In our modern, capitalistic world, the idea of doing something for free might sound strange. Western society has oriented itself on success and profit, people possessing honed professional skills, and being able to “sell” these skills; therefore, the idea of working for free does not fit into such an outlook. However, it strongly depends on how you look at it; for instance, volunteering, which has become popular in recent decades, is one of the greatest examples of how a job can pay off not with just money. It can be said that everyone should at least once in their lifetime try volunteering due to a number of reasons.
Although it may sound paradoxical, volunteering is one of the easiest ways to find a job. After graduating from a college or university, many get stuck in the situation of trying to find a job, but needing working experience, you cannot obtain working experience because no one hires you. Statistics show about 73% of employers would prefer to hire a person with volunteering experience in the field than a person without one; 94% of employers share the belief that volunteering helps potential employees obtain new skills and diversifies their qualification, and thus are more prone to hiring people who volunteer. Respectively, 94% of those people believe volunteering can add to one’s skills; 94% of people who were hired after a volunteering experience say such an experience aided them in getting their first job, or benefited them in other ways, such as quicker promotion, salary increases, or obtaining new skills (World Volunteer Web). Having relevant work experience obtained during volunteering and specifying it in your CV can be a kickstarter for your career, because nowadays more and more employers tend to count volunteering as actual work experience (ReachOut.com). Besides, volunteering is a great option to explore possible career opportunities if you are unsure what you would like be doing for living. Through various programs, you can try yourself in a number of organizations, working on different problems, and in different positions, without having to do job-hunting, and then job-hopping. Therefore, if you still think you do not have time to volunteer because you need to look for a job, or because volunteering could be a nuisance to your duties, you might want to reconsider your opinion.
Also, volunteering is a natural way of socialization and getting to know your surroundings, meeting new people, and finding useful contacts. Regularly meeting with a group of people who share the same activities, way of thinking, and goals can make it easier for you to make friends. Besides, volunteering could make a great example for your children; if you want to teach them responsibility, compassion, and how one person can make a difference by personally participating in solving it, you should volunteer; children tend to learn through observing what adults do, and by your example, they will have a great role model to adopt. And, of course, through volunteering, you can find a lot of useful contacts, resources, and activities for your whole family (HelpGuide).
There have been surprising research studies connecting helping other people on a voluntary basis with mental health; specifically, people who are known to be involved into different forms of selflessly helping other people, animals, and so on, felt like they were undergoing some sort of beneficial therapy. In particular, according to CSV, millions of people in the United Kingdom doing voluntary work started to feel less depressed; about 48% of those who have been involved in volunteering during the last two years felt relief in terms of depression, and improvement of their mental condition. Among more than 600 volunteers who were observed during the experiment, 63% of people aged between 25 and 34 said that volunteering reduced their stress levels—so did about 62% of volunteers over 65 years old. According to CSV’s research, volunteering also helps reduce work-related stress, and even boosts productivity: 31% of people aged between 18 and 24 said they had taken less time off work since starting to volunteer (The Guardian).
All these facts demonstrate that volunteering is a great alternative to a number of other activities, since it can help you acquire work experience and get a job; makes you more sociable, and turns you into a good role model for your children; and besides, it decreases the levels of stress we are exposed to on a daily basis, and helps people effectively combat depression. Therefore, you might want to start volunteering as soon as possible.
- “Benefits of Volunteering.” World Volunteer Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- Segal, Jeanne, and Lawrence Robinson. “Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits: How Volunteering Makes Us Healthier and Happier.” HelpGuide.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- “6 Reasons Why Volunteering is Good for You.” ReachOut.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- “Volunteering Linked to Fall in Depression.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Sept. 2004. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
Sign up and we’ll send you ebook of 1254 samples like this for free!
- 80+ essay types
- 1000+ essay samples
- Pro writing tips
Related Writing Guides
Writing a Persuasive Essay
And here are 20 from Matador members who are experienced volunteers.
1. Lola Akinmade, Matador Goods Editor
“I volunteer because ‘to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.’ — Luke 12:48. I honestly don’t know how to live outside of giving and sharing, and wouldn’t want to.”
Lola volunteers as a photojournalist with both World Hope International, documenting the organization’s projects in countries such as Nicaragua and Cambodia, and C.H.I.E.F, an NGO based in Lagos, Nigeria that promotes grassroots health development, HIV/AIDS awareness, and the empowerment of women.
Her church in Stockholm recently started a monthly food kitchen for the city’s homeless, and she hopes to work a lot more with them as well.
2. Richard Stupart, Matador Intern
“I volunteer because I find something incredibly satisfying about acting in a way that is consistent with my principles. Being able to say I changed something in the world, in the lives of others, gives meaning to my being here beyond simply looking after myself. For me, it changes my life from being purely self-centered to being something with meaning for others, too.”
Richard volunteered for South African Schools Debating, where he coached school kids and taught them critical thinking, working through issues in their communities, and learning to express their own opinions articulately on issues that concern them.
3. Leigh Shulman, Matador Life Editor
“I volunteer because it takes me out of my daily life. Because I have expertise that is easy for me to teach and yet makes a big difference to those I teach. Because it reminds me how lucky I am. Because I have been given so much in life and believe it’s important to give as well.”
Leigh volunteers at a local church in Salta, Argentina, serving lunch to school children and helping kids with their English homework.
4. Juliane Huang, Matador contributing editor
“I volunteer because it continuously teaches me something new about people, about cooperation, about compassion, and about myself. In helping others, I am reminded that we are all in this together and we need to remember to support each other. Life has so much to offer if we remember look beyond ourselves.”
Juliane volunteers at the Berkeley Free Clinic.
5. Candice Walsh, Matador Associate Editor
“I volunteer because I love my city and I need to give back something to it other than tax dollars. Also, my soul needs redemption.”
Candice volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada and Heavenly Creatures, an animal rescue organization.
6. Abbie Mood, Matador Intern
“I volunteer because I want to not just see the world, but make a difference in it.”
Abbie has volunteered at United Planet.
6. Kate Sedgwick, Matador Nights Co-Editor
“I volunteer because I have the time. I recognize that time is something I can give, if not money. I regret that I never volunteered before I left the U.S. I don’t know that I make a big difference in the lives of the kids that I work with, but I do know that I can take some pressure off of those that are able to devote more time. Sometimes that’s just got to be enough.”
Kate volunteers at Ojo de Pez and Conviven in Buenos Aires.
7. Matt Scott, Matador Intern
“I volunteer because… it often lets me get closer to a community, the people and the region- I discover so much more than simply having travelled through. Also, on the most basic level, it’s nice to feel I’ve achieved something positive with my day- rather than simply add to the profits of the Fat Cats I usually work for.”
Matt has volunteered with Share Centre Ireland, Nightingales Children’s Project,
Sudan Volunteer Programme, Bagaduish Holiday Centre, and in Appalachian Trail conservancy work.
8. Heather Knight, Member
“I volunteer because: 1) I truly like helping people. 2) I feel called to volunteer and share my talents and time with others. 3) I enjoy meeting different people from different backgrounds and cultures while volunteering. 4) I like having my comfort zone stretched and expanded. 5) It’s a lot of fun!
Heather plans to volunteer while on a RTW starting this month. Home for Hope in India and Habitat For Humanity in Thailand are on her list so far.
9. Pamm McFadden, Member
“I volunteer to learn something new or to acquire a skill that I lacked. I couldn’t go out and get a job to learn that skill, but I could volunteer and learn it.”
Pamm has volunteered in a hospital, for the local Department of Social Services, for local, national and international solar organizations, the local District Attorney’s office as an investigator, a conference organizer, and a knitter – knitting sweaters for every child in an orphanage outside of Lhasa, Tibet.
10. Nola Lee Kelsey, Member
“I volunteer because I can’t handle seeing any animal suffering as if no one cares and because it makes me feel alive.”
Nola has volunteered with Care for Dogs in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
11. Barb Hautanen, Member
“I volunteer because I want to demonstrate to individuals around the world that someone from ‘way over there’ does care about them, that all Americans are not like those seen on TV or at their country’s tourist destinations. Now, when I hear about about war, political situations, natural disasters, crime, and more in foreign countries, I can picture faces and remember names of people living in those countries.”
Barb has volunteered with Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center in Sulawesi, Indonesia and African Impact.
12. Hal Amen, Matador Trips Co-Editor
“I volunteer because I’ve seen firsthand people living in plywood shacks in Vietnam, the Philippines, Mexico, Bolivia and people playing golf on a Tuesday at a Beverly Hills Country Club, the only difference between them being where they were born. The system obviously doesn’t work, so we have to.”
Hal has volunteered with Sustainable Bolivia and Asociacion Mapu.
13. Susan Greenwood, Matador writer
“I volunteer because I feel it is part of being a human being. I think we are designed to help one another. Help comes in many forms, and I believe that volunteering is one way to accomplish what we are supposed to accomplish in this lifetime. Bottom line, it just feels good inside to give unconditionally.”
Susan has volunteered for the American Diabetes Association,Girls on the Run, (http://www.girlsontherun.org/) and City of Hope’s breast cancer research initiatives.
14. Jamie L. Worms, Member
“I volunteer not so much to help others, but to gain some perspective about my own life. But in the end, I suppose I accomplish both.”
Jamie has volunteered with Catalytic Communities, CIACAC, and Calle.
15. Kelsey Gryniewicz, Member
“I volunteer because I can. It’s as simple as that. If you could do something to help the world around you, why wouldn’t you?”
Kelsey volunteers with AIDE at Casa Luz in Costa Rica.
16. Sheethal Shobowale, Member
“I volunteer because I enjoy helping people. Besides, it is professionally and personally fulfilling and great karma!”
Sheethal volunteers with the microloan organization, KIVA.
17. Melanie Campbell, Member
“I volunteer for experience to put on my resume.”
Melanie has volunteered at St. Paul’s College, a school for children and teens with disabilties, and at a primary school working with refugee children.
18. Jane Stanfield, Member
“I volunteer because I always want to learn something new.”
Jane volunteers with Earthwatch.
19. Kirsty Henderson, Member
“I volunteer because it lets me get involved in a community in a way I would never get to if I were just passing through as a traveler. It also keeps me fit and allows me to save money. Volunteering for weeks or months at a time could allow you to live more cheaply than you would at home.”
Kirsty volunteers with Hands on Disaster Response.
20. Julie Schwietert, Matador’s Managing Editor
“I volunteer because I need to feel I can take meaningful action. Until the election of President Obama, I felt like the traditional ways for people to be involved in resolving social problems had been usurped. Volunteering was one way to still make a difference and will always remain one way to exercise your rights, responsibilities, and power.”
Julie has volunteered with the Culinary Corps, Project Liberty, and has participated in virtual voluntourism with JobAngels.
If you’d like to get started volunteering, but aren’t quite sure how, our Volunteering Abroad Focus Page offers lots of useful resources.