Give a little: why volunteering is a great option for you

What do you get when you cross a CEO, a volunteer manager, and a cleaner? A situation that is not too uncommon in most voluntary organisations. There’s no doubt that the voluntary sector could do with your time and expertise, so why not join the estimated 19 million Brits who volunteer at least once a year and the 13 million plus who do it regularly?

Before you think ‘boring’, hang on; this article could do many good things for you. In fact, it could change the whole course of your life. I don’t think it’s possible to exaggerate the positive impact of volunteering; not just on others, but also on your own life’s chances.

Churchill once said: ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’

The benefits of volunteering

Let’s take a look at how volunteering could enable employment doors to open for you through the experiences and insights you gain and the new people you meet.  

The Bible has to say about giving our time to others: ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others…’ (1 Peter 4:10).

Without question, volunteering is a good thing to do, not just to help others but also yourself. Here are some indirect benefits:

  • When you stay home you get too many telemarketing calls
  • Your family could use a break from you
  • Daytime TV sucks

On the serious side, volunteering can help your employment prospects by:

  • Injecting you with renewed passion, energy and self-confidence
  • Enabling you to rub shoulders with people from different walks of life, giving you the opportunity to find new sounding boards, fresh sources of wisdom, different perspectives and signposts to new networks
  • Giving you the chance for self-development and to step out of your comfort zone with minimal risk
  • Offering you the ability to learn additional skills
  • Enhancing your job interview content. When asked about relevant experience or success stories, volunteering allows you to wax lyrical about your achievements
  • Allowing you to enjoy a new experience

How can I find the time?

Here’s a fact you possibly didn’t know: more than 25% of all small and medium-sized businesses and 70% of FTSE 100 companies in the UK have pledged to pay their employees for up to three days per year to perform some sort of volunteer work. This adds up to an impressive 16,998,896 hours per year! However, the number of people who actually take up this offer is rarely above 20% of the workforce. So if you think you might struggle to take time off to carry out voluntary work, why not ask if your boss is willing to give you some paid leave?

There are many ways to volunteer, such as in your local church, Cub/Scout troop, hospital, youth group, city farm or environmental group, all of which will give you the chance to gain new skills and a reference that could help you secure your next job.

There is also a wealth of resources on the internet:

Click here to search a broad range of part-time and full-time roles

Click here for more career-related tips

Charles Humphries runs Want2get on?, a unique career coaching service that offers one-on-one support for those who want to apply their Christian faith to their job situations in a practical way. Follow Charles on Twitter @CHumphreys1

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