Volunteering for a charity or not-for-profit organisation can be immensely rewarding for you as an individual, as well as having obvious benefits for the organisation. Here are just 10 reasons why we think volunteering is great for ICAEW members.
- It gives you a chance to ‘give something back’ – to your local community, an organisation or cause that you care about, or the wider public. We know from feedback that this is an important motivation for our members to volunteer.
- It’s good for you. Research by the University of Wales, Lampeter found that volunteering can increase volunteers’ longevity, improve their mental health, keep them fitter and enable them to cope better with illness when it comes. A study by the Royal Voluntary Service into volunteering in later life found that it can decrease depression and social isolation as well as boosting quality of life and life satisfaction compared to non-volunteers.
- Because variety is the spice of life. A voluntary role doesn’t just increase the number of things you spend your time doing, it can introduce you to new experiences, people and opportunities on a regular basis, even in a single role.
- It keeps things in perspective. Comparing ourselves to others often isn’t constructive but helping someone who is facing a difficult situation or is in some ways less fortunate can help us become more realistic, grounded and positive about our own circumstances.
- It’s inspiring – for you and others. Chances are you’ll come into contact with someone who has an amazing story, or unique perspective coming out of their good and bad experiences. You may well be the inspiration to someone else too, whether it’s someone you’re supporting or a fellow volunteer. Never underestimate the power of your own story, which may give someone the drive they need to keep on going when life seems tough.
- It’s fun! There are a vast array of different volunteering opportunities in all sorts of organisations and places, so you’re bound to find something that you enjoy. Whether you have a craving for amateur dramatics, you’re a secret horticulturalist or you feel passionate about helping young people reach their potential there are plenty of ways to have fun whilst volunteering.
- It’s a great way of meeting new people and expanding your social circle. You can meet people you’d never normally come into contact with, bringing fresh perspectives as well potential friends.
- It develops your ability to work as part of a team. Volunteering is rarely a completely solitary experience and it can give you a chance to see how you contribute to a team in a different context to your usual work environment and role.
- You can learn new skills and use existing skills in different ways. Maybe you’re in a junior role and long for a chance to think more strategically or in a leadership capacity. A suitable voluntary role can help you develop your CV, increase your chances of promotion or enable you to move into a new sector or role, whatever point you’re at in your career.
- You can explore an interest or hobby or use skills that don’t feature in your day job. Perhaps you’re in a senior role and miss being so ‘hands on’ at work. Volunteering can fill this gap. Not only is this fulfilling in itself, it can lead to greater job satisfaction as you feel more content overall that you’re using your skills and passion to their full extent.
So why not get started? Take a look at the many voluntary roles advertised on www.icaewvolunteers.com.