People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some, it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others, it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding.
Below are some of the reasons people choose to volunteer. For some, it provides an opportunity to:
- Give something back to an organisation that has impacted a person’s life, either directly or indirectly
- Make a difference in the lives of others
- help the environment
- Help others less fortunate or without a voice
- Feel valued and part of a team
- Spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
- Gain confidence and self-esteem.
For some, volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change. From this perspective, volunteering can be a way of:
- Gaining new skills, knowledge, and experience
- Developing existing skills and knowledge
- Enhancing a CV
- Improving one’s employment prospects
- Gaining accreditation
- Using one’s professional skills and knowledge to benefit others (usually described as pro bono).
For others volunteering appeals because of its social benefits. These include:
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- A chance to socialise
- Getting to know the local community.
Research has also found a significant connection between volunteering and good health, showing that volunteering can (Vic Health, 2012):
- Alleviate depression
- Increase satisfaction with life
- Lower the frequency of hospitalisation
- Boost a person’s ability to cope with illness.