Volunteering leads to all sorts of benefits, and maybe even a job
By Sylvie Golod
Behold, summer: the season that typically encourages us to slow down and recharge our batteries. It’s an opportune time to soak up sunny rays while digging out from life’s knee-deep compost. Whether that’s pandemic fatigue, a job loss, illness, divorce, or other dislocating occurrence, there is one powerful ingredient we can add to the mix of our daily lives to offset and improve these types of challenges: the gift of our time and talent to others via volunteerism. The boomerang factor not only enhances our attitude of gratitude, but also produces a healing balm to our weary souls.
Volunteering is a proven, powerful pathway that can convert our present circumstances into a more fulfilling journey. Volunteering is as credible as paid work; 95% of employers view a volunteer position as work experience, one that can be applied to your resumé. Many volunteer jobs can evolve into paid positions and possibly the beginnings of a new career. Volunteering broadens your network, providing the opportunity to meet new people, business owners, board members, and employees. These people can become mentors and/or serve as references for future employment opportunities.
It’s a misconception that you don’t have time to volunteer. The truth is you can’t afford NOT to! The return on your investment will be measurable, and you will reap great rewards for your personal and professional life. Examine your present work week. Plug in volunteering. Reframe your gift of time as on-the-job training that allows you to share your unique abilities while gaining new skills that make you attractive to a prospective employer. Your personality traits will be exposed by your actions of commitment to a cause. Being motivated, socially responsible and proactive are valued highly in any industry.
The F-Suite profiles a local nonprofit in every issue, hoping readers will be inspired to get involved with something that sparks their passion or interest. The possibilities are endless, so stretch beyond your comfort zone and challenge yourself. You’ll harvest loads of confidence and enthusiasm –key qualities sought by employers during an interview.
Where to find volunteer work that matches your passion and schedule
- VolunteerMatch Connects nonprofits with volunteers with a searchable database of volunteer positions.
- Create the Good AARP connects charities with volunteers.
- Encore Helping people aged 50+ find new purpose in meaningful causes.
- Idealist Find volunteer opportunities around the world.
- Taproot Foundation Nonprofits seeking specific professional skills such as social media strategy, employee handbook development, business plan creation, etc.
- Catchafire Volunteer remotely using your skills in accounting, engineering, web design, sales, marketing, and writing.
- Be My Eyes An app that matches visually-impaired individuals with sighted volunteers willing to assist with tasks.
- Career Village Connects students with industry professionals to learn vital information about careers and map out a professional plan.