Of course, volunteer holidays don't mean you have to give up on recreational activities.
You could slip in some few hours between holiday cookies and going to the beach to connect with the needs in your community, join a cause that resonates with you and give back to the community that has given you so much.
Giving your time and expertise can make an immense difference within your community, and honestly, you’re not alone in this.
According to a study, one in four Americans—about 62.8 million adults—volunteered through an organization last year, up to 7.96 billion hours valued at $184 billion.
So, if you’re still wondering whether volunteer holidays are suitable for you, these ten reasons could change your mind.
1. It Benefits Your Health
People often volunteer for altruistic reasons, but studies found it also benefits their health.
A Ghent University study revealed that volunteers are five years younger than non-volunteers. In addition, according to the University of Michigan Research Center, volunteers with heart problems feel less chest pain and lower cholesterol levels than non-volunteers.
Furthermore, other research revealed volunteering can:
- Strengthen the body
- Improve the mood
- Lessen stress
- Reduce anxiety and depression
You could enjoy these immense health benefits by volunteering too, plus a longer lifespan. It could also make you sleep better, recover quicker, and have a healthier immune system.
2. It Connects You to People
Committing to shared activities like volunteering lets you meet people of common interest and become friends, expanding your social networks and immersing you in a community.
Besides the interactions, it also boosts your social awareness and opens you to more opportunities.
Additionally, volunteering offers you a safe and friendly platform to discuss issues you probably can’t discuss at home, ask for opinions and receive emotional support.
3. Helps You Make a Difference
Everyone is not as lucky as we are; thousands of people need help living a fulfilling life.
Volunteering in areas that inspire you enables you to make a difference in their lives and spread happiness. Whether it’s in health, environment, or education, no matter how small the steps are, they’ll surely put a smile on people’s faces.
Honestly, it feels fulfilling, especially knowing how much those seemingly minor steps mean to them.
4. It’s Fun and Exciting
Volunteering is fun and exciting, offering you an opportunity to explore your interests and passions in a high-reaching like-minded community.
It lets you step aside from your daily routines to fully immerse in the projects you care about, offering you an energizing escape from the soul-crushing daily stresses plus a renewed drive and motivation to carry on with your other commitments.
Like a Chinese proverb rightly said, if you want happiness for an hour, take a nap, but if you need it for a lifetime, then help somebody.
So, the happiness in helping others is where the real fun and excitement are.
5. Volunteering Can Advance Your Career
Volunteering advances your CV, making you more employable than non-volunteers.
Of course, committing to a cause, even when nothing is in it for you, makes you seem conscientious and well-rounded, and this quality is something many employers look for.
A study found that volunteers have a 27% better chance of getting employed, so you probably have nothing to lose engaging in causes that interest you.
Additionally, volunteering teaches you valuable skills, lets you gain career experience, and refine your career goals.
6. You Could Earn Stipends
Of course, volunteering means you don’t get compensation for your excellent work, but some opportunities let you earn little stipends or other incentives like lodging, meals, or reimbursement.
Paid volunteering opportunities are not easy to come by, so don’t put all your hope on it, but you might find something in these organizations:
- Peace Corps
- World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
- The United Nations
- Voluntary Service Overseas International
- Workaway International
7. Volunteering Keeps You Busy and Engaged
Doing nothing probably feels good in the first few weeks, but it becomes incredibly boring and depressing afterward, and it could even make you feel guilty or lifeless.
But you can maximize your extra time by engaging in purposeful activities like volunteering in meaningful causes you love. Staying busy breaks you out of your shell, makes you feel helpful, connected, and energized.
Also, recent research found it’s one of the recipes for happiness.
8. Helps You Improve Your Collaboration Skills
According to Salesforce, 86% of executives identify a lack of collaboration skills as a major cause of business failure, making employees with the skills highly sought after.
But developing the skills is a bit tricky; it’s not something you can easily pick along the way, especially if it’s not happening naturally. It requires a concerted effort and a deliberate learning process.
However, volunteering in an organization allows you to work in teams, enabling you to learn naturally in a safe environment as you engage with people, accelerating the learning process.
9. You Might Learn About a New Culture
Volunteering with an international organization could provide travel opportunities, allowing you to learn about new cultures and languages.
Besides the mind-expanding benefits of traveling and learning new things, it fuels a constant urge to continue learning. Additionally, it offers you several scenic views and the opportunity to network with cross-border professionals.
Again, traveling puts you in a new and unpredictable environment, enabling you to adapt and learn how to think on your feet.
10. You Could Win Scholarships
Several organizations offer scholarships to reward community-minded students.
For instance, the GVTC Foundation awards several scholarships to deserving students planning to pursue a college education. But only students from households that subscribe to at least one GVTC service stand a chance.
It offers the Ola Armstrong Scholarship to students demonstrating community involvement by volunteering in their local community, awarding up to $15,000 to support their college education.
Besides this funding option, many other volunteering scholarships are available, and you could be eligible by ramping up your volunteer hours or joining a community service.
Finding the Right Volunteering Opportunities
Finding the proper volunteer position that suits your personality, skills, and interests could be tricky, but how do you streamline your searches?
Of course, let’s get to it.
- Nonprofits are often seeking people to help in specific areas. So, the first step to landing the proper volunteer position is knowing what you can offer.
- Next, think about why you want to volunteer. Do you want to meet people, ramp up your volunteer hours or get a permanent position?
- Now, be realistic about your availability—how much of your time can you give?
- Decide where and how you want to volunteer. Do you want to make a difference in your local community or nationally, and where?—Animal shelter, after-school program, or others?
- Talk to local nonprofit matchmakers. You could begin here.
- Check faith-based organizations, alumni networks, Libraries, clubs, and others.
- Explore skill-based volunteering websites for available options. You might want to start here:
Wrapping It Up
We gain happiness by helping others. As Winston Churchill said, we make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give.
Making a difference in your community by volunteering for causes you love could be the pathway to lasting happiness. Additionally, it lets you meet new people, hones your collaboration skills, advance your career, and perhaps win scholarships.
But more importantly, it keeps you in good health—physically, mentally, and emotionally.