Volunteering Ventures: 7 Ways You Benefit from Helping Your Community

Volunteering Ventures: 7 Ways You Benefit from Helping Your Community

3/21/2024

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USBA Volunteers for the Community - Volunteering Hands

Many of us have super busy lives and can’t imagine fitting one more thing in, but did you know that volunteering can be as good for the volunteer as it is for the cause? Volunteering has obvious benefits to the community and people in need, but the benefits of volunteering can be vast for the volunteer as well. Matching with the right organization can help you stay physically active, learn new skills, and connect with a community that values you.

7 Ways You Benefit from Helping Your Community

  1. Creating meaningful connections
    Whether it is meeting new people, strengthening existing friendships, or connecting with a furry friend in need, contributing your time helps bond you with your broader community. These connections are especially meaningful because they stem from common interests.
  2. Advance or launch your career
    Volunteering may not come with a paycheck, but you can certainly capitalize on your time giving back. Volunteer opportunities can provide real-world experience for those just entering the workforce or looking to take on a new role or industry. It is also a great way to expand your professional network by making genuine connections with people who share your passion.
  3. Learn something new
    Donating your time means you don’t have to be the expert. This is oftentimes a chance to learn and potentially master new skills. For example, you could learn about art history by volunteering at a museum. Or you can become a crisis counselor while helping at a women’s shelter. You can even gain insights into nutrition while working at a food bank.
  4. Stay active and support your physical health
    Many volunteer activities can keep you moving and on your feet. From caring for animals, building houses or shelters, packaging supplies, or even working an event, many organizations have opportunities to keep you physically active. Some studies have shown that people who volunteer are less likely to develop high blood pressure.
  5. Improve your mental health
    As humans, we are practically hard-wired to want to give to others. Volunteering releases dopamine, also known as the feel-good hormone. This can reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. Researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure, so the more we give, the happier we feel. 
  6. Improves social skills
    Social skills don’t come naturally to all of us. Volunteering allows you to give back to something you believe in while also developing your social skills among a group of people with common interests. This natural association makes creating genuine connections easier and even making new friends.
  7. Explore a passion and be fulfilled
    Volunteering is a great way to explore passions and interests. Finding volunteer work that’s meaningful and interesting can be an energizing escape from your everyday commitments. Oftentimes, this can provide you with renewed enthusiasm that can carry over into your personal and professional life.

Volunteering as Part of Your Workday
Volunteers are a critical part of so many communities and organizations that help those in need. Many companies support this by offering an allocated number of paid volunteer hours during the work week each year. This allows employees to reap the benefits of giving back alongside their workplace team.

Each year, USBA dedicates three days to giving back as a team. They spend a day building tiny homes for Veterans experiencing homelessness at the Veterans Community Project. The other two days, they contribute to Wreaths Across America, laying wreaths on the headstones of fallen soldiers at the beginning of December and helping clean them up when it is time

“My first day at USBA was our annual Veterans Community Project volunteer day. Spending those first hours alongside my new team helped me get to know them as people, not just coworkers,” said Adrienne Maxwell, Marketing Manager, USBA. “It also showed me a lot about what USBA is as a company.”

USBA employees volunteering at VCP and Harvesters
USBA members gathering food and other items to donate to VCP and Harvesters. Fall 2023

Finding the Right Volunteering Opportunity
Whether through work or in your personal time, finding a volunteer opportunity that fulfills you is a great way to help your community and can benefit you in many meaningful ways. Volunteering doesn’t have to take up too much of your day or require a long-term commitment. You and the organization in need can benefit from whatever efforts your schedule allows. 

Start by determining where your passions lie and whom you want to help — your neighborhood, an underserved community, children, animals or pets, the elderly, children in school, a hospital or clinical setting, museums or theaters, parks or outdoors, a religious group — the possibilities are endless. From there, research opportunities that work within your available time and your schedule to find the right fit. 

Your time is valuable, and happy volunteers make the best help, so if you don’t find the right fit immediately, don’t be afraid to try a different one. Matching with the right organization will help you give the most and connect with a community that appreciates you. The most valuable volunteers bring a positive attitude, an open mind, and a willingness to help.

USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.

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