“Volunesia: that moment when you forget you’re volunteering to change lives because it’s changing yours.” – Anonymous
Have you found an organization you love volunteering at to the point that it no longer feels like work? How often have you set out to help someone else just to realize that you are also benefiting? Volunteering not only affects those you serve; doing so can also create beneficial outcomes for those who volunteer. In the content below, we explore ten benefits of volunteering your time regularly.
Volunteering as Part of God’s Design
Did you know that God reveals to us in the Bible that helping others is part of His design? Even scientific evidence has now caught up to confirm it!
God’s Word is filled with references of showing love, generosity, and sharing our gifts.
- “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”– Galatians 6:10
- “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18
- “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:6-8
The Lord even references the benefits of volunteering.
- “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25
- “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” – Hebrews 6:10
- “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
As seen in the examples above, we can confidently declare that God’s heart is for serving others, and He designed us to have that same fervor. Additionally, we know He exhibits unfathomable and unconditional love for us. Thus, it comes as no surprise that science also reveals the tremendous benefits to volunteering.
10 Benefits of Volunteering Your Time Regularly
#1. Volunteering Builds Connections
One of the best ways to build community and connection to others is by working towards a common goal together. Volunteering is a great way to develop new friendships with people who share similar interests. Additionally, by volunteering your time regularly to the same organization, you can develop friendships with those you serve.
#2. Volunteering Combats Loneliness
Loneliness is an epidemic in America. Did you know that twenty percent of American adults report rarely feeling close to another person and almost fifty percent feel isolated and alone? Volunteering is an opportunity to build authentic connections with others and establish a regular community.
#3. Volunteering Combats Depression
Working together with other volunteers decreases loneliness and increases connection to others. Both of those things fight against depression.
#4. Volunteering Increases Happiness
God designed us to give to others and help those in need. Likewise, it makes sense when research reveals positive physiological changes when we volunteer. When volunteering, your body releases “feel-good” chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, resulting in an elevated mood.
#5. Volunteering Gives You a Sense of Purpose
We wither when we neglect fulfilling our purpose. 96% of volunteers report that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose. This is particularly valuable for those in retirement of recovering from the death of a spouse, family member, or other loved one.
#6. Volunteering Improves Your Physical Health
Some of the healthiest people in America are those who volunteer 100 hours each year. Volunteers tend to take better care of themselves and are physically more active, have less sickness, and even live longer. Research also reveals that older volunteers can reduce their mortality rate by 24 percent!
#7. Volunteering Increases Self-Confidence
Volunteers often feel a sense of accomplishment when they help others. As a result, this helps allow them to view themselves in a positive light.
#8. Volunteering Improves Your Overall Sense of Well-Being
Volunteers report feeling improved mentally and physically after spending time volunteering with others.
Research supports Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center, as she states: “Doing an act of kindness produces the single most reliable increase in well-being [for the doer] of any exercise we’ve tested.”
#9. Volunteering Can Advance Your Career
Volunteers make new connections, which can lead to career advancement. Volunteering also helps people try out new career fields.
For example, someone interested in a career in the helping professions may consider volunteering at a non-profit organization or clinic. Volunteering also provides training opportunities to learn a multitude of new skills to bring into the marketplace.
#10. Volunteering is Fun
Helping others while making new friends and improving your overall well-being is simply fun! It gives you something enjoyable to look forward to each week.
The Urgent Need for Volunteers
More than 1 in 4 adults in America regularly volunteer in their communities, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Additionally, almost eight billion hours are volunteered by 65 million Americans annually.
Although giving to our communities is part of our culture, we need more to cater to the growing community needs. Experts agree that volunteering approximately 100 hours per year, or two to three hours per week, provides the most benefits for both you and the cause you are helping!
Volunteering: Choosing the Right Opportunity for You
When considering where to volunteer your time regularly, it is important to match your gifting with the needs of an organization. Below are some questions for you to reflect on:
- What are your interests and passions?
- What are your most prominent spiritual gifts and talents?
- Do you have any limitations physically, mentally, etc.?
- Do you understand the commitment level of volunteering?
- How many hours do you have available to devote to volunteering weekly?
- Do you enjoy working with a team or on your own?
- Do you enjoy working with people, or do you prefer administrative roles?
- Does the organization allow you to “shadow?”
- Does the organization offer training, and is there a cost for training?
By carefully considering the questions above, you will have an easier time narrowing down the type of organization you can best volunteer your time and energy towards.
Building a Caring Network
Caring Network is a pro-life organization in the western suburbs of Chicago that has been serving women facing unexpected pregnancy since 1981. Through the partnership of our volunteers and faithful supporters, we recently opened a sixth pregnancy center, equipped to offer free services and compassionate support to women in need. Find out how to begin your volunteering your time at Caring Network today!
Caring Network relies on volunteers like you to further our mission and vision in preventing unplanned pregnancies, and providing emotional support, spiritual counsel, and practical help to anyone dealing with the effects of an unplanned pregnancy. When you share your time and other resources with Caring Network, you are making a powerful difference. Take a look at our volunteer opportunities and join us in our mission.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25