The Benefits of Volunteering:
Volunteering is a way to give back to your community and impact the lives of others. The great thing about volunteering is that it also affects the life of the giver. These three benefits of volunteering may surprise you.
Health: Volunteering can have positive effects on your physical health. Volunteer Canada in their ‘Volunteering and healthy aging’ resource note that a study done of 500 volunteers over 30 years revealed only 36% of participants had a major illness compared to 52% of people who did not volunteer. Many volunteer activities involve being active and on your feet. Your physical health can get a boost just by volunteering.
Career & Professional Development: Volunteering is a great way to explore a new career path and gain valuable professional experience. Find a volunteer role where you can develop the skills you’d like to apply in your professional life. You can also list your volunteer experience on your resume to help you describe your interests and personality to a potential employer in a different way.
Social: Meeting new people can be difficult. Volunteering is a great way to make new social connections. The great thing about meeting friends while you volunteer is they probably share similar values and interests since you’re volunteering for the same organization.
These are just three examples but you never know what else volunteering might do for you, the benefits are endless!
What to expect from organizations when applying to become a volunteer
- Volunteer application: The first step to volunteering is usually a basic application asking for your name, contact information, availability, emergency contacts and other information that relates to the volunteer role.
- Interview: A volunteer interview is a great way for organizations and volunteers to learn more about each other. Volunteer interviews vary between organizations, but expect them to ask your motivation for volunteering and scenario questions related to the volunteer role.
- Police Information Check or Vulnerable Sector Check: An organization may request your information to obtain a police information check or a child welfare check. A police information check is a screening tool that gives the organization information about your past criminal record. A vulnerable sector check lets the organization know if you have a police record of posing a risk to vulnerable people. Depending on your volunteer role, you may need one or both of these checks to ensure that you, other volunteers, and the people involved with the organization are all safe.
- Training/Orientation: Organizations provide training and orientation to teach you more about their cause, staff and what you’ll be doing in your role. Attending training is important to get started on the right foot. Many training and orientation sessions are mandatory to begin volunteering.
- Volunteer contract: A volunteer contract is the agreement between you and the organization. The contract might include the hours you are committing to give, your responsibilities as a volunteer as well as those of the organization.