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The Benefits of Volunteering

by Beth on February 24th, 2011

Companies that provide opportunities for their employees to volunteer reap a number of benefits.  Giving people the chance to serve the needs of others actually helps to satisfy their own needs to give back to society.  Volunteering enhances employee well-being because their positivity increases when they help others.

In addition to lifting employees up, volunteering can also help them to develop new skills that can be transferred to their jobs.  Volunteers build leadership capabilities, hone their communication skills, and learn to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds.  Another benefit is that employees who volunteer together develop closer relationships.  This is especially valuable when employees from different organizational levels or departments have the opportunity to work together.  So it isn’t surprising that a recent study in Germany found that employees who volunteer not only are more satisfied, but they perform better at work.

Volunteering can be equally beneficial for college students.  I graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee not too long ago. 😉  I was proud to see that Rhodes topped Newsweeks’ 2010 list of “Most service-minded schools”.  Rhodes has always had a strong commitment to service.  The Kinney Program, based on volunteerism, leadership and civic engagement, was established in the 1950’s and Rhodes has the oldest collegiate chapter of Habitat for Humanity in the country.  The newer Bonner Scholars Program focuses on service-learning, social change and servant leadership.  The positive emotions that Rhodes students experience through volunteering provide benefits that help them to excel in school.  Volunteering also teaches them skills that will help them to be successful after they graduate.

The truth is that everyone can benefit from volunteering.  Children, mothers who have taken a career break, retirees can all take advantage of the boost in positive emotions that volunteering provides, as well as the skills they will acquire.  Do you feel like you are too busy to volunteer?  Why not give it a try to see if the benefits make it worth your while?

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