Volunteer – You’ll Get More than You Give
I recently had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker to kick off the annual general meeting for the Georgian Bay Hospital Volunteer Committee. I have always experienced such personal satisfaction from the many different volunteer assignments I had done and I was delighted when I was asked to volunteer to speak. In preparation for my talk I did a little research and was quite surprised at some of the statistics. I found information ranging from 2007 up to and including 2011 on the impact that volunteering has on the Canadian communities.
I made sure to note that without volunteers there would be a huge void and anyone who volunteers should feel so proud to be one of the people that absolutely make a huge difference in the world.
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 that’s 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 one can experience from volunteering:
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 volunteer and think that you don’t make a difference – think again – you do – a BIG difference!
I had the members of the committee share with each other some of their positive experiences they had from volunteering as well as I shared a couple my own. The room was buzzing with energy and excitement when I was leaving and the president thanked me for volunteering and getting everyone present to their personal contribution. I closed with this quote by Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
As with all the volunteer assignments I have participated in, I left feeling satisfied that I had made a contribution. I encourage everyone to look for any opportunity to volunteer, you will definitely get more than you give.