“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
– Winston Churchill.
The official definition of volunteering states: “Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.”
A 2016 survey by Volunteering Australia said that 48% of Australians take part in formal volunteering, 40% take part in both formal and informal volunteering, and 6% only do informal volunteering. The last 6% do not do any kind of volunteering whatsoever.
The survey also said that 99% of volunteers would continue to engage in volunteering in the future, and 93% saw positive changes as a result of their volunteering efforts. 67% of volunteer-involving organisations stated that volunteers bring new insights into their organisation. 57% of staff in volunteer-involving organisations are actually volunteers themselves.
Most volunteers (58% in 2010) only work with one organisation, and 38% work at least once a week. Others volunteer less frequently. But this isn’t a bad thing – volunteering doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-term commitment! It can be done in small, simple ways that can still be beneficial!
Whether it’s short- and long-term, volunteering has the potential to improve people’s quality of life. It has lots of benefits, including happiness. International research also suggests that volunteers are more likely to be healthier, and be able to sleep better. This has been consistent in over 50 separate investigative research projects!
Volunteering can also improve social connections and opportunities for employment!
In other words: volunteering can improve your life, health, and well-being.
Research says that volunteering only two or three hours a week (which calculates as 100 hours a year) results in the largest benefits for people and for the organisations or causes they’re supporting.
For some people, work is the root cause of depression. I believe we are spiritual beings inhabiting a body. There are certain things we should be doing based on our personality and experiences that will give us the most pleasure and enable us to give back to society. For some of us, the things we do for a living are the opposite of this.
Volunteering is a perfect way to give back to society in a pleasurable manner.
Volunteering in this way that not only provide you with a purpose that aligns more with your life path, but benefits others too. Even if you only volunteer a couple of hours a week, you’ll still make a difference.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities out there, across eight sectors: corporate; tourism (or voluntourism); education; community services; emergency services; sport and recreation; environment, heritage, and animal welfare; and the arts.
If you’re keen to volunteer, there’ll no doubt be one that’ll suit you.
I’m a volunteer myself. I started volunteering at Volunteering Tasmania in May 2017 after finishing an internship there, and I’m loving every second of it.
I help with media and communications, and assist with admin tasks. From time-to-time I also help out with official events like symposiums and network meetings. On top of this, I also write profiles on fellow volunteers for local newspapers.
Through this work I’ve gained experience in journalism, media, and communications (which I also studied at university). I’ve also learnt more about the craft of writing, and have met and worked with some amazing people.
But above all, volunteering has given me a sense of purpose. I’m job hunting at the moment, but instead of sitting at home all day, volunteering has given me a reason to leave the house and do something productive.
Words by Callum J. Jones