In a world with a lot of needs, but also many caring individuals, it’s no wonder that more people are giving up their personal time to volunteer in their communities. It’s also not uncommon for people to volunteer for causes around the world.
Essentially, volunteering is defined as “time willingly given for the common good and without compensation.” That said, you can volunteer everywhere from your local police association to the RSPCA. How common is volunteering in Australia and should you do it?
A Few Good Reasons Why You Should Consider Volunteering
Statistics show that an average of 6 million people volunteer across Australia every year. This includes people who volunteer in their personal as well as corporate capacities. A common question people ask is, “Why volunteer?” Especially if it’s done without compensation. Keep reading to find out!
1. An Opportunity to Do Something Good
The top reason people volunteer is to do something good for their local or even international community. In short, it’s often the only opportunity most people get to make a real difference.
Helping out at organizations such as the Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders or even the RSPCA can have a significant impact on a person’s or animal’s life. For instance, Habitat for Humanity builds homes, Doctors Without Borders provides free medical care in grief-stricken areas and the RSPCA provides care for abandoned or surrendered animals.
Taking part in a venture that helps people or animals is an excellent way to give back to the community. This is especially the case when you have a specialized skill to offer.
2. You Can Add It To Your Resume
A little-known fact is that you can add your volunteer work to your resume. Giving your time to your community for little to no compensation shows a prospective employer that you have compassion and willingness to assist others. It also shows an employer that you’re learning valuable skills that will come in handy in the workplace, such as:
- Time management
- Project planning
Potential employers will know you kept yourself busy with something constructive rather than just lounging around while you waited for a job opportunity.
3. Excellent Opportunity to Learn New Skills
Certain organizations provide an excellent arena for volunteers to learn new skills. While you might think you don’t really need to learn how to dig trenches or paint houses, keep in mind that every new skill learned is something that you can add to your resume. New skills may also open doors in different employment markets.
4. Increased Networking Opportunities
No matter what organization you volunteer for, you will most certainly meet new and interesting people. Some of these people will simply become like-minded friends, but you could also make connections that could be valuable in your search for the perfect job.
5. Increase Confidence
If you’re looking for a way to improve your social skills, then volunteering is an excellent place to start. Not only will you be meeting new people, but you’ll also get ample opportunity to speak to and interact with people from all walks of life. Giving freely of your time to help other people is one of the best ways to experience a sense of accomplishment and give your self-esteem a boost.
6. Be a Good Role Model
If you’re a parent, manager or employer, volunteering your free time is a superb way to set an example for children and fellow employees. In many instances, you may even be able to encourage other people to join you. It’s also an opportunity to get your company involved in corporate volunteering.
7. Helps You Maintain Your General Perspective
It’s very easy for people to get gloomy about their personal circumstances—especially if they’ve experienced a never-ending cycle of hardships. Volunteering helps you to maintain perspective on your own life and circumstances.
Also, it will show you that despite your circumstances, you still have much to be grateful for. This realization is often an excellent way to lift your own mood and general outlook.
Popular Volunteering Projects To Consider
If you’re not sure where you’d like to begin your volunteering journey, consider some of these options:
- Habitat for Humanity: A housing organization that builds homes in underprivileged areas
- RSPCA: This organization looks after abandoned animals – volunteers will walk, feed and care for dogs, cats, and other domestic animals
- Oceans2Earth: This program deals exclusively with wildlife rescue, care, and rehabilitation
- Australian Red Cross: Like the Red Cross organizations around the world, the Australian branch also assists people with finding shelter and support
- Salvation Army Australia: a popular organization that fights the homelessness crisis
Volunteering can be extremely rewarding. Not only will you make a difference in someone else’s life, but you’ll easily lift your own spirit. Giving back to your local community is an excellent way to network, fill up your resume and learn new skills in the process!