Learn new skills while giving back
Too often people separate their work lives from the rest of their lives. However, one of the many bridges between work and nonwork activities is volunteering.
Both of us learned the importance of volunteering from our parents, who were and are involved in many community activities. And we both wanted to model it for our kids when we became parents so they would also know the importance of volunteering.
While we didn't realize it when we were young, the power of volunteering goes beyond giving back. First, away from the demands and intensity of the job, volunteering is a great way to learn new skills or refine ones you're working on. Second, it gives you access to new networks of people and even lifelong friends, which the two of us have become after first meeting at a chapter leader reception. It also builds your competence, confidence, and perspective. In addition, while volunteering, you meet people you may not have met otherwise, opening up new worlds to you. And finally, you can develop skills and perform roles you may be constrained from in your current work or which you need to develop to be promoted to another job or level.
Tons of nonprofit organizations need bright, willing, and capable individuals. The turnover of volunteers is about 50 percent on average, which means there are always openings. Volunteering can be one of the best paths to develop yourself, help others, boost your career, improve your mood, and reduce stress—a quintuple win. Let's look at each.
Develop yourself in multiple ways. You learn from being part of the organization you are volunteering with, learning its mission, purpose, and how it operates. You learn whatever job you are doing and from the staff and other volunteers with whom you are working alongside.
Give back. You help by using the talents and skills you have and by acquiring new skills to contribute. Your expertise is welcome and needed either way.
Enhance your resume. Volunteering provides new avenues for career growth that you can add to your resume and profile, all while strengthening your network and building relationships.
Elevate your mood. Giving back provides you with a sense of purpose and joy, which contributes to increased self-confidence. As a result of helping others, you feel better about yourself. That gives a boost to your endorphins, leading to greater happiness.
Take a break from the day-to-day stresses of work and life. Volunteering is a change of pace from your regular work, doing something you enjoy. This is not to say that volunteering doesn't have its own stressors, but it's different if it is something you are passionate about.
The remainder of the article can be found at td.org