Nowadays, everyone’s either sprinting to their next work meeting or booking the next flight out for some R&R in a tropical destination. While this work-hard-play-hard system runs well enough that your days are kept busy, it makes for a very spiritually unsatisfying life. Log in some volunteering time to fill those downtimes with meaningful work. Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering:
Volunteering in your respective professional niche can yield invaluable industry contacts as well as open up better work opportunities. This can be a good strategic move, especially for college students, as it can also lead to internship or job offers after they graduate. For instance, law students can volunteer with a local legal aid program to gain experience working with those types of cases. During the program, you can learn how to prepare pleads, mediations, and court arguments firsthand, invaluable skills that can accelerate your career trajectory.
While not all charities and non-profit organizations can afford to send their volunteers to trips out of town or overseas, you can find some well-funded organizations that will partially or completely front your traveling costs as a volunteer. Being able to travel while working on a worthwhile cause, whether it’s reforesting the Amazon or cleaning up the Great Barrier Reef, can bring new personal and professional experiences that will help you grow.
Volunteering brings you closer to others. It’s not just a tool for gaining professional connections. You can make new friends or strengthen existing relationships by volunteering with a friend or family member. Giving back to the less fortunate can also reinvigorate your mental health. Studies show that volunteerism can reduce stress and ward off depression. If nothing else, volunteering can give you a sense of higher purpose that your day-to-day work might not offer.
Although you’ll have a higher chance of being recruited as a volunteer by an organization if you already possess the skill set and knowledge needed for the job, many of these organizations will be open to teaching and training you for the role. As a result, you acquire a new set of skills and knowledge that you can apply in the future.
In a world driven by consumerism, volunteering is a nice slice of refuge to reconnect with your spiritual self. It’s also a good reset button for those who are physically and mentally exhausted from their normal routine.