The Benefits of Volunteering and How to Find the Right Opportunities
We all have busy lives, and that can make it difficult to find the time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are pretty amazing, not only to the communities you serve but for yourself as well.
Today, we’ll be looking at the health benefits of volunteering, and how you can get find a way to give back!
Did you know that volunteering has a positive impact on health? A 2013 Study by UnitedHealth Group and the Optum Institute revealed some powerful health benefits of volunteering.
Health Benefits of Volunteering (Infographic)
6 Important Benefits of Volunteering:
- Volunteering brings a sense of purpose and connects you to people and causes.
- Volunteering has been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels, and improve overall mood.
- Volunteering brings valuable social and career skills that can help you accomplish your career goals.
- Volunteering increases happiness, bringing more fun and fulfillment into your life.
- Volunteering creates lasting and meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals.
- Volunteers feel physically healthier and may be more engaged in managing their health.
How to Get Started as a Volunteer
Identify your reason for volunteering
When you’re looking for a way to give back, it’s important to consider opportunities that will be personally fulfilling to you. Look for volunteer opportunities that are in line with your personal goals and passions. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to volunteer?” Is it to make a difference for a specific cause? To improve your neighborhood? To gain experience working with a population for your career goals? Identifying why you want to give back will help you look for the right opportunities that bring you the most benefits of volunteering your time and skills.
Think about your interests, skills, and preferences
So you’ve identified why you want to give back, now it’s time to think about your personal interests, skills, and preferences to search for volunteer opportunities that will be right for you. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you get started:
- What causes am I passionate about?
- What populations do I want to work with? (ie. children, animals, elderly)
- What settings do I prefer working in? (ie. 1-on-1, group settings, from home)
- How much time can I give? (Are you flexible or do you need a set schedule, can you give 1 hour per week or are you looking to help once in a while?)
- What do I like to do? (ie. teach, work behind the scenes, personal hobbies, professional skills)
Looking for the Right Volunteer Opportunities
Popular Types of Volunteering
- Teaching/Support Learning
- Coaching/Outdoor Activities/Sports
- Arts (Crafts, Music, Drama, Visual Arts)
- Support Listening/Counseling
Resources to Find Volunteer Opportunities
Local (within your community)
- Animal Shelters
- Soup Kitchens
- Youth Organizations
- Local Nonprofit Organizations
- National Parks
- Retirement Homes
Making a Difference for Families Impacted by Childhood Chronic Illness
Since 2001, CoachArt has matched volunteer coaches with students for one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics. Dedicated to creating a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness, our vision is that one day every family impacted by chronic illness will be connected to a community of support and an opportunity to learn and grow together.
CoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18 in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, we invite you to fill out a student eligibility form to learn if CoachArt is right for your child.
Ways to Help
Do you have an artistic or athletic skill you would like to share with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.
Check out opportunities with CochArt on VolunteerMatch.