities, but also mental doors, helping you see things in a different way and perhaps getting a glimpse of a little part of the world you never knew about. If you’ve never considered it before, here are just five reasons to make time for volunteering:
- Support a cause you’re passionate about
It could be anything. Maybe you’re passionate about the environment and want to help clean up at your nearest beach; or you might want to spruce up your local park or canal. On the other hand, your life (or the life of someone you know) might have been affected by an illness, so you might want to volunteer with an organisation fighting that illness. There are lots of options.
- Get some shiny CV points
This isn’t the only reason to volunteer, but there’s no doubt that making the time to give something back to your community, as well as the skills you can learn from volunteering, can impress employers. It looks good on an application and is also something to talk about in interviews – and it also says something about the kind of person you are.
- Develop new skills
Volunteering is a great way to try new things. That might be working outside, or helping elderly people, or working in a charity shop. Whatever you do, there’s the chance to grow as a person: you’ll improve your communication skills and confidence, perhaps learn practical skills (operating a till in a charity shop, for example, or using tools working in a community garden) and also find out more about other people – and yourself.
- Meet people and make friends
As a volunteer you’re likely to be surrounded by folks who care about many of the same things that you do. It’s a great opportunity to encounter people of all ages and backgrounds, see their perspective on the world, and hopefully make some new friends along the way. Plus, depending on what you do, you could get fit, make contacts to help with your career, and – let’s be honest – feel good about doing good.
- Make a difference
This is probably the main reason to volunteer. Many charities and organisations simply couldn’t function without their volunteers, so the simple act of giving them your time means they can continue their work. You could be part of the ongoing quest to cure cancer, tackle homelessness, make your community a cleaner, greener place…in other words, leaving the world a little bit better than it was when you arrived.
National Citizen Service
If you’re 15-17 years old, you might be interested in National Citizen Service. Sure, it sounds like something from a sci-fi novel where the army rules the world, but it’s actually a whole programme of events (taken over the summer holiday) including adventure trips, volunteering and life skills training that could really transform your life. Visit ncsyes.co.uk for more info.