Volunteers Make a Difference by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
I personally have volunteered in many capacities throughout my life and have always felt I often got more from volunteering than the organization I volunteered with. I have often said if leaders could inspire their employees to contribute in the same way volunteers do, companies would improve morale, productivity and the bottom line. I was impressed when I did a little research and found the following statistics:
12.5 Million Canadians volunteer every year
2.1 Billion is the number of hours that Canadians volunteer that equals 1.1 million full time jobs
And thats not all…
54% of all non-profit and charitable organizations have no paid staff…
73% of businesses either support or accommodate employee volunteering
95% of Canadians engage in at least one form of social support
So why do we do it?
When it comes to volunteering all that is needed is passion and positivity!
People volunteer for many different reasons and some of these include:
1) To make a contribution to their community
2) The desire to make use of their personal skills and experiences
3) Having been personally affected by the cause they support
There are many benefits that you may or may not be aware of:
1) Helps to build self-esteem and life satisfaction (it gives you a healthy boost to your self confidence and natural sense of accomplishment an enhanced sense of pride)
2) Strengthen community helps people connect and make new friends and support systems, which results in a stronger community
3) Improve health combats depression as it keeps you in regular contact with others and helps develop a strong support system. Volunteering is especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have shown that volunteers have a lower mortality rate than those who do not and volunteering has also been shown to lessen the symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
Something interesting to note: Children and youth are more likely to become engaged citizens if they see someone they admire helping others including their parents or grandparents
So if you ever think that that you dont make a difference think again you do a BIG difference!
I know that I have had many experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have done volunteer work for the Women Moving Forward Conference, United Way, Free the Children, Vipassana (meditation centre), Big Sisters, Landmark Education, Leisureworld and Thornhill Hospice.
From these experiences I really understand that in giving we get….. and although it is not our intention to volunteer in order to get something… I believe we get so much more than we give….
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead