Community service is that “feel good” activity that many want to accomplish, but don’t always make the time for. With everyone so busy with family and work, it is sometimes tough to make volunteering a priority. Here are several reasons why volunteering is more than just an opportunity to feel good about yourself and is actually a valuable use of your time.
Community Service Betters Your Community
This is the most obvious reason. Why not take the time to make the community that you live in better? Simply by volunteering a few hours a month, you can have a huge impact with just a small investment of your time. Volunteer activities can include events such as park and street cleanups, local school projects, serving food at your local food pantry, helping with youth activities, and more. Volunteering in these activities will have high returns where it matters most to you and your family.
Volunteering Makes You an Example
Volunteering not only makes an impact on the greater community, but it impacts your family and friends directly. If you have children, this is a great teaching and mentoring experience for them. If you can, do your best to find volunteer opportunities that you can bring your kids to, where they too can volunteer and help. This will teach them that giving back is not only the right thing to do, but helping others and the environment is investing in their future. It’s also a nice opportunity to create group volunteer events, which you and your friends can participate in to make an even bigger impact. With social media being so ubiquitous these days, group volunteering with friends can spread like wildfire across networks, which will create a positive word of mouth on the volunteer experience and organization for you and your friends.
Participate in Workplace Volunteering
Many companies offer some sort of workplace volunteer program, which allows you to volunteer a certain amount of hours per month that are approved during work hours. Why not use this time to benefit the community? It’s free time that you are already paid for, so take advantage and invite family members and friends to partake in group activities during work hours to get the most out of it. If your company does not have a workplace volunteer program, make sure to ask your management about it to help get one started!
Enhance Your Skills and Gain More Experience
This is one benefit that many don’t realize, but is maybe one of the most important reasons to volunteer. You may have seen terms about volunteering such as “micro-volunteering” or “skills based volunteering.” These are new concepts that are proving to be the most valuable to volunteers and organizations. Micro-volunteering or skills based volunteering means taking the skills you possess (often through your work experience) and applying it to a volunteer opportunity in small increments of time.
For example, many nonprofits do not have in-house web designers. If you are a web designer, your skills are in high demand. Taking time to volunteer every couple of weeks for a few hours and applying your design skills to an organization in need will have a huge impact for only a small commitment of your time. Not only will the organization benefit from it, but you will also gain additional experience by honing your skills. For freelance web designers, this is a great opportunity to do some pro-bono work that could potentially lead to a long-term contract with the organization once they see how well you do volunteering.
It’s Easy to Get Started
You can begin by finding local volunteer activities in your area by going to FrontStream’s Volunteer Solutions website and entering in your zip code to find opportunities near you. It’s fast and easy to get started making an impact on the community and the people around you.
Article written by: David Roose