I’ve been volunteering since my twenties. Even if sometimes, it’s boring, frightening, exhausting, frustrating, challenging and seems not to be rewarding at first sight, it eventually pays off.
Here are in my opinion the most important reasons why you definitely consider to sign in:
1. Get more (transferable) skills: Whatever the association and the task you want to be involved in, you will learn new stuff and skills. At worst, it will be an improvement of your skills in the areas of teamwork, interpersonal communication, public speaking, time management, leadership, organisation, analysis, problem solving and creative thinking.
2. Get more friends (+ networking): You’ll meet new people, you’ll have more affinity with some of them and have the opportunity to easily get in touch. Moreover, you might find new work opportunity (meeting your futur boss which is also volunteering for example)
3. Make an impact: Indeed, even if at the end, your task wasn’t that helpful, you are willing to give your time and energy for free, just this fact is already a step toward a better humanity.
4. Get to know you better: The volunteering experience might teach you more about you, how you react with novelty, new people, etc… Also, you might learn new interests, passions or even your futur job!
5. Get out of your comfort zone: Getting involved in a new team, doing new stuff is challenging. Here is why it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.
6. Educate yourself: Yes, we all have to learn more, and that’s a (free) way to enhance your overall knowledge. You’ll particularly learn about community, government, organisations, etc…
7. It’s very healthy: Yep, it improves happiness, life satisfaction, self esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, reduces stress and risk of depression. And this is science! (Thoits and Hewitt, 2001; just check Google scholar, it’s full of research on this topic)
8. Save ressources: Indeed, you’re not getting paid directly but while you’re volunteering, you don’t spend money.
9. Make your resume looks awesome: Your futur boss will know that you’re someone dynamic and invested.
10. Give back: Sometimes, people give us so much that we feel like we owe something. That’s a way to give back the luck you got.
11. Sense of purpose: Why do you live? what is the meaning of life? Volunteering might give you an answer. Because you will give time and energy for free for something you really care about.
12. Good for society, good for people: Museums, libraries, festivals, social services organizations, those are the kind of businesses that strongly rely on volunteers. Where the government is giving up or not acting at all, volunteers meet the unfilled needs of people.
13. Have fun! Of course, you will have so much fun sometimes, that’s a part of the deal!