Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Personal Benefits of Volunteering Can Be Hard to Explain

I just came back from flipping pancakes at a preschool where my husband teaches 3- and 4-year olds. It only took an hour out of my workday and sure, having me there helped snack time flow a little better but somehow the personal benefits of volunteering today are hard to put my finger on.

Making pancakes at a preschool may not be the most important volunteer work one can do, and I'm pretty sure I got more out of it than the school did because I had so much darn fun! It definitely added a little umph! to my otherwise ordinary workday. As I sit here typing, I feel happy, energized, and, dare I say... younger. As a result, I have a feeling I'm going to be quite productive at my work for several hours to come.

This experience made me think: Millions of people volunteer everyday. We know they're not doing it for the money. So...
What are the personal benefits of volunteering?

Here's what I've heard some people say:
  • I'm learning new skills to enhance my job search.
  • My volunteer work is filling a gap in employment on my resume.
  • I'm meeting people to add to my personal and professional networks.
  • It makes me feel good to help out in the world.
  • It helps me fight depression while I'm unemployed.
  • It energizes me to be part of a cause.
  • I get a different perspective on life from the people I serve at the organization.
  • I like working with other volunteers -- they're my kind of people.
  • I trust and want to support not-for-profit organizations.
  • Volunteering brings out my best qualities.
What's behind the volunteer work you do? Why do you do it? And how does it benefit you?

Other posts that are relevant to volunteering:
Value Added: Diversity in the Workplace... And On Your Resume
Unemployed? 4 Things to Do Right Away
When NOT to List Volunteerism on Resume
10 Years of Volunteering on a Resume

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