Volunteering is generally considered a selfless activity where an individual or a group provides services freely for no financial gain and in the process benefit another person, group or organization.
The verb was first recorded in 1755. It was derived from the noun ‘Volunteer’, in late 16th century and meant at that time “One who offers himself for military service.” and it originated from the Middle French ‘Volontaire’ . In the non-military sense, the word was first recorded during the 1630s.
This term rapidly has changed over the time and has been spread widely until it became as we know it today. It crossed the lines of wars and made its way to each aspect of life. Over the past couple years, we rarely see someone who doesn’t volunteer in any kind of activities even if it’s inside the campus or outside with a sole purpose; to benefit the community in which someone resides. However, there are many kinds of volunteering more than what you know. Most popular and globally recognized volunteering activities for undergrads nowadays are Enactus, IEEE, TEDx and AEISEC.
So, how can you benefit from volunteering?
- You expand your personal and professional networks
- You learn new and transferable skills
- It’s an opportunity for career exploration
- You build a track record of work for a specific cause
- Hiring managers value volunteerism
- Brings fun and a sense of fulfillment to your life
Volunteering effect on recruiting and engaging
Did you know that today’s employees are increasingly entering the workforce with an expectation that volunteering will be a part of their professional careers?
PriceWaterhouseCoopers discovered that 88% of Millennials gravitated toward companies with pronounced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, and 86% would consider leaving if their employer’s CSR no longer met their expectations.
And according to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, 61% of Millenials said a volunteer program would be a factor when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits.
Deloitte found that over 50% of Millennial employees that volunteer are very loyal toward their company, proud to work there, satisfied with their employer, and likely to recommend their company to a friend.
Voulenteering effect on professional development
In a Skills-Based Volunteerism (SBV) program where volunteers use their professional skills in a different capacity to benefit a nonprofit or other organization — the gains that a business’ employees make are two-fold. First, they’ll hone their day-to-day skills: employees who participate in SBV programs are 142% more likely to report job-related skills gains than traditional volunteers, according to a True Impact report.
Secondly, exposure to a new environment — and new challenges — will allow employees to break out of their ‘comfort zone’ and develop other skills away from the office. According to Deloitte, 91% of Fortune 500 HR managers said, “Volunteering knowledge and expertise to a non-profit can be an effective way to cultivate critical business and leadership skills,” such as project management, communication, goal setting and evaluation.
Apart from developing their skills, SBV programs have the added benefit of being especially good at creating more engaged and fulfilled employees. According to True Impact, volunteers in SBV programs are 47% more likely to report higher satisfaction from their involvement than traditional volunteers, which means that in developing their employees’ skills, businesses are more likely to retain their talent as well.
This is the era of volunteering. It became largely associated with our lives that every household has a member or more who has done or still doing volunteer work. All for the sake of our community, and in the process of giving, you gain. You gain knowledge, skills, exposure to different environments and fulfillment. So volunteer and make a small impact because we all know that the ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.