Are you on the fence about volunteering this year? Maybe you've been burned in the past. Maybe you aren't sure you have the time. Maybe you just really aren't sure you want to.
Here are 10 reasons why I think you absolutely SHOULD volunteer this year:
1. You make new friends. Some of my most treasured friendships were forged while putting in volunteer hours. Just putting yourself out there connects you with other like-minded individuals. You immediately know you have at least one thing in common!
2. Your kids and family are proud of you. I often ask my children if they are happy that I am volunteering at their school. I do this so I can gauge how THEY feel about it. I know one day, they probably won't want me as present at their school as I currently am. Right now though, they always beam with pride. They LOVE how involved I am. They love that all of their classmates know me. It's a big part of why I love to volunteer.
3. You learn new skills. I once was chatting with a local business woman who admitted to me that her years as treasurer on the PTA executive board taught her how to do her books for her business. Now, nobody wants me anyone near their treasurer positions (and rightly so!) but I've learned so much in my years as a volunteer. I've learned how to delegate, how to correspond with businesses and how to solicit donations from them. I've learned valuable organization skills as well as improving my social skills that had admittedly gone a bit lax over the years I primarily stayed home with only babies for company.
4. You make a difference in the lives of others. This is a biggie. 9.9 times out of 10, if you are volunteering it is making a difference in someone's life. You might not think that being team mom or the coach of the 4 year old t-ball team is a volunteer position of legendary status, but it is. You are making a difference by being present and involved. When you accept an unpaid position where you give your time, your talent and even sometimes your treasure...you are doing Kingdom work. Not Christian? You can look at it as depositing good energy into the world.
5. Good karma. Kind of playing off that last one...regardless of your belief in karma (or blessings), volunteering is a great way to fill up your "do gooder" report card. The more good you put into this world, the better your quality of life will be. I'm not going to claim that for every good deed, you'll receive a windfall of awesomeness every time you open your front door. Volunteering will make you happy though. It will satisfy that innate need to do for others. Which will make you feel good. When you feel good, things are just better.
6. You set a great example. I want my children to grow up knowing that their parents spent their time doing things that made a difference. I want them to know that sometimes the best jobs in life are the ones where you never receive a paycheck. I want them (and their friends) to see that we care. That we want them to succeed and that we know sometimes it takes a village to make that happen.
7. You become more in touch with the world around you. It's easy to get entrenched in our bubbles. I'm awful at this. I'm basically a hermit, but I push myself to step out of that comfort zone because I don't want to be a loner. I want to DO life with others. I want to know what's going on at my kids school. I want the teachers to know that those A Southern Mom kids have a mom that is super duper involved in their lives. I want their friends to know that too. I want to be there for the kids that don't have anyone. I want to be there for the people that feel like outcasts. That are depressed. That suffer. To do this, I have to touch the world. I have to be in it. Volunteering is a way to touch the world and help the world without necessarily having to join in that world (meaning, you don't have to be a teacher to work at the school. You don't have to be the preacher to bring God to a church. You don't have to be homeless to help the homeless).
8. You help an organization, school, church, etc grow and thrive. I'm going to assume that you feel strongly about the organizations, teams, schools, churches you attend. If so, you most definitely want those places to thrive! Putting in a bit of sweat and passion can really make a difference. Many organizations rely on a steady stream of volunteers to keep the gears moving successfully.
9. It is a good use of your time. What else would you be doing? Now, everyone needs spare time and time to recharge, and you shouldn't feel a bit bad for needing that. However, if you are looking for a more useful and purposeful use of your time...volunteering is hard to beat.
10. You help others have a good experience, possibly a life changing one! This is especially true when you are volunteering in places where kids or animals or senior citizens (or homeless, etc etc etc) will benefit directly from your involvement. When I'm up at the school volunteering, there is a kid that is watching me. They are seeing that instead of sitting at home watching TV, I am there sacrificing my time to help them. They are seeing what it means to create community. That might even be a pivotal "click" moment in their life! You never know how a simple act of kindness can change someone's life forever. You might never know the impact you have had, but it's always worth the effort to try and make a difference.
Do you have any other benefits to share about volunteering? Do you want to share a specific instance where you didn't want to volunteer, but it made a big difference in your life? Comment below!
Also, be sure to read my other article on volunteering regarding handling a new or overwhelming volunteer position!