Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your spare time, which is equally true of the benefits for yourself as it is for the good you’re doing for others.
And yes, it’s completely OK to ask “what’s in it for me?” Volunteering can be a mutually beneficial experience, after all.
Whether you’re just starting life in the workforce, need a morale boost midway through your professional pursuits, or are looking for ways to streamline and expand a well-established career, here are 7 reasons volunteering is perfect for you:
It’s a Great Networking Opportunity
Young professionals are always looking for more ways to network. The key to successful networking, of course, is quality over quantity, and volunteering puts you in contact with like-minded people whose priorities align with your own. The chance of developing beneficial professional connections this way is significantly higher than roaming a room of people with wildly varying interests.
You Climb the Ladder Faster
Sometimes no matter how much effort you put into your job, there’s a very specific structure that dictates how quickly you can climb the ranks to a position of power. Volunteers who display a strong commitment to the organizations they’re donating their time to are often rewarded with very valuable roles in a much faster timeframe, which allows them to learn and exercise skills they otherwise wouldn’t be able to at their paid job. These skills – management, recruiting, marketing, financial, sales – are all transferrable to your career, which, in turn, will allow you to climb that ladder faster as well.
It Allows You to Explore a New Industry
As counterpoint to our first reason to volunteer, it also allows you to develop a network and skills in an industry that’s very different than the one you work in. This is especially appealing for those who aren’t completely satisfied in their field or can’t otherwise find the time to pursue other avenues their passionate about.
It Can Boost Your Confidence
This point is especially true if you’re currently in a professional “transitional” period or working a menial job just to pay the bills for the time being. Feeling engaged and productive in a reputable volunteer organization offers a sense of accomplishment that lifts your morale and inspires you to aim higher in your professional pursuits moving forward.
You See Alternative Methods and Systems of Work
When you have a front row seat to the ins and outs of another organization, you’re able to get a well-rounded perspective of what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t work at your workplace. This is especially helpful for those with decision-making roles at their job who can apply what they observe to make their company more efficient.
It Enhances Your Social Life
It’s easy for career-first young professionals to abandon their social lives in the pursuit of work ambitions. Volunteering offers a great opportunity to still focus on one’s professional personal development while joining a social circle beyond your colleagues at work. And we all know having a healthy social life is part of a necessary ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. The social appeal of volunteering is especially strong for those who’ve recently moved to a new city for work.
Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged about your work if you feel like it doesn’t yield a deeper impact on society. For all the reasons that volunteering is beneficial to oneself, it’s important to remember that committing your time to a cause you care about helps others first and foremost. That in itself is a very fulfilling endeavour, which often can’t be achieved at the office.