Benefits of Volunteering

Martin Luther King Jr. defined the path to greatness as being attained through community service. He said, "Everybody can be great … because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve…. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

When you volunteer, you begin your path to greatness. You benefit countless others. And there are also benefits for you. Listed below are several of these benefits.

  1. Learn New Skills: Usually we have to pay to take a class to learn something new. Volunteering is a way to learn new skills free of charge. Learn how to build a house by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Learn how to feed large groups of people at Meals on Wheels or a food pantry. Gain professional experience by helping with office work at Compassion Ministries or by being an administrative assistant at Talitha Koum. Learn how to farm or grow a garden by volunteering at the World Hunger Relief farm or a community garden. Improve your public speaking by being a zoo Instructor at Cameron Park Zoo.
  2. Strengthen Your Resume: Volunteering is an excellent way to round out your resume. This is especially true if you have no previous work experience. Look for volunteering opportunities in the areas you would like to work in. You might also get a good letter of recommendation to help distinguish you from other applicants.
  3. Scholarship Opportunities: When applying for scholarships, volunteering experience definitely gives you an edge. In fact, many organizations that use volunteers offer their own scholarships.
  4. Networking: Meeting new people can be a lot of fun and can also help you make valuable connections. By getting to know other people working in your future career field, you can gain valuable advice and mentors. If you end up applying for a paid position within the organization, they’ll be able to put a face to the name on your resume, and you'll already have demonstrated your commitment.
  5. Explore New Career Paths: Ever wanted to test out a career before committing to it? Volunteering is the perfect way to do so. For example, if you think you might enjoy working in the veterinary field, try volunteering at the Animal Birth Control Clinic to get a realistic idea of what that would entail. If you think you want to work in early childhood development, try volunteering at AVANCE. Volunteering can also be a good way to get your foot in the door. When volunteers do an exceptional job, their volunteer position can sometimes act as a stepping stone to a paid position.
  6. Make a Difference: Volunteering is a way to show your community that you care and a way to see your community in a new perspective.

(Dr. King quote from "The Drum Major Instinct" given on Feb. 4, 1968.)