Giving our time and effort to help others can feel wonderful. We get to see the immediate impact of our work. We watch a wall go up, we clear a field of litter, we enjoy the smiles of the people we help and work beside.
While each of those seems like reason enough to volunteer, there are additional benefits to giving your time. The people you help might not be the only ones to gain from the experience!
Get a new job.
Volunteering can help you make the transition to a new field. Giving your time and talent in support of a nonprofit’s day-to-day work or serving on a board can lead to a new career, according to Next Avenue, a public media service for the 50-plus population. That kind of involvement also is a great tool for younger workers. Volunteer experience strengthens any resume, and professional networking website LinkedIn even includes a section for highlighting your volunteer work.
Get a better job.
Seeking a promotion? Corporate volunteering programs give employees an opportunity to shine. As the Stanford Social Innovation Review has reported, “Through service learning, today’s corporate volunteers are becoming tomorrow’s corporate leaders — with great potential to impact the decisions they make on behalf of their company.” Interested in that kind of personal and professional growth? Encourage your employer to explore team building through an organization like Habitat for Humanity, or broaden your network through participation in a Habitat Young Professionals group.
A recent article in the Guardian asked the question “Is it time for doctors to prescribe volunteering?” The answer might be yes! Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that “people who volunteered spent 38 percent fewer nights in the hospital” than non-volunteers, and this Atlantic article cites additional findings that volunteers of all ages enjoy better health, more stamina and lower stress levels. With Habitat, you’ll find plenty of those satisfying moments that make volunteering such a spiritual lift. And swinging a hammer or mixing cement is good exercise!
Learn something new.
Every volunteer opportunity offers a chance to stretch your skill set. With Habitat, you’ll always have the chance to learn something different, sometimes in as little as a single day. Help a family make repairs and improvements to their existing home or get instruction on how to use a new-to-you tool on a build site. Learn how to raise awareness of housing issues. Serve on a committee that helps coordinate future homeowner selection, financial education or build-site snacks! No matter how you choose to get involved, if you ever wanted to change the world and see the impact of your efforts, we have a place for you.
See your neighborhood in a new light — or see the world.
Most people think of volunteering somewhere close to home, and there are always ample chances to help make your community a better place to live. But don’t forget that many organizations offer the option of traveling to make a difference. For Habitat, people in your community and all over the world partner with us to build or improve a place they can call home. So you can find local opportunities in your area to work alongside a future homeowner or make plans to travel with a group of Habitat volunteers to a different destination somewhere in the U.S. or in one of the 70 countries where we work.
Build a better story.
When you give your time to help others, the memories you cherish making today can become a part of your new, awesome autobiography. Everyone loves a good story, so make yours the best it can possibly be. With Habitat, enjoy the joyful retellings of the time you helped a family repair a roof on their home, the time you built alongside a future homeowner working to achieve financial stability and more self-reliance, the time you made a difference.