8 Ways Volunteering Can Inspire You and Your Employees

Business Benefits of Volunteering

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” — Oscar Wilde

Anyone who has volunteered in their professional and personal life understands the many benefits that volunteering provides. Volunteering can help you make new friends. You can learn new skills. Or advance your career. You even feel happier and healthier.

Volunteering is a serious commitment both for you and the company you choose to volunteer for. So many small businesses need help carrying out their sales, marketing, customer service and public relations responsibilities. Budgets are often tight and limited so volunteering can be a great way to help them and gain better skills and confidence for yourself.

Benefits of Volunteering

Here are 8 benefits of volunteering for your small business and employees.

Improve employee health and wellness

So much positive data and information confirms today that smart companies know how important it is to use strategies that make their employees healthier so that they can perform better at work. Healthier employees are the foundation of a company’s success. Common health issues that employees face include lower back pain, headaches due to noise-related stress, obesity, heart disease, depression, colds and flu.

Here are some  programs, activities and services your company can offer or provide.

  • Fitness classes
  • Healthy snacking
  • Work from home day
  • More comfortable chairs and desks
  • Mental health services
  • Company outings or picnic
  • Pet Friendly

These options and services to encourage healthier habits can lead to increased productivity, loyalty, a better employee attitude and stronger company culture.

Sociability and Connectivity to Others

Clearly volunteering has a huge impact on our community. Volunteering is a way  to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests.

Consider volunteering as a family, which is a great way to teach and show your kids how fun it can be and how much it helps others.

Professional Development and Advancement

Are you looking to change careers?

Advance in the company you are working for?

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization. Just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean the skills you learn are basic. You could become an experienced crisis counselor while volunteering for a women’s shelter or a knowledgeable art historian while donating your time as a museum docent. Never underestimate the biggest benefit of volunteering, honing your “people skills”, probably the most important skills of all.

Bring More Fun and Fulfillment to Your Life

Longevity and success in the work and career world must include balance in your work, family and fun life. When we bring differing volunteer experiences into our lives and nourish ourselves with people, places and things that bring us joy, compassion, purpose and pleasure we extend our life span dramatically. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life. Many people volunteer in order to make time for hobbies outside of work. For instance, if you have a desk job and long to spend time outdoors, you might consider volunteering to help plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or help out at a children’s camp.

Financial and Professional Perks

Many arts and entertainment volunteer organizations offer perks to their volunteers including discounts, free stuff, access to board members, memberships and parking. Theater loving volunteers view performances at Huntington Theater Company in Boston  ushering patrons to their seats, handing out programs, and answering basic questions. In return, they can enjoy a variety of shows, discounts and receive an inside look all for free.

Boost Self Esteem and Confidence

We should all be interested in expanding our horizons. Think about improving your skills. Or try new things. Meet new people. Developing your relationships. And enhance self esteem while learning to value others. The world is changing at warp speed and we need to change too. Our commitment to be relevant, current and modern are attractive to employers and colleagues and foster good feelings about ourselves.

Rich and Rewarding Volunteering Experiences

Take some time to identify your goals, skills and interests and think about what you would enjoy doing? Researching the opportunities that match both your professional goals and your personal interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling. Finding the right fit should get you excited, like you can’t wait to get started.

Bringing your enthusiasm, personality and vibe to a volunteer commitment ensures that it will go well from the beginning.

Why do you want to volunteer?

Here are some of the reasons why volunteering because you want to,  not because you have to can ensure a positive experience and outcome.

  • improve the neighborhood where you live
  • meet people who are different than you
  • try something new
  • do something constructive with spare time
  • see different ways of life
  • give back

Don’t procrastinate. Do your homework, clear the time in your schedule, make a commitment and show up with a big smile and open heart and watch all the good things that can and will happen.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. Aesop

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.