Do you volunteer your time outside of work? If not, you probably should. According to a new survey by Robert Half International, 41 percent of the 1,000 interviewed who volunteer reported an array of personal and career benefits from doing so. When you spend time volunteering, you get more than you give.
Here are just some of the ways volunteering can improve both your life and your career:
1. It widens your network.
Do you want to meet business leaders, prospective customers, and influencers in your community? Volunteering is often a great way to do that. Fifty-seven percent of those who volunteer cited a wider network as one of the benefits they get from volunteering.
Paying attention to where the people you most want to meet spend their volunteer time can be a smart way to make contact with movers and shakers who are otherwise inaccessible.
Whatever happens, you will get to meet people you don’t already know, and those connections may lead to unexpected opportunities.
2. It makes you healthier.
In the survey, 61% of those who volunteer said volunteering enhanced their wellness, making them more effective at work.
Depending on the tasks you choose, they may make you more physically active (helping out at children’s dance class or sports team, for instance) and may take you out of doors as well.
3. It takes your focus off work.
Volunteering forces you to focus your attention on something outside your day-to-day work concerns and obsessions. Not only does this lead to better mental health, it can also help you at work because a change in perspective will often give you a better grasp of a problem or a new idea.
4. It makes you feel good about yourself.
Knowing you’re helping a cause you believe in or making life better for your fellow creatures is a really nice feeling and one of the primary rewards of volunteering. It’s one big way volunteering can make you happier.
5. It teaches you new skills.
Nothing is as valuable as your skill set, and any chance to expand it is worth pursuing. That’s one of the big benefits you can get from volunteering. Want to be a better speaker? Volunteering can give you the chance to hone those skills. Want to improve your cold calls? Volunteering can give you the chance to practice. You can learn nearly any skill you want in a volunteer setting.
6. It can help put your company on the map.
If you’re volunteering with an industry association, or in an area that’s relevant to your company’s products, it can benefit your company by raising its visibility.
The same is true if you’re volunteering for a local sports team, community group, or cultural venue. So look for opportunities to raise your companies profile as well as your own when you seek ways to volunteer.