By Kurt Webber, TPG Consultant
A few weeks ago I was asked to conduct 6, 15 minute presentations to high school and college students on the benefits of volunteering. With the sessions a few weeks away, I began my research on how volunteering would benefit this group from a professional perspective. I had this handled: looks good on a resume, promotes teambuilding, helps with networking, connects you with peers, helps to define a career path, develops new skills, etc.
What didn’t register with me were all the personal benefits one could gain from volunteering. Things like improving physical and mental health didn’t even enter my mind…how people who volunteer suffer less depression and recover quicker from depression if they do volunteer work. It also helps individual’s self-esteem, self-confidence, their sense of achievement, among a host of other areas.
Do it because you love it!
I recently met with the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Special Olympics on how people could help. My initial objective was from a corporate perspective, but his number one area of need was individual volunteers. And not just visible volunteers, but volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make activities and events go smoothly…people who don’t want to do it to be seen or to enhance their professional careers; they do it because the love it.
With a son who is heavily involved in Special Olympics as an athlete, I see firsthand the volunteers and the fact that they are the life blood of the organization. They are of every age, gender, and ethnicity. They do it because they love it.
I personally think it is fantastic when employees participate in their organization’s charity events by volunteering to take part. But, I would also encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone and do volunteer work for an organization that lights a fire in you. Do it because you love it!