5 ways volunteering can benefit you and your community

Why You Should Be a Volunteer

by Melanie Newton

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Although few people would argue with the fact that volunteering is a wonderful act, most individuals believe that volunteering only benefits your community. However, any act of volunteering can actually come back to help the volunteer as well. Whether you are donating books to a local library, working pro bono with your current organization or working at a homeless shelter, you can reap the benefits of your volunteer work. If you are interested in volunteering within your community, read on to learn more about how your actions have benefits for those around you as well as for you personally.

1. It Can Be Part of Your Job

You might be surprised to learn that volunteering can actually be a part of your career, rather than a hobby outside of the workday. In fact, many businesses and corporations allow their employees to do pro bono work as part of the workday, despite the fact that it does not bring in money for the business. Speak with your boss about ways that you can include volunteering in your schedule. Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher, this can usually be arranged in your local area.

Related: How Your Family Can Make a Difference on $5 or Less

2. It Can Help You Feel Satisfied and Fulfilled

Perhaps the biggest reason that so many people volunteer is because it gives them a feeling of personal fulfillment. Each year, more than 65 million Americans volunteer within their community or state, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Simply put, Carol S. Ritter, Speaker on Nonprofit and Educational Leadership, says that we should "Take care of people, and put people before profits." When we do so, it is not uncommon to feel warm and pleased, making volunteering a positive experience for everyone involved.

3. It Can Diversify Your Resume and Portfolio

Volunteering in any capacity can be a great addition to your resume or college application. If you are a freelance worker who attracts potential clients with a portfolio, adding in some volunteer projects can help you look well-rounded and involved with your community, something that clients and potential employers really appreciate.

Related: Writing a Job Winning Resume

4. It Connects You to Like-Minded People

Volunteering is not an entirely selfless act. One of the perks of volunteering in your community is that it can help you meet people like yourself. Many volunteers become great friends with the people they work alongside at shelters, local parks, or community fundraisers. This is also an interesting place to meet potential spouses or even employers.

5. It Can Teach You Job Skills for the Future

Another reason that volunteering is ideal for job seekers is because it can help you to learn valuable skills in many different industries. After volunteering as the manager of a soup kitchen, for example, you will learn how to organize volunteers and resources much like an office administrator might.

Clearly, volunteering has many benefits for your local community. It is also a great way for individuals to meet people, learn valuable job skills, diversify their resume, and impress potential employers.

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Reviewed January 2018

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Melanie Newton is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide with a focus on online education opportunities. Several schools offer online degrees, including onlinempa.usfca.edu and www.northwestern.edu.

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