You have decided to read about the top benefits of volunteering. Why give back to society? You may wonder what’s in it for you! We all have selfish ambitions from time to time, and this causes us to seek out what’s truly best for us, not what’s best for those around us!
So, why do people volunteer? Consider one of the many reasons listed below before you sit there stumped as to why people spend their time volunteering. There are MANY reasons you should give back to your community, including making a difference in this crazy world!
For example, did you know that volunteer work is actually beneficial to your health, well-being, and happiness? It’s true! You can actually find a great amount of peace and joy from doing more for others than you do for yourself. The benefits of giving back are really endless!
Don’t take my word for it, though; don’t rely on my opinions to convince you to help others. The number of benefits backed by scientific evidence is overwhelming. Read more about the hard evidence that supports volunteer work and how you can get started!
Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. And it matters profoundly. It does more than help people beat the odds; it changes the odds. – William J. Clinton
The Top Benefits of Volunteering
#1. Take on a new challenge.
There’s always a shortage of volunteers, so if you enjoy taking on new challenges, you should consider implementing volunteer work into your daily routine! You’ll never run out of things to do if you become a lifelong volunteer! There’s always someone in need!
What’s also great about volunteering is that you may develop new skills, discover hidden talents, or achieve personal goals that you’ve always wanted to accomplish! It doesn’t even matter what other people think. Make yourself proud!
When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. – Willie Nelson
#2. Have fun, and get a “high!”
It’s true that there is such a thing as a “Helper’s High!” This is the elevated feeling you get after doing volunteer work. It gives you a feeling of less stress, calmness, and a greater sense of self-worth. You can get this “high” after just doing one act of kindness!
Imagine a feeling of satisfaction for doing a (volunteer) job well done. Add to that a bit of calmness and an increase in your self-esteem, and you have a recipe for true acceptance and happiness!
Plus, volunteering is plain, old fun! You can actually have a great time giving back. You get to be around people who are very thankful for what you are doing, and you get to meet new people, making lifelong friendships along the way.
Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have. – Jim Rohn
#3. Create a sense of purpose for yourself.
Volunteers experience a greater sense of purpose and life satisfaction, according to WebMD. They also have a greater sense of confidence, pride, and self-identity! Imagine the other benefits you can encompass if you engulf yourself in volunteer work!
The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to matter – to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. – Leo Rosten
#4. Help people who need it.
It may sound pretty obvious, but you may not realize that the smallest effort does make a difference to someone out there. It may not even reach the person you intended, but it will reach someone. Your effort will not go unnoticed or unappreciated because every step you take toward helping someone counts!
Volunteering is at the very core of being a human. No one has made it through life without someone else’s help. – Heather French Henry
#5. Improve your resume and gain career insight.
By doing volunteer work, you are gaining experience, networking with others who may one day write you a letter of recommendation, and gaining career insight into a variety of industries or sectors. Learn about an industry before you enter it!
As self-serving as it may sound, volunteering does look awesome on your resume! You can fill gaps in your resume with volunteer work or expand upon your skills and experience with things you learn from volunteer opportunities!
Plus, people love to hire those who have a civic responsibility, people who are willing to do what it takes to make a difference, and people who have good hearts. Rasmussen University strongly suggests using volunteer work to bolster your resume!
Today, there are many limitations on what can be asked in an interview. Volunteer experience on a resume shows that you are a caring and compassionate person who enjoys helping others and doing your part in society.
If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life. – Unknown
#6. Be a good example to children.
Children often have nowhere to look but up. If we do not set positive examples for those around us, where will they get them? They only know what they can see and hear – what they learn from others.
Volunteering is a positive way to show children how to make a difference in the world. Help them believe in the power of what giving back can do for those in need by being a good example. You may not think they are watching, but they are; if not you, they are following in the footsteps of someone on the television or at school.
Consider the difference you can make in others by just being a good example. This is not just for children, either. Many people take action when they are motivated. This can simply happen by watching you do volunteer work in your community.
If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever. — Kofi Annan
#7. Improve your physical health.
There are many health benefits to volunteering. It has been shown to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart-related problems, such as heart disease. However, the studies on this are limited due to the subject matter and difficulty of measuring this.
When you volunteer, you keep your mind sharp and your body moving. Exercise releases dopamine, which makes you happy. Happiness can, in turn, reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease since you have less stress in your life. It’s like dominoes; it all falls into place when one piece is moved the right way.
There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up. – Bernard Meltzer
#8. Combat loneliness.
Volunteering gives you a sense of belonging – a connection to other souls. You don’t feel so alone because you are around other people, helping those in need! You’ll meet all kinds of personalities and characters when you do volunteer work.
Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much. – Helen Keller
#9. Make a difference in society.
When you give back, you are having a great impact on your community and society as a whole. If everyone had the giver’s heart that you do, the world would be a better place! Just know that you are making a huge difference in the life of at least one person!
Plus, acts of kindness or the deeds of a volunteer act like motivators. You’ll be walking home from an opportunity with a smile on your face and see trash on the side of the road; you’ll have to pick it up because you’ll see that no one else is doing it.
Your positive actions will encourage someone else to do something equally great. Your example will have made a difference even if you do not see the results immediately. Just have faith that what you are doing really matters to the world!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
#10. Reduce stress.
The Mayo Clinic reports that volunteer work gives you more positive feelings since dopamine is released when you do good. You experience less stress as a result!
#11. Get warm fuzzies.
Research actually says we get a warm glow or intrinsic reward from volunteering, but wouldn’t you agree that doing nice things for others gives you goosebumps? Often, you get more out of giving back than the person you are giving to!! Plus, it is so great to turn into someone with character – someone you are proud of.
One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served. – Gordon Hinckle
#12. Increase your self-worth.
Most volunteers have a great sense of self-esteem and self-worth. They are often surrounded by new experiences and new people. Experiencing new things is what makes us feel alive and gives us a sense of belonging, an affirmation that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Join a volunteer group to see the difference!
Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. – Leo Buscaglia
#13. Gain confidence.
With volunteer work, you get a real sense of achievement and a chance to stand out from the crowd, highlighting your skills and areas of expertise! This, in turn, gives you confidence because you are often trying something you’ve never done before!
Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. – Sherry Anderson
#14. Receive social support.
We all need to be around other people from time to time. It helps us emotionally and mentally to connect socially. When you form attachments to other people, you build a support group – a network of people who you can rely on to help you when help is needed. Volunteers help one another in life!
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. – Oscar Wilde
#15. Pay it forward.
Usually, when you do kind acts, you see positive results. If you continue to do good deeds, you will see good things happening in your life. Many times, your intentions are what matters, not the deeds themselves.
Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another. – Erma Bombeck
#16. Help define and achieve your career goals.
Rasmussen University reports that you can actually achieve your career goals and objectives faster if you do volunteer work. You’ll have a better idea of what you want to do when you graduate if you gain some volunteer experience. Plus, it looks great to recruiters and hiring managers if you spend your time giving back!
At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back. – Denzel Washington
#17. Strengthen your community.
Volunteer work definitely has a positive effect on your community and society, as a whole. Plus, since you are working with people who aren’t part of your usual circle, you are broadening your environment and meeting new people at the same time!
By being around people other than your friends and family, you are creating a new community of people! Your social circle will grow as you make friends with fellow volunteers and listen to the stories from those you are helping!
What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good. – Aristotle
#18. Stay out of trouble.
If you are busy doing something positive with your life, you will have less time to get into trouble or create problems for your life! Instead of robbing an old lady of her purse and belongings, you could save the life of a shelter animal or knit a hat for a preemie baby whose life is in jeopardy.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. — Audrey Hepburn
#19. Create new friendships.
Through volunteer work, you can create your “tribe” – the people you count on the most. By spending time with your friends, you are creating bonds that last a lifetime because you are all experiencing something together at the same time!
An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves. – Lydia Maria Child
#20. Develop new skills.
Build new skills that you previously did not have. Consider volunteering in a field you do not know well. You’ll not only learn something new, but you’ll also gain more experience in a different field, broadening your horizons.
You can learn new skills with the right volunteer program. Build social skills, better communication skills, and vocational skills. The more volunteering opportunities you take advantage of, the greater your skill set will become!
For example, if you are an accountant, consider doing some work at an animal shelter or your local zoo. Working with animals could develop into a new passion! You might even adopt a furry friend and have a new love in your life!
If you are a librarian or work in a field that keeps you interacting with very few people, consider working with the homeless. You will not only make a difference in society, but you will also meet a wide range of people with unique stories of their own!
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. — Shakespeare
#21. It makes you feel wealthier and more productive with your time.
According to Forbes, volunteering your time makes you feel like you have more of it! Isn’t that amazing? Imagine having more time in your life.
What would you do with more free time? Wouldn’t you love to have more time to pursue your passions in life or develop new passions?
Likewise, those who donate money to charity feel wealthier. Most people do want to have more money for whatever reason, but they probably didn’t realize that donating to charity could make them feel richer! Those are nice benefits of volunteering!
Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more but those giving more. ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
#22. Combat depression.
Forbes continues to explain that volunteer work can help you fight depression, along with many other health benefits! You are less likely to experience low moments, depressing thoughts, and suicidal ideations if you spend time doing something positive.
When you think about it, it makes sense. If you are feeling down about something, helping someone who is worse off is going to make you feel better. You may wonder how they can have such a great attitude when things are not going well for them.
You’ll experience something magical when you work with the homeless, for example, as they have found ways to make the most of their circumstances; many have done this with a smile on their face!
The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. — Helen Keller
#23. Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Reduce your risk of dementia by volunteering. According to Medical Press, you may be able to combat this problem by simply volunteering. Why should you help others? That’s a pretty good reason, wouldn’t you say?
#24. Burn belly fat.
According to the Atlantic, volunteering has great results when it comes to your mental and physical health, including reducing that stubborn belly fat! When you do volunteer work, you are physically active and take better care of your health, in general.
#25. Gain a love for a new industry.
Many graduating students leave school with a sense of purpose and belonging in a particular industry. However, they often quickly find out that they were not well suited for the field they wanted to be in, or they just plain hate the work!
Rasmussen University explains that volunteering can greatly help you learn if you love a field or hate it. Helping people usually only costs you a bit of time, not money or resources! Is there a better way to find out if you love something or not?
No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. – Unknown
#26. Gain professional experience.
If you are looking to switch career paths, volunteer work may be the best place to start. It not only gives you new experiences, but it looks very good on your resume. Earn your next job easily by showing your commitment through pro bono work.
According to the Wall Street Journal, one survey of 202 applicants proved that volunteer work on a resume made job applicants look much more appealing to hiring managers! It shows you have heart, but it also shows you have a wide range of skills and experience.
You may even be able to add additional skills, experience, and qualifications to your resume, depending on the type of volunteer work you decide to do.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe
#27. Meet new people and network.
As Rasmussen University puts it, “Volunteers like to help other volunteers!” You will meet all sorts of people and grow your social circle, but you will also learn to network. You’ll build a strong network of people who can help you with your job applications, job search, and professional recommendations. Make lasting friendships by volunteering.
Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others. – Plato
#28. Feel more love.
According to Forbes, those who volunteer feel more loved by others and have a greater amount of happiness and joy in their lives. In fact, the more you volunteer, the happier you may find yourself becoming. That’s a pretty good reason to spend time volunteering!
The article explains that giving back actually gives you smiles, social support, and a greater amount of empathy. When you feel that way, it’s no wonder that you are happier! Understanding and turning that frown upside down can definitely result in more joy!
Volunteers are love in motion! – Unknown
#29. Increase socialization.
If you aren’t a social butterfly, you aren’t alone. Many of us would rather stay at home in our comfort zones than venture out into the world and get dirty. However, if you volunteer, you will find that being around others gets easier and easier.
Your social skills will improve, and you’ll grow friendships where there perhaps used to be online groups, social media forums, or video games. You’ll have face-to-face interactions that will lead to bonds that make a real difference in your life!
Help one another. There’s no time like the present and no present like the time. – James Durst
#30. Bring people together.
When people see other people move, they want to move. It’s called “leading by example.” Even if you think you are not a leader, you might surprise yourself when you start volunteering. Others will follow, and you’ll soon be organizing people in groups to help people in all walks of life.
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. – Seneca
#31. Have a lower mortality rate.
With the reduced risk of heart disease and other health benefits mentioned, are you really surprised to see this on the list? Overall, research shows that volunteers live longer and happier lives than those who do not volunteer.
Even if you just change one life, you’ve changed the world forever. – Mike Satterfield
#32. Refine your soft skills.
Rasmussen University names some of the soft skills you can achieve through volunteer work as initiative, resourcefulness, and collaborative skills. In other words, you can learn how to achieve more with less and be a team player by volunteering! You’ll also step outside of your comfort zone as you meet new people and experience new things!
#33. Gain more happiness.
Many people feel isolated and depressed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, volunteer work can help! According to new research, giving back to others can actually make you happier and more full of joy and delight!
Volunteering can give you a boost in your mental health, helping you combat depression and/or anxiety. Volunteering releases good feelings by releasing dopamine.
According to the study, people who did volunteer work were more satisfied with their lives and rated their health as being better than those who did not.
You might be thinking that happy people are the ones who volunteer, which is why the results turned out the way they did. Happy people do tend to volunteer more, but the study took that into consideration. Even those who were less happy benefited greatly from doing volunteer work, gaining a boost in their well-being!
Since not many people want to stay miserable, this is a pretty good reason to do some volunteer work. After all, wouldn’t you like to see a boost in your happiness level?
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. – James Matthew Barrie
#34. Age gracefully.
This one may sound strange, but you can actually enjoy aging more if you do volunteer work. Volunteering keeps your mind sharp and is linked to fewer risks of depression and loneliness. You are around other people who are like-minded individuals, too!
When older adults volunteer with other people with common interests, they make long-term friendships and build a social circle due to the great amount of social interaction. This can make you feel more alive and as if you have a greater purpose!
Every person can make a difference, and every person should try. – John F. Kennedy
#35. Live longer.
According to one study, people who regularly volunteered with altruistic intentions tended to live longer than those who did not aim to make a difference in society. The studies done on this are limited and very specific.
If a person volunteered with selfish intentions, the study found that they did not fit this criterion, hence the “altruistic intentions” terms. In other words, if you volunteer with the intention of benefiting yourself, you might not live longer, according to this study.
Harvard was not the only source that found this to be true. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, regardless of age, health, and gender. That’s one pretty amazing revelation and motivational factor!
The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your contribution. When you work to improve the lives of others, your life improves automatically. – Kurek Ashley
#36. Forget about your problems.
Look at the problems others have to face to take a step back from your own. It can be easy to focus on your job problems, the fact that you are gaining weight, or the marriage problems you are experiencing, if you allow yourself time to complain.
You have a job; food is easily available to you; marital problems can happen to anyone! Let’s not push our problems aside or dismiss our woes as irrelevant, but if we learn a lesson from the less fortunate, it should be that many are happy with less.
Plus, doing volunteer work just helps you stay positive and not worry about your problems. You may find that your life is not nearly as bad as you thought it was, especially when caring for the needy. Consider making volunteering part of your everyday life – starting today!
#37. Improve your mental health.
According to WebMD, volunteering definitely contributes to an improvement in your mental health. For one thing, it’s a very rewarding thing to do. You get so much out of giving back and helping others; it’s definitely something worth checking out!
Also, volunteering boosts your social connections and combats loneliness. You get to be around people who like the same things that you do and contribute to your community. Make new friends or strengthen your existing friendships by working with your friends!
Finally, volunteer work strengthens your mind because you can build new skills and experience new opportunities. Every time you learn something new, your mind gets sharper, and you gain knowledge of something you previously did not know.
We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. – Herman Melville
#38. Get ready to take on the world!
By volunteering, you have the power to change lives, giving hope to people and animals that are less fortunate than you. Plus, you are an encouragement to others when you volunteer. They see the wonderful work you are doing and get inspired to do the same!
Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable, and peaceful place. — Natalie Portman
Additional Benefits of Volunteering
Along with the many benefits mentioned in this article so far, we must point out a few more that should not be overlooked.
- Encourage civic responsibility!
- Get that magical feeling of gratitude!
- Develop emotional stability!
- Get a chance to do work with flexible hours!
- Gain a new sense of peace!
- Save resources!
- Gain a more optimistic attitude!
- Expand your perspective!
- Improve the amount of hope you have!
- Gain valuable experience and skills!
- Travel and experience new environments!
- Grow as a person while doing something worthwhile!
- Find a deeper meaning in life!
- Refine your skills!
- Make change happen!
- Learn new things!
- Share your knowledge and expertise with those in need!
- Sharpen your brain!
- Lessen your risk for heart-related problems!
- Improve the quality of your life!
- Gain a better sense of community!
- Get closer to the heart of an industry you are interested in!
- Save the life of an animal or person!
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill
Additional Resources for a Volunteer
- Free Volunteer Tracker: Be sure to check out our FREE Volunteer Log in the Shop, where you can track your volunteer activities, hours, and other information.
- Volunteer Guide: Make a Difference: America’s Guide to Volunteering and Community Service – This volunteer guide includes more than 185 non-profit organizations in America that welcome volunteers of all ages to make a difference with them. It also lists 30 organizations that give up-to-date information on critical, relevant issues and policies related to volunteerism.
- The Importance of Volunteering Book: Hold My Hand: All About the Blessings of Volunteering – Join this 81-year-old first-time author and volunteer as she shares the blessings of her journey, reminding others that they are not left out or forgotten, and proving to the world that old age can be a time for an attitude of gratitude.
- Acts of Kindness Tracker: My Kindness Journal | Volunteering Logbook – This Acts of Kindness Volunteering Tracker can help you chronicle the effects your random acts of kindness (RAOK) have on others and show how heartfelt compassion can improve their lives and the lives of the people around them.
The Importance of Giving Back Video
This animated video goes through a few reasons you should volunteer today. Check it out!
How to Start Volunteering
Remember all the benefits that come from volunteering. It can improve your physical and mental health! There are ways to volunteer all around you! Learn more in these blog posts:
Do you want to get started with a specific charity? Here are some great options:
- Operation Gratitude gives you a chance to help soldiers and veterans.
- Threads of Love lets you help sick infants and their families.
- Scottish Rite for Children helps children in need and has many ways to get involved!
- Second Chances Thrift Store helps the homeless and those in need get back on their feet!
- The Mother Bear Project is a sweet charity that lets you make little toy bears for sick children.
If you enjoy writing, you could write a letter of encouragement to someone in jail or a soldier who does not receive mail.
You could also get involved with animal shelters and save the lives of dogs and cats. Many animals just need love and attention!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is giving so important?
When you give, the benefits outweigh the costs. Giving back to this problematic world is very important because the world needs caring, compassionate individuals to help make it a better place for future generations. Every bit of effort counts and makes a difference to someone out there.
Is it important to volunteer your time?
It is very important to volunteer your time because so many charitable organizations need you! There are many volunteer opportunities that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Consider learning a craft to help sick infants or stray animals. You can knit, crochet, or sew for charity!
What are the benefits to volunteering at an animal shelter?
You can actually save the lives of shelter animals by volunteering your time and effort. Even if you can only spend a few hours on the weekend giving shelter animals love, you will be making a huge difference. There are many ways to get involved at an animal shelter; some are available without even leaving your home!
Why is it important to be involved in your community?
When you do volunteer work or are active in your community, you are making the world a better place and impacting society. You can truly make a difference when you help others or are involved in your community. You’ll strengthen bonds in your area and make other people want to do the same.
How does giving back improve your health?
There are many health benefits of giving back, including improved cognitive functions, longevity, lower blood pressure, and greater mental health. Helping others improves the amount of happiness you have, as well. Who wouldn’t love to be happier and better adjusted?
Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud. – Helen Dyer
Hopefully, you now know the reasons to volunteer, the benefits of giving back, why giving back matters, why you should help others, and the importance of volunteer work or even just community service.
Engage with a non-profit organization today to enhance your life, lower your stress level, build your relationship skills, and promote a healthier lifestyle. Volunteering connects you with the right people and allows you to practice skills you may need later in life.
If you want to know how to volunteer or how to get started with volunteer work, consider reading the article How to Volunteer or exploring the Love Others section of this website to find charities that may touch your heart.
Are you ready to start doing volunteer work? Check out the FREE volunteer log for an easy way to track your volunteer hours.
Help raise awareness of the benefits of volunteering by sharing this article on social media. That way, more people can learn why they should give back!
Get out there and volunteer today, and don’t forget to have a great time while you’re at it!
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Gandhi