I am very fortunate to work for a business that not only encourages volunteering but goes further in giving me additional days of leave each year to do this. I am inspired and better connected to my job as a result however it goes so much further than that. I get to give back to others and experience a sense of joy and fulfillment that is almost unparalleled. I have 2 quotes about giving that really resonate with me. Both are perhaps a bit more full on than many would be comfortable with but really inspire me to give as much as I can.
The first is:
There are many reasons why people volunteer and importantly there are many benefits you get from this outside of the sense of achievement from making a difference. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered the happier they were. According to a study in Social Science and Medicine when compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks.
Now it is true that volunteering is to benefit others however if it has the reciprocal effect of making you happier then that is the type of win-win that I ascribe to. In fact in a recent study by The Department of Psychology, Carleton University and The Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester it was found that people with a purpose in life may live longer than those who don’t.
Outside of that there are many reasons why people volunteer:
- to feel needed
- to share a skill
- to get to know a community
- to demonstrate commitment to a cause/belief
- to gain leadership skills
- satisfaction from accomplishment
- to donate your professional skills
- because there is no one else to do it
- to have an impact
- to learn something new
- to be challenged
- to make new friends
- to help someone
- as therapy
- to do something different from your job
- for fun
- to have an excuse to do what you love
- to feel good
- to be part of a team
- to gain status
- because you were asked
- to test yourself
- to be an agent of change
- because of personal experience with the problem, illness, or cause
- to stand up and be counted
Whatever the reason you do it the important thing is that there are a lot of people / causes / situations in the world that we could make a difference in if we just gave the time and effort.
I leave you with my second quote on this, maybe it will inspire you as it does with me: