Why Volunteering Pays
Remember that episode of Friends where Phoebe channels philosopher Immanual Kant and argues that there is no truly selfless act?
It’s well documented that donating your time to a worthy cause not only does good, it is also good for you in that it can make you feel happier and even healthier.
I just finished volunteering on a committee for Offleashed, the BC SPCA’s first ever gala in Vancouver. While I have donated my time and money to various causes and initiatives, I’ve never been on a committee before. It always sounded like something that well-to-do middle aged under-employed ladies do. (Don’t say it.) And while yes, there can be an element of that, this experience benefited me in ways that I never imagined.
1) Volunteering is a great place to brush up on your skills or learn new ones.
Into cooking? Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Want to be a project manager? Join an organizing committee. I sharpened a variety of skills and learned that I am actually pretty good at asking people for stuff. (This also applies to interning. Few better ways to learn about a specific field.)
2) Volunteering gets you out of the house.
With over 11% of Canadians working from home, this is indescribably valuable. Not to mention that getting off the computer and talking to real live people encourages showering and wearing of non-sweats.
3) Volunteering is a great place to connect with new people with similar passions.
Adults (especially ones without children) can find it difficult to make new friends. I befriended some great, inspiring people during my time on the committee. Plus, by contacting local businesses to solicit their support, (thank you all for your auction items and donations!) I reconnected with my community.
4) Volunteering can restore your faith in humanity.
Here’s all of you, working together on something bigger than yourselves, wanting to do the best job possible. We didn’t even have time to take selfies. Imagine that.
5) Volunteering can lead to paid work.
When people ask me about how to get into TV, I tell the same story. Work for free, be valuable, become indispensable and it can lead to more. We’ve hired a number of great people that way. Not saying this happens every time, but regardless, volunteering is also a valuable addition to your resume.
I’m happy to report that we raised $110,000 for BC’s animals.
Top photo: Me with Isabelle and Vancouver Sun columnist Malcolm Parry at Offleashed
All photos courtesy Jonathan Cruz