In these economic times and with unemployment over 9.0 percent, many individuals are volunteering in the hope that the value of their unpaid time and their talents will be noticed and thus, land them a paying job. In addition, with a focus on landing a job, volunteering allows you to expand your network, build relationships and perhaps, learn new skills all in an effort to land that job and/or advance your career. If your focus is to benefit both you and the organization which hopefully it is; volunteering allows you to follow your passion, renew your creativity, share your expertise and have fun. It is important to make certain that you are having fun; in my opinion, the best volunteer experience is when you‘re benefiting yourself and the organization, you are giving and receiving. Volunteering is helping meet the organization’s needs, as well as, your own; it is also, augmenting the work of the paid staff.
Volunteering can fall into four broad categories,
- Direct Service and Promotional events
- Administrative support and/or Logistical support
- Leadership, guidance and/or mentorshipThe resources available to understand what volunteering is all about and where help is needed are endless. You can go to http://www.energizeinc.com and http://www.suite101.com (search “volunteering”) to get started. The most notable and recognizable volunteer organizations are, the Peace Corps and United Way. However, there are so many opportunities in your own community that you can take advantage of.
Benefits of Volunteering
Research has shown that there is a strong relationship between volunteering and health; furthermore, research has demonstrated that the act of volunteering lowers mortality rates, increases functional ability, decreased depression, provides social support and leads to an overall better quality of life. These benefits have proven to be especially important for Seniors. Youth volunteers learn how to respect differences and how to appreciate their own families and circumstances. Given this, volunteering has its benefits at any age, make 2011 your year to start volunteering!