This year, Volunteers’ Week is about volunteering for all — celebrating the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways.
Could you volunteer, and why should you bother?
Studies have found that taking time out to help others reduces stress levels, improves immunity and increases life-satisfaction. This is because helping someone else interrupts tension-producing patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, which leads positive emotions.
Whether you’re looking for a change in career or advancement in your current one, volunteering is an excellent way to boost your prospects. Volunteers tend to create a positive impression, appearing more innovative, creative and skilful.
In an Adweek article on the state of recruitment in 2015, they found that recruiters rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation, political affiliations and spelling and grammar errors when looking at a candidate’s potential. This is probably because employers value transferable soft skills and volunteering gives you plenty of those, particularly problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and people skills. Candidates with real-world experience also tend to be more insightful and ready to be more hands-on in projects.
Away from the corporate world many people look around their community and long to make a difference but don’t know how. Look for community volunteering projects and get involved. It gives you the chance to think about the kind of community and world you want to live in, and to be part of something bigger than yourself.
If you’re still not sure where to start your volunteering journey think about where your passions lie. Maybe you love animals, are passionate about butterflies, or you want to share music, or life experience, or gardening skills. Look on the web, there will probably be some volunteer group where your passion or knowledge will be useful.
If you are feeling adventurous volunteering abroad allows you to travel with a purpose. Before deciding on a programme it’s advisable to ask:
- How will it benefit the local community?
- Does the organisation respect the local culture?
- What is the reason behind your volunteering trip?
- What problem will the end-product help solve?
Volunteering abroad changes how you see the world as you meet people daily from different countries, backgrounds and quality of life.
Many of us are lonely in our modern lives. Maybe we moved away from our families for work, or we’re divorced, or widowed, or the children have left home. Volunteering introduces you to people from all walks of life and provides a means of making real friends who can have a lasting impact on you.
Volunteering can shake you out of old routines and help you figure out where you want to head next. You might come up with ideas on how to improve your own community, or even discover a new life calling.
Nominate your favourite local volunteer for recognition
Supported by Ivy Green Floral Design
Retford Life would like to recognise the fantastic volunteers we have in our area and we are asking you to nominate a deserving local volunteer. Simply email us at email@example.com to tell us why you are nominating that person and about the good work they do in our local community. Please send in your nominations to us by the 15th June and we will then choose one volunteer to receive a bouquet of flowers from Ivy Green Floral Design as a small thank you for the hard work they do.