“I haven’t got time”
“I’m not sure what skills I could offer”
“I don’t know where to start”
Probably the three most common reasons I hear for people not volunteering.
Bec and I spend our week meeting inspirational people across York, and most organisations we meet are built and run by volunteers – people who give up their own time and skills to support those less fortunate. This might be helping out an elderly neighbour, providing professional support or managing a social media account.
There was a time (and perhaps still an assumption) that volunteering is for middle-class retirees, but there’s so much more to volunteering than meets the eye, so I thought I’d set out my top 5 benefits of volunteering.
And Hey! why not share yours in the comments section, and we’ll include them in future newsletters…
- It feels good!
Ok, so I’ve cheated and started with the most obvious, but let’s face it, helping somebody else makes you feel good about yourself right?
And you carry that good feeling around with you to other areas of your life, personal and professional, which makes you a better person all round.
There’s even studies that say volunteering makes you healthier (ok, you want proof –here you go!)
- It’s good for your CV
If you’re just starting off your career, thinking about changing career, or maybe just finishing your studies – the skills and commitment of volunteering will look great on your CV.
In a competitive labour market, employers want to see people who stand out from the huge pile of applications they have on their desk.
Volunteering positions show you are a team player, think about others, and are prepared to go above and beyond.
It’s the first thing I look for when recruiting.
- You’ll make friends
Volunteers are like-minded people who pull together for the greater good. A bit like a sports club or pub quiz team.
From these networks and shared purpose, you’ll find genuine friends for life.
- It builds a better place to live
I really believe that if you support the most marginalised in your community, your neighbourhood will become a better place to live.
People will feel safer, the local economy will thrive, more amenities will be attracted, and your kids and young people will have more opportunities.
With some charities, your contact time with an individual can literally save their life! These seeds can be grown from the most basic of volunteer programmes.
A great example of this is a recent article I read about an estate in Liverpool that is being brought back from the brink by a team of locals (you can read about that here)
- Allows you to share your skills
We sometimes take our skillset for granted, don’t we?
Our hobbies, jobs and interests are hugely valuable talents we all have, that can be shared with others. Don’t assume you can’t help, or there’s no need for your unique skills – I guarantee they’ll be hugely valuable and appreciated at more than one local charity.
For example, are you a project manager working in an office in town? I could match you up with loads of charities that require good project management; perhaps you’re a keen gardener living in a terraced house with a yard? There’s loads of awesome community gardening projects. Maybe you’re handy with an instrument? Get involved with a local youth music group.
There are hundreds of community groups across York, in all areas of the City; the opportunities to support them are endless.
Which brings me back to my original barriers:
- “I haven’t got time”
FALSE – some organisations will be grateful for your skills, even if it’s half an hour, in your own space or on your lunch break.
- “I’m not sure what skills I could offer”
Well now you have some ideas. From joiners and plumbers, to accountants and architects – we all have unique skills that would be hugely beneficial in our community.
- “I don’t know where to start”
Or if nothing comes up of interest, drop us a line and we’ll try to match you up with a local charity.
York CVS are also a great point of contact, as they advertise volunteering opportunities for loads of charities across York – find them here,
Whilst York Cares match up York’s biggest employers and their staff with local charities – if you work for a big company, take a look here.