The Many Benefits of Volunteer Work

Staff at Excelsior College participate in many volunteer organizations and activities. The College supports community engagement and taking time to give back to our neighbors and country. As academic advisors, we often talk to students about how they need to also take care of themselves when so much of their time is spent focusing on other commitments such as work, family, and school. If you have ever volunteered, you know there are many personal benefits associated with volunteer work such as:

        • Seeing growth and change in those you help,
        • Reinforcing your sense of self-worth,
        • Recognizing that feeling of making a difference and having an impact,
        • Trying new activities,
        • Learning new skills,
        • Building new friendships,
        • Creating opportunities to transition into a new career field,
        • Team-building with co-workers,
        • Traveling and seeing the world, and
        • Making memories that last a lifetime.

        In addition, recent research suggests there are also health benefits associated with participating in volunteer work, including:

        • Longer life expectancy,
        • Lower rates of depression,
        • Improved physical health,
        • Greater life satisfaction and sense of purpose and accomplishment,
        • Reduced stress and risk of heart disease, and
        • Higher levels of happiness, self-esteem, and sense of control over life.

        Volunteering can also give a boost to one’s career and professional development. For example, for those looking to network, volunteering is a great way to get to know and be known within the communities that matter most to one’s interests. How better to create opportunities that one day will transition into a new, sought-after career field? Other professional benefits include:

        • Learning new skills,
        • Exploring new careers and industries,
        • Creating a track record of commitment and volunteerism for a specific cause or concern,
        • Team-building with co-workers, and
        • Staying current with trends and advances within your industry.

        With all the benefits associated with volunteering and all the positive ways it can influence your life and career, what is holding you back from getting involved? Set a plan now to give back and help someone in need. You may find it is exactly what’s missing and provides you some broader perspective and greater sense of well-being.