The warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from volunteering for a good cause is familiar to all volunteers, but the positive impact goes much further. In fact, there are some unexpected personal benefits for volunteering in non-profits, including these three listed below.

Increases sense of community and connection with others

Volunteering has a way of bringing the community together. Whether working in a small or large group, volunteering is proven to deepen relationships with others. In an era where 45 percent of US adults admit to feeling isolated and lonely, developing this sense of community is an important benefit of volunteering.

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Other ways volunteering boosts connections with others include:

  • Improves social connections, especially for those recently retired
  • Provides a sense of purpose
  • Provides valuable team-building skills for families and coworkers

Improves mental and physical health

By combining physical activity with feel-good sense of purpose, volunteering is a surprisingly effective boost to physical health. Studies indicate that volunteering can reduce the chances of developing dementia in later age, and can even increase longevity.

Volunteering can help mental and physical health in other ways too:

  • Reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Help improve outcomes for those suffering from PTSD and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Help lose weight

Boosts career opportunities

One of the greatest personal benefits for volunteering in nonprofits is the fantastic career boost it provides. Recent graduates in particular can gain a great deal of real-world experience from volunteering in their field of study, while more experienced members of the workforce can learn valuable new skills, like leadership and project management. Volunteering in any capacity also looks very good on a resume.

When it comes to growing closer with others, improving one’s health, boosting a new career AND making a difference, volunteering is hands-down the best activity.