While we may lead busy lives, helping the community is something that we should always make time for. Not only does giving back help you feel good, but there are surprisingly many benefits to uplifting those around you. Let’s take a look at the many ways to give back to the community, and see just how volunteering can benefit you in return!
Ways to Help Your Community
Thinking about getting involved in uplifting your community? Here are the ways you can do it!
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Participating in volunteering activities is one of the most fulfilling ways to help the community.
From visiting hospital patients to becoming a school governor, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Consider doing something you’ve done before, or something that you know you are good at. For all you know, volunteering could put you on a new career path! Take a look at VolunteerMatch to find volunteering opportunities near you.
2. Clean Up Your Neighborhood
By picking up trash and doing some yard work, you can make your area a more pleasant place to live. This type of outreach is proof that even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference.
3. Help Your Neighbors
Every day, there are people around you who may be going through difficult times without you even knowing it. Their problems could be financial, physical, or psychological. In fact, loneliness is a growing issue that is often difficult to detect.
By taking some time to get to know your neighbors, you can find out more about the challenges they face and develop ways to help them. Whether the solution is planning a budget, doing some grocery shopping, or even having a brief chat, a little effort can make a large difference in their lives.
4. Donate Stuff
There are more ways to help the community than by just contributing your time or money. Even by donating your unwanted possessions, you could be helping someone in need.
Consider donating unwanted items to charity shops, or contributing unused food to a food bank.
You could also think of starting your own collection at your school, church, business, or community center.
5. Money Donations
If you do find that you have some extra money on hand, then consider donating a small amount to a local charity. Before you do, however, make sure that your charity of choice is a real charity.
You can check that the charity is legitimate by searching for it on GuideStar.org. This website will provide the charity’s name, registration number, and contact details.
Benefits of Volunteering
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1. Connects You to Others
By committing to a shared activity, you get the opportunity to meet other people and make new friends. This is especially useful if you are new to an area.
Volunteering with other people will also help you to improve your social skills. While some people are naturally outgoing, others may be shy, so doing activities with other people will give them the opportunity to develop their social skills.
Volunteering can also help you to strengthen your existing friendships. By working together on something that you are both passionate about, volunteering can strengthen the bond between you and an existing friend.
2. Makes You Energized and Happy
Having social contact with others while volunteering can relieve stress and also put you in a good mood. Being in a social setting can help combat feelings of loneliness and depression.
As you do good for others and your community, you will start to feel a sense of achievement. This will help to improve your self-confidence. Also, the time you spend volunteering will help to take your mind off of your own worries.
For many older people who are retired, volunteer work can provide a sense of purpose. This sense of purpose can exist for volunteers at any age, however — especially once they see the results of the good that they are doing.
Moreover, volunteering is good for your physical wellbeing. Volunteering can help you develop your thinking skills and keep you physically active. For older volunteers, the physical aspects of volunteering help them to cope with everyday tasks and avoid issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
3. Boosts Your Career
Doing volunteer work can help you to acquire skills that you can use in your profession. An example would be learning how to cope with a crisis as a result of working at a women’s shelter.
In turn, you can also apply your job skills when volunteering. For example, if you work in marketing or communications, you could decide to work on raising awareness for a cause you believe in.
4. It’s Fun
By volunteering in an area that is meaningful to you, you can enjoy yourself while making a difference at the same time.
Consider your goals and interests when deciding on volunteer opportunities to pursue. You could decide to volunteer in an area that is closely related to a hobby of yours, or even use volunteering as a means of getting a break from work.
Weighing Volunteering Opportunities
In order to get the most fulfillment out of your volunteering, there are a few factors to consider.
1. Ask Questions:
Decide whether the volunteer opportunity is a good match for your skills, goals, and the amount of time you have to contribute. Consider whether you will be working with other people and if there is any training you will need to complete.
2. Know the Requirements:
Understand what the organization expects from volunteers. Make sure that you are not taking on more responsibilities than you can handle.
3. If You Don’t Enjoy It, Make a Change:
Don’t feel like you have to stay committed to a volunteering opportunity that you don’t enjoy. Look for an organization that seems to be better suited to you.
4. Be Careful When Considering Opportunities Overseas:
Some volunteering opportunities in other countries can do more harm than good, especially if they take away paying jobs from underprivileged local people. If you decide to volunteer overseas, then make sure that you use a reputable organization.
Ways to Help Your Community
No matter where your interests lie, there are a number of ways that you can lend a helping hand.
Interpersonal Types of Volunteering
If you love working with people, consider getting involved in the following ways:
- Become a mentor to school or university students
- Be a school governor
- Teach a class at a community center
- Be an ambassador for a local cause
- Work in a charity shop
- Visit the elderly
- Do fundraising for a cause you believe in
Hospitals Can Also Use Your Help
Paying a visit to hospital patients is an easy way to help out. By spending just a few moments with a patient, you can instantly brighten their day and help them combat loneliness.
Donating blood is a quick and easy way to help out. While it takes just a few moments to donate blood, the blood that you give can be used to save the lives of others in times of emergency.
Volunteering for Animal Lovers
If you are concerned about the natural environment and wildlife, then consider getting involved in a conservation project. From protecting biodiversity to endangered species, conservation projects offer a great way to show that you care.
You can also consider looking after animals. There are plenty of abandoned, abused, and homeless dogs and cats in shelters who desperately need support, love, and affection. Donating dog and cat food is also a helpful way to get involved.
Farming is another great way to volunteer. While you may find yourself working with animals, getting involved with the cultivation of crops and other types of food will help to ensure that people in need are fed.
If you are someone who likes to get involved in manual labor, then here are some useful forms of volunteer work that you can take on:
- Consider working in a charity shop — this will help you polish up your sales skills.
- Cleaning up trash will help make the neighborhood a more pleasant place to live.
- Gardening will not only make the neighborhood more attractive, but could also result in the removal of weeds and harmful garden insects.
- If you want to take on a trade such as building and carpentry, then consider helping to build an affordable home. Painting and repairing houses are also options.
- Consider driving elderly or disabled people who have a hard time getting around.
To help decrease people’s hunger, you could consider donating food to a food drive or even starting your own. There are also homeless shelters that could use the help of volunteers to help serve meals.
Volunteering Remotely or Creatively
If physical distance is an issue, you could consider working remotely for the cause that you are passionate about. People who are creative can also use their talents to help those in need.
Remote and creative activities could include:
- Managing the social media accounts of charities to raise awareness
- Writing blog posts for non-profit organizations
- Doing photography
- Performing a musical instrument to entertain people at a hospital, retirement home, or a children’s home.
Online volunteering is also a viable option. By choosing an online opportunity that matches your skills, you can advance your professional career. It is also a great way to prove your communication skills as most of the communication is done through emails. Visit websites such as AllForGood and VolunteerMatch to find online volunteer opportunities.