Why is volunteering important? 5 science-backed reasons

Learn some fascinating reasons why volunteering is important, from helping you get a better job to quelling anxiety to increasing your lifespan (yes, really).





Nonprofit Strategies
Nonprofit Strategies

Why is volunteering important? 5 science-backed reasons

Learn some fascinating reasons why volunteering is important, from helping you get a better job to quelling anxiety to increasing your lifespan (yes, really).





Learn some fascinating reasons why volunteering is important, from helping you get a better job to quelling anxiety to increasing your lifespan (yes, really).





Kylie Davis

January 26, 2022

Every nonprofit—from grassroots startups to multi-million dollar organizations—depend on volunteers to support their cause. 

Research shows that volunteers contribute nearly $200 billion to bettering our communities each year. Nonprofits rely on volunteers to do things like collect donations, spread the word on upcoming fundraising events, or check in runners at a charity run/walk. Therefore, you need to develop a solid recruitment strategy to encourage passionate volunteers to join your organization.

Fortunately, volunteering offers a win-win situation for both volunteers and nonprofits alike. Research shows that volunteering can boost self-esteem, improve job prospects, and even harness new social skills. Below, we answer the question, "Why is volunteering important?" according to the latest scientific research.

Why is volunteering important? 5 reasons to give potential recruits 

Why is volunteering important: Katniss I Volunteer GIF

Are you currently assembling a team of passionate, highly committed volunteers? If your nonprofit organization relies on volunteers to accomplish your mission, you need strong messaging to increase potential sign-ups. Below, we offer eight of the best benefits of volunteering to help recruit an extra set of hands. 

1. It can make you feel better 🙋

Feeling a little down in the dumps? You're not alone. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans have feelings of anxiety and depression. In fact, while just 11% of the population reported feelings of anxiety and/or depression in January 2019, this number increased nearly 4x to 41.1% in just two years.

Fortunately, research shows that volunteering can boost your mental health. According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, people who volunteered at least once a month reported better mental health, were more satisfied with their lives, and had better physical health as well. 

And honestly, it makes sense. Dedicating your day to supporting a good cause gives you a sense of accomplishment—far more than binging a new Netflix series or scrolling through social media. Plus, science shows that performing selfless acts can activate an area of your brain linked to the contentment and reward cycle, which radiates feelings of happiness and well-being. Therefore, if you want to support your mental health, consider supporting one of your favorite charities. 

2. It could help you land your next dream job 🙌

Are you currently on the job hunt? Throughout 2021 and into 2022, Americans quit their jobs in record numbers. As part of the Great Resignation, a staggering 4.5 million Americans quit their job in November 2021 alone. Tired of toxic work environments, low salaries, and little to no work-life balance, fed-up employees began looking for something better.

And according to a study by Deloitte, volunteering could help. The study interviewed 2,506 hiring managers across the U.S., finding that 82% of interviewers prefer candidates with volunteer experience. Another 92% agreed that volunteering can help build better leadership skills. 

In other words, if you're currently searching for your next dream role—and want to develop new skills while you're at it—you may want to partake in a volunteer program. 

P.S. Don't forget to put it on your resume! While volunteering is highly attractive to recruiters, only one in three job seekers include it on their CV 🙈.

3. It can help you make new friends 👯

Volunteering doesn't just benefit your professional life—it benefits your personal life as well.

Let's face facts: It can be tough making personal connections as an adult. If you're looking to broaden your social interactions, meet people, or gain a new friend, you might consider doing volunteer work. 

A nationwide survey by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society found that volunteer opportunities can have surprising benefits on your social life. Of the over 1,000 people polled, 90% said that volunteer work helped expand their social circle. Those who volunteered felt a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, which helped form new relationships. 

And hey, even 80% of those polled said they would rather date someone they met through community service than through a dating site. Sharing a volunteer day shows you share common interests and values, which could make for a great partnership. Even 6% of survey respondents were "end game" with a volunteer buddy turned romantic interest, making it down the wedding aisle.

4. It can offer surprising physical health benefits 💪

As it turns out, signing up for the occasional volunteer job can benefit the body as well as the mind. 

Research by Carnegie Mellon University found that those who spend their time volunteering tend to be healthier than non-volunteers. Specifically, it found that those who volunteer are less likely to develop high blood pressure, which can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Translation: Volunteering can lead to a lower mortality rate—what better reason to dedicate yourself to a good cause?

While it's still a bit unclear as to why volunteer work boosts your physical health, scientists have a few theories. First, doing volunteer work can decrease stress levels (known as a "silent killer" within health care communities) which can, in turn, improve your heart health. 

In addition, volunteer work can often be correlated with light physical activity, which can decrease obesity rates and improve cardiovascular health. In other words, if you want to get more activity physically, consider becoming more active within your local community.

5. It can help you make a positive impact 💕

Lastly, we present the holy grail reason on why you should contribute your time to supporting a good cause: to make a positive impact in the lives of others and within your community.

At the end of the day, most of us are searching for a sense of purpose. We want to make a difference in our communities, and leave the world better than we found it. 

The desire to do good bleeds into many areas of our lives. Studies show that 90% of people are willing to take a pay cut if it means they'll do more fulfilling, meaningful work. In addition, 88% of consumers choose to support brands that support the environment or are socially responsible, allowing their personal beliefs and morals to influence their buying choices. 

And many people (particularly the younger generation) believe they have the power to change the world. In fact, according to a 2018 survey, 51% of people ages 30 and younger believe they can change the world—and 38% believe they're already changing it.

People volunteer because they want to make a difference. Even one small, selfless act—cleaning a park, volunteering at an animal shelter, or driving an older adult to a doctor's appointment—can make a big difference within ourselves and the communities we live in.

Recruit new volunteers through the Givebutter platform 

Roland Schitt from Schitt's Creek GIF
Volunteering is a great way to boost self-confidence, make new friends, and even establish a new skill set.

Plus, volunteering gives each individual a sense of purpose as they dedicate their time to a cause they care about.

To attract new volunteers to your organization, you'll need strong messaging as well as a volunteer database to stay organized. Fortunately, Givebutter is the all-in-one, always-free, modern fundraising platform that comes with a built-in CRM system so you can keep track of new volunteer recruits. Plus, Givebutter's comes complete with built-in marketing automation, so you can build email and SMS campaigns to convert your audience into loyal volunteers.

Ready to see how Givebutter can help strengthen your volunteer network? Take a tour of Givebutter's 130+ features today.

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Kylie Davis

Kylie Davis

Givebutter Digital Content Creator

Kylie thrives on supporting others, making everyone’s jobs easier, and cinnamon in her coffee.

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