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August 11, 2022

The Importance of Volunteering

By Kevin Donaldson

Almost everyone is familiar with the concept of volunteering. Maybe you’ve even volunteered yourself. Volunteering can take many different forms—cleaning up a park, reading to children, serving meals, building housing, and more. Whatever it is you are doing when you volunteer is good and should be applauded, but it may be more important than you realize.

In fact, nearly 25% of all Americans—over 63 million people—volunteer in some form each year, with the average volunteer dedicating around 50 hours annually. With so many individuals committing so much of their time, it’s clear that volunteering is incredibly meaningful. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of volunteering and detail just how impactful it is when you choose to help out.

Why Is Volunteering Important?

Volunteering Helps Those in Need – Perhaps the main reason why volunteering is important is that it helps other people who are in need. Put simply, it makes the world a better place. Without volunteers giving their time and effort to charities and nonprofit organizations, many people would not receive the support and assistance they need to get by. For example, if an organization focused on providing housing for individuals in need didn’t have volunteers willing to help, then there wouldn’t be any houses built—or at least not as many—to provide homes for people. This doesn’t just affect people in need either.

Volunteering also has a tremendous impact on our environment and the plants and animals that make it up. Volunteers play a crucial role in protecting our planet and the species that call it home by doing things like cleaning up ocean pollution, planting trees, protecting public lands, saving wildlife, growing community gardens, and more. In this way, volunteering can be thought to help everyone living on Earth since many efforts focus on protecting the environment we all share. Other efforts also create stronger communities and society as a whole, also benefitting all people.

Charities Rely On Volunteers – Another reason why volunteer work is important is that charities and nonprofit organizations rely on it. The importance of volunteers goes beyond helping those in need, as you are also helping charities and nonprofit organizations continue to carry out their crucial missions. So even if you are only volunteering a little bit of your time, you are aiding the specific charity you are working with and allowing them to provide further assistance going forward.

Without volunteers, charities would have to pay individuals in order to carry out their work, and the money to hire the number of people needed and pay them would come directly from the charity. Currently, the average value of a volunteer hour of work is $29.95, and Americans contribute around $200 billion of their time through volunteering. This illustrates the true importance of volunteers in nonprofit organizations.

If charitable organizations ended up hiring additional staff members and paying them that rate, then they would have very little money left to carry out their mission. This would take away from the funds the charity has to maximize its impact, and would reduce the assistance they are capable of providing. Many charities already operate on shoe-string budgets and have limited staff members that cover multiple roles. Volunteers provide these organizations the opportunity to get the help they require without sacrificing what they can provide to those in need.

Volunteering Is Good for You – Volunteering isn’t just good for the people you are helping or the organizations you are volunteering with. It’s also good for you—the volunteer. Here are some of the benefits of volunteering:

  • Social Interactions – There are many social benefits of volunteering since you interact with a lot of different individuals when you volunteer—the people you are helping, fellow volunteers, or nonprofit staff members. All of these interactions help you improve your social skills and learn how to communicate with others by meeting new people that you might not have talked to normally. Some people may even turn out to become friends or networking acquaintances that can help you in your career.
  • Improved Health – Another way that volunteering is beneficial to you is that it can help you get active. Many volunteer opportunities involve lifting, moving, walking, and other physical tasks that can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve your overall health. So, you’re not only making the world a better place, but you’re also helping your body in the process.

  • New Skills – Volunteering also provides you with opportunities to learn new skills. Depending on what the specific organization needs, you may find yourself doing something that you’ve never done before. Maybe you’re tasked with building furniture or fixing something, but you’re not very handy. This opportunity gives you the time and space to work on those skills. In this way, you can develop skills that you’ve never worked on or needed before, which can help you become more knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Sense of Purpose – Volunteering is also beneficial because it can provide you with a sense of purpose. When you help those in need, it improves your self-esteem and allows you to feel that you’ve made a positive difference in the world. Instead of sitting on the couch, you got up and got out into the world and worked to make it better, and that makes you feel good about yourself.

So, it’s clear that volunteering benefits everyone involved, even those dedicating their time to help out. While you shouldn’t volunteer just for the benefits to yourself, if you are looking to make a difference and help others in your community, it can also have a positive impact on you personally.

At Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, we understand the importance of volunteering because we rely on it to carry out our critical work. Through faith, innovation, and passion—and thanks to the support of countless community partners, volunteers, donors, and advocates—Habitat Charlotte Region has made a significant impact in Charlotte and the surrounding area since its founding.

We envision a world where everyone has a decent place to live, and have served over 3,500 families as we work to make that goal a reality. We seek to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities, and hope. We are committed to serving the community while recognizing that change and adaptability are key to intensifying our impact.

Habitat Charlotte Region welcomes volunteers, supporters, and potential homeowners from all backgrounds. You can help us make a difference in the lives of others in the community by signing up to volunteer with us today! You can also get involved by supporting our work with a donation, learning more about us, or even exploring our Homebuyer Program!

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