Benefits of Volunteering

Recently I happened to visit my neighborhood post office which is located within a large compound. It was a weekend; Saturday to be precise.

Just to the side of the entrance of the post office, I found a huge crowd gathered around a rickety desk behind which a young man was sitting. He was busy filling money order forms. The people who were milling around his desk, I discovered, were daily wage workers who had migrated to Bangalore in search of a livelihood. They were for the most part illiterate. What the young man was doing was just helping them out with filling their money order forms. Money order was the only means they have for sending some money to folks back home. When I got to speak with the young man later, I came to know that he was a software engineer with a major company. Every Saturday he would make his way to the post office to help out these simple folks. Though he would end up spending couple of hours of his time, he says he quite enjoys it. In fact, he says, this activity on a weekend gives him the greatest pleasure.How often have we found ourselves locked up in the routine of our lives, bemoaning this "rat-race" and seeking an escape into something that will bring more balance into our lives, more meaning too.

Volunteering can be an answer. Volunteering is a good way to discover something that you are really good at or to develop a new skill.

Here are a few benefits of volunteering:

  • Helps you discover new friends and contacts: Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and re-enforce existing relationships. Volunteering is all about a group of people, often drawn from different backgrounds, coming together to pursue a shared activity in a committed way.
  • Improves your social skills: Some people are naturally outgoing. But many others are not. Volunteering can help bring you out of your shell and mingle with people with whom you share an interest.
  • Boosts your self confidence: If you suffer from low self-esteem or lack self-confidence, there is nothing like volunteering to give both a boost. When you volunteer for something that will help society or your community, you feel a sense of pride, a feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing good for others.
  • Helps combat depression: Depressed people tend live isolated lives, cut off from society. Volunteering is one way to keep in regular touch with others and develop a support system that you can bank on when you are going through challenging times.
  • Keeps you healthy: Regardless of age, volunteering has been found to keep people healthy and enhance that feeling of well being.
  • Helps your career prospects: Effective communication, problem solving, project planning, task management... all these skills are important in the workplace. Volunteering can provide you with an opportunity to practice and improve these skills.


Topics: Workplace Tips


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