We tend to associate volunteering with folks who are philanthropic or wealthy. However, today, all kinds of people are trying to work towards making a difference — irrespective of how generous and rich (or not) they are.
Did you know that giving back can greatly benefit you too? Here are 4 practical reasons why you must make time for volunteering:
1. It Gives You Better Perspective
When life gets overwhelming, we view nearly everything in a pessimistic light. Helping others enables you to zoom out of your problems and look at the bigger picture instead. It makes you understand that nobody has it easy and things could always be worse.
Indore-based teacher Prakash Shetty* (30) agrees. “It doesn’t sound altruistic, but that doesn’t make it any less true: sometimes, you need to look at how much worse someone else has it to recognise that you are not doing so bad, after all.
“It’s not like you are looking down on them; it just helps you be more grateful and aware of the people around you. This is exactly why I always encourage my teen students to volunteer.” (*name changed for privacy)
2. It Is Good for Your Career
Volunteering can add to your career graph too. Some of the benefits include: you get better at time management, and you improve your communication skills while picking up new skills like being calm in crises. You also expand your personal and professional network.
Volunteer work is basically one of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone and reinvent yourself while doing some good. It looks great on your resume and LinkedIn profile as well. What’s more, you can even volunteer virtually.
3. It Opens Up Travel Opportunities
For those who love to travel, here’s some good news: there are numerous organisations across India that offer volunteer opportunities in idyllic travel destinations. With locations like Goa, Kashmir and Ladakh, you’re in for a treat that’s good for the eyes and good for the soul.
If you’d like some diversity in the kind of work as well, there’s NGOs like Ladli and Kolkata Sanved.
4. It Enhances Creativity & Enables You to Think on Your Feet
In our everyday lives, we usually become accustomed to a daily routine. Volunteering helps one break free from habit, and tap into their spontaneous and creative side.
Hyderabad-based creativity consultant Bhavana Nissima (44) says, “When you volunteer, you may encounter situations where usual systems don’t work. You have to be creative and learn to use existing resources smartly.
“For example, when VOICE volunteers launched an InCrisisRelief effort in Garo Hills in Meghalaya, we had to build networks from scratch and utilise our connections in Guwahati to supply relief. It was a massive exercise in creativity.”
So you see, volunteering is not just a personally rewarding activity. It can help you in both, your personal and professional life. There’s really no excuse not to do it.
What are your reasons for volunteering? Let us know in the comments below.
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Mahevash Shaikh is the twenty-something author of Busting Clichés. She loves to write, draw and laugh (among other things). You can find her using words and pictures to express herself and redefine the word "normal" at www.mahevashmuses.com.