When people think of the rewarding experience of volunteering, they might think of the good feelings it brings them. Maybe they think of the impact they make on their community. For these reasons and many more, volunteers are so appreciated! But it seems oftentimes that trade-off for nonprofits and volunteers is pretty straightforward. Not the case! Even though the experience of volunteering is beneficial for many reasons, there are also hidden positive outcomes to volunteering. Here are the top four unexpected benefits of volunteering at a nonprofit.
The 4 Hidden Benefits of Volunteering
Meeting people is a natural byproduct of volunteering or any group activity in general. Often people mention the skill-building and work experience aspect of volunteering that can boost a resume. These opportunities, however, also perfectly lend themselves to networking and building professional relationships. The type of nonprofit doesn’t have to be within a volunteer’s area of expertise either. People from all walks of life volunteer for many types of organizations for the same altruistic reasons. You never know who you are going to meet and impress!
Volunteering offers the possibility to forge many types of long-lasting relationships outside of professional connections. Maybe you just moved to a new city. Or you work independently from home. Or social media has taken its toll and you are craving face-to-face interactions. No matter the reason, there is always a chance that new friendships are waiting for volunteers in cooperative, compassionate environments like nonprofit organizations.
It may not seem like most volunteer opportunities are high risk, but think about how difficult it can be sometimes to leave your comfort zone. For many people, walking into a new situation can be intimidating. Whether it be unfamiliar social situations or challenging tasks that are beyond a person’s skill set, just the thought of taking that first step and applying for a volunteering position can be daunting. After taking the plunge, however, volunteers might find themselves more prone to taking risks and being more open in the future. This anxiety might be prevalent in many facets of life, and maybe a benefit of volunteering is getting your feet wet for trying new things more and more.
Improved Physical and Mental Health
Studies show that volunteering is incredibly good for you. One study from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated a link between volunteering and lower blood pressure. Depending on the type of tasks assigned, it can increase a person’s physical activity and mental exercise. According to a report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering can lead to a decrease in depression, an increase in functional ability, and lower mortality rates. The greatest positive impact of these experiences occurs in older generations who are at greater risk of health decline and social isolation. Common sense also tells us that volunteering gives people a sense of accomplishment, confidence and self worth. Helping others and making a difference will do wonders for a person’s wellbeing. That might be one of the biggest unexpected benefits of volunteering!