Volunteerism: Why it Matters

Each of us has our reasons for volunteering.  Today I’ll explore some of those reasons and why volunteering is not only good for the community, but it can also benefit you – and not just for job hunting purposes.

We volunteer primarily because we derive a level of satisfaction in helping those in need.  We want to contribute to the community’s good, whether it be in a hands-on role, serving in a leadership capacity, or perhaps some combination of both.

In my role with Goodwill’s Professional Center I often encounter frustrated job seekers.  They’re frustrated, naturally in large part, because they’re out of a job… but they’re also frustrated in that they feel their work doesn’t do much to impact the lives of others.

As a result, they’re frequently open to a career change – perhaps to a non-profit like Goodwill.

In most cases your compensation at a non-profit won’t equate to what you’d earn in the for-profit world.  If the money isn’t workable for you or you’re finding it a real challenge to successfully transition to a non-profit career, consider volunteerism.  That will allow you to keep your earning power, while also giving you that opportunity to satisfy your desire for helping others.

Some of us have barriers to certain volunteer opportunities.  These barriers could include disabilities, criminal background, or the fact your work keeps you on the road a great deal of the time.  Perhaps consider donating money to your favorite charity.  Doing so may not give you that intrinsic sense of fulfillment that spending your time would, but at least you’ll know you’re doing what you can.

In a perfect world you’re volunteering for the reasons I’ve already stated.  But let’s face it, volunteering is also a great way to get noticed by like-minded folks.  So if you’re a job hunter, get involved with organizations.  In addition to non-profits, consider giving time to professional, civic, faith-based, or other organizations.

By volunteering, you’ll get acquainted with others in a non-interview, non-stressful setting.  Ideally, look to volunteer in a capacity where you can leverage your employment skills.  For example, if you’re a technology wiz, consider assisting with an organization’s computers.  Good with accounting?  Consider helping with finances.

When you think about it, volunteering isn’t just a win-win situation.  It’s a win-win-win.  You’re benefitting the organization, which in turn has a greater ability to impact the community.  You, the volunteer, feel good about helping others… not to mention the networking contacts and friendships you’ll make along the way.  And oh, by the way, it’s fun!

It’s a big world out there with lots of needs to be addressed.  What could YOU do to help make your community better, even if only in some small way?  Give it a try.  Good luck!