In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, the act of volunteering may seem like a thing of the past. Nowadays, it is easy to believe liking a Facebook page or signing an online petition is a good way to stay involved with your favorite causes. While these are beneficial approaches, volunteering remains a necessary staple for local organizations. In recent years, the number of Americans volunteering in their communities has declined. Thus, it is increasingly important to know taking the time out of your schedule to serve others can create positive change in both your community and yourself.
Why Volunteer for a Nonprofit?
Volunteering in America is reported to have an economic value of more than $184 billion and Americans tend to devote only about fifty hours out of their year to volunteering. Just spending one or two hours a week volunteering creates an enormous impact on our communities. Volunteering provides a sense of belonging and satisfaction, creates lifelong bonds, and can help you move forward in your career. Here’s a list of just four great reasons that you should be volunteering in your community!
Providing Intrinsic Value to The Community Around You
Perhaps the most important reason to volunteer is the intrinsic value it provides to communities and individuals who benefit from the actions of volunteers. The value of a volunteer is about $25 per hour. By gaining access to these skills and talents for free, nonprofits are able to use the cost savings for much needed supplies and resources. Most nonprofit organizations operate solely on funds brought in through donations. They are also minimally staffed so community involvement is critical in order for them to remain financially viable. In essence, volunteers are a crucial necessity for their survival. The good that is put back into the community through volunteering is proven to make the volunteers themselves stronger. Volunteering creates a close-knit community full of people who take care of and watch out for each other. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?
Gaining From the Personal Benefits of Volunteering
While volunteering benefits those within your community, it can also serve you. Aside from being the right thing to do, providing for others can bring a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. In fact,
- Over 90% of volunteers polled have agreed that volunteering improved their overall mood and health.
- A majority of volunteers have said serving others has helped them reduce their stress levels and curbed mental health issues.
- People who suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and post traumatic stress have experienced significant improvement in dealing with mental issues after volunteering.
- Volunteering has been proven to boost your immune system, improving both physical and emotional health.
Creating Important Lifelong Connections When You Volunteer
Volunteering allows us the opportunity to connect with each other and form strong bonds within our communities. It is an excellent option for people who are just getting to know their neighbors, are newcomers to a town or city, or just looking to make new friends. By sharing your skills and energy, you become an indispensable asset. Helping those who are in need with no expectations of a physical reward will inevitably create stronger bonds between you and those you are serving. In addition, the act of coming together and working towards a common goal can create lasting relationships between you and your community members. Humans tend to bond over common interests, and many of your fellow volunteers are likely there for the same reason as you. This creates an immediate connection between you and the other volunteers.
Giving Your Career a Boost by Volunteering
Volunteering not only benefits you emotionally and socially, it can also benefit your future.. In fact, many high schools make volunteering a mandatory requirement to help foster a sense of community and give students an opportunity to gain new work skills. High school isn’t the only place that volunteering can give you a career boost.
Over 42% of employees who volunteer began doing so after being asked to by their employers. Volunteering is a proven way to learn new skills that can help strengthen your resume and is a helpful form of networking. Nearly half (49%) of all volunteers polled believe that volunteering has benefited their careers and job searches. Studies have shown that volunteers have a higher likelihood (27%) of receiving job offers than non volunteers. Many prospective employers actively look for volunteer experience in their candidates. Putting your volunteer work on your resume could give you the edge you might need while job hunting.
Volunteering can also fill in some of the gaps for your career. It has been shown that flaws in a candidate’s resume are more likely to be overlooked when the candidate includes volunteer work and 60% of hiring managers consider volunteering to be a strong factor in their choice of hire. Most potential employers believe volunteering creates and improves a person’s leadership skills. Taking the initiative to volunteer in your community shows employers that you have the strong work ethic and can-do attitude they are looking for. While benefiting your community and your health, volunteering could also help you gain financially in the long run.
Volunteering in the Pacific Northwest
Now that you know four good reasons to volunteer both for your community and your own health and happiness, all that’s left to do is to get out there and start volunteering! Statistics show that most volunteers will only devote their time to one or two organizations. This makes sense as volunteering requires a devotion of time and energy. Since our days are full of work and personal obligations, we only have so much time to give. It is important to choose how and where you volunteer wisely. There are countless options for those looking to help their communities.
If you’re unsure of how to start looking, there are several resources to help guide you. Many volunteers find their passion by using online volunteer outreach programs, built specifically to help you match your volunteer goals to the correct organizations, such as VolunteerMatch, Idealist, or the National and Community Service. These sites will show you nonprofits to volunteer at based on your passion. If your passion lies with helping children in the Inland Northwest, then the Morning Star Foundation in Spokane, WA has plenty of volunteer opportunities for you!
Why You Should Volunteer at the Morning Star Foundation
The Morning Star Foundation is committed to improving the lives and opportunities of the community’s children. They stand behind their mission statement, “Giving so youth can succeed!” in several ways. The organization serves their community through various fundraisers and events centered around improving the lives of at-risk kids. Whether it be helping to provide warm clothing, school supplies, or just supporting the services that Morning Star Boys’ Ranch provides, the Foundation is dedicated to the children of Spokane and the Pacific Northwest . You can help Morning Star in their efforts by volunteering to support their operations, providing a helping hand at fundraising events, and through their community outreach programs.
You can find Morning Star on all of the sites listed above: VolunteerMatch, Idealist, and National and Community Service. You can also register to volunteer directly with Morning Star using their Enrollment Volunteer Application after reviewing their Volunteer Policies. So, what are you waiting for? There is no downside to volunteering and the benefits are practically endless. Get out there and start helping your community and yourself!