Daily Archives: November 23, 2011

Giving a Helping Hand with Holiday Volunteering Can Give Back to You

Holidayvolunteer_nov2011_webWith the holiday season in full swing, you may be busy getting all of your holiday planning together with seeing family, taking extra days off from work, and gift buying. What may not be on your mind is volunteering. With several charities and nonprofits needing extra help with holiday festivities and programs, the need for volunteers increases. Donating money will always be a welcome gift to any charity, but if money is tight and not in your budget, consider donating time for a cause you believe in.

It’s commonly known that volunteering has several benefits when looking for a job, but what you might not realize is that volunteering through work or while employed can have several benefits you may not realize. Here are some ways volunteering your time during the holidays can help your career while helping your community.

Stress Relief

More workers are feeling stressed at work than ever before. With sluggish hiring trends in the U.S., employees generally have to deal with more responsibilities without the help of co-workers and even more when employees go on vacation. Stress is notorious for being a health issue, but being stressed out the entire time is going to affect your productivity too.

You could release stress with a vacation or spa day, but even small vacations and simple spas can be expensive and take time to plan, which could add to the stress you’re trying to get rid of. However, you can relieve tension by volunteering your time and efforts. There’s something about the feeling you get from helping others. It allows you to release endorphins and you end up feeling as if you’ve just had a vacation, except you haven’t had to pay a penny for it.

Sharpen Your Skills

Earlier this year, a survey was conducted by the University of California San Diego Extension's Center for Global Volunteer Service where respondents showed that volunteering was beneficial for developing important skills in the workplace. 73% of respondents who had volunteered said it helped in their development as a leader at work, 61% reported it helped with their creativity and resourcefulness, and 73% felt it increased their intercultural awareness and sensitivity.  

No matter who you volunteer for or what task you have agreed to do, there is a learning experience if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Many local charities don’t have the resources to hire people, so look for opportunities to donate your job skills when volunteering. Not only will you practice your craft and skill, but you’re also helping out a worthwhile cause. 

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

When you’re stuck in the daily grind, sometimes it’s hard to stay positive about your company or position.  During the holiday season, it can be even harder when there’s extra work to be done, but not extra time to do it. Taking the time to volunteer will help you recharge your batteries and learn to appreciate your employer as a whole, especially if you can find holiday volunteer opportunities through your company.

Deloitte, an audit, financial advisory, tax, and consulting firm, published a volunteer impact survey this year. Deloitte found that 55% of employees who frequently participate in a company’s sponsored volunteer activities are likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive, compared with 36% of employees who don’t volunteer.

We all know volunteering is the right thing to do, but sometimes giving our time costs more than donating money. We often don’t think about the benefits that can come from offering a little time and energy. What kind of success stories have you had when volunteering through your employer or on your own?