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5 Surprising Benefits of Volunteering

“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” - Gordon Hinckle

Here are five surprising benefits of volunteering:

  1. Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time. Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that her research found those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. This is similar to other research showing that people who donate to charity feel wealthier.
  2. 2. Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills. In my experience, skills-based volunteering is an excellent opportunity to develop talents to help you get ahead in your career. In fact, an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review called skills-based volunteering overseas “the next executive training ground.”

At MovingWorlds, we’ve found that skills development in technical and leadership-related areas is the primary reason corporations invest in international skills-based volunteering programs.

(MOREVolunteering Pays for Job Hunters)

3. Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body. A Corporation for National & Community Service report noted: “Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”

The fact that volunteering has been proven to make you healthier is reason enough to engage in pro bono activities. For more information on this, read “Can Volunteering Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease?

4. Volunteering your experience helps build your experience. We consistently see this with highly skilled professionals like investment bankers and business consultants. Also, volunteering in a new industry will give you knowledge to help you switch fields. And if you want to move from the corporate world to the nonprofit sector, volunteering first can help prove your commitment.

Beyond our own research, The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and Next Avenue have published articles about how volunteering can help you earn your next job.

As the Journal wrote: “According to the survey of 202 human-resource executives, skilled volunteer work — such as helping a nonprofit with its finances — makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring manager.”