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Why volunteering is important: Benefits to volunteers and nonprofits

Volunteering can give your mental health a boost, help you meet new people, and gain skills. Plus, it gives more people power to nonprofits doing good in their community, and more!

Madison Mikhail Bush
October 26, 2023
January 27, 2022
Nerd Mr Butter

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Every nonprofit—from grassroots startups to multi-million dollar organizations—depend on volunteers to support their cause. In fact, research shows that volunteers contribute nearly $200 billion to bettering our communities each year. 🤯 

Nonprofits rely on volunteers to do all sorts of things to support their mission. 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. Plus, having a robust volunteer program helps nonprofits build deeper relationships in their community and benefit from the skills their volunteers bring to the table. 

Why is volunteering important? 4 reasons to share with potential recruits

A successful volunteer recruitment strategy blends a clear vision of how volunteers will contribute their skills, a window into the impact they will have, and the benefits they get out of the experience. 

Volunteers get involved because they are passionate about your mission and goals, but also because it helps them feel connected, gain new skills, and create a sense of purpose. 

Share these four reasons to volunteer to entice more people to get involved: 

1. Volunteering improves your health—seriously 🥦

Research has found that volunteering gives your mental health a boost, lowers your blood pressure, decreases stress, and gets you moving. All of that is a huge benefit to your heart, mind, and body. 

During the pandemic, rates of anxiety and depression skyrocketed and many people are still feeling the effects. It’s no wonder. Often times these mental health challenges are worsened through disconnection from community and uncertainty about the future.

But do you know what helps you feel connected to the community and like you are playing a role in creating the future you want to see? ✨Volunteering! ✨ We aren’t saying it’ll cure you, but we are saying it could help. 

Benefits of volunteering graphic

And if you’re looking to get your step count up, there’s nothing like a volunteer gig to get your blood pumping. Whether you’re planting trees, sorting donations, or wrangling a feisty group of after-school kids, volunteering usually involves some sort of physical activity. 

Plus, science shows that performing selfless acts can activate an area of your brain linked to the contentment and reward cycle, which makes you feel better. So, if you want to support your mental health, sign up to volunteer with a great nonprofit that supports causes you care about!  

2. You meet cool people while volunteering (& potential dates!) 😍

You already know they care about people and making the world better, and they live in your community. Strike up a conversation to find out if it’s a true friendship fit—suss out their taste in music, which hobbies they love, and their favorite hidden-gem restaurant. If you vibe, get a post-volunteering appetizer and move from volunteer friends to IRL friends! 

Don’t believe us? The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society polled 1,000+ people and 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. 

Social benefits of volunteering graphic

And hey, 80% of those polled said they would rather date someone they met through community service than through a dating site. Even 6% of survey respondents were "end game" with a volunteer buddy turned romantic interest, making it down the wedding aisle! 

Volunteering is also a great way to vet a crush. Send them a link to volunteer together on POINT and see if they care enough about their community to take action. 👀 

3. Volunteering gives you new transferable skills 💪

Volunteering is a remarkable opportunity to invest in yourself. It's a chance to develop and enhance valuable skills, from communication and leadership to technical abilities. These skills don't just boost personal growth; they also supercharge your career prospects. 🚀

The Great Resignation left many people searching for new, more aligned jobs. Volunteering provides a unique pathway to self-improvement and professional advancement while doing something meaningful. 

According to a study by Deloitte, a resounding 82% of hiring managers prefer candidates with volunteer experience! Beyond that, 92% of these managers believe that volunteering is a potent catalyst for building strong leadership skills. 

Volunteering can be a strategic choice to boost your job prospects. You can choose volunteer opportunities for nonprofits working in areas you’re passionate about, like food access or education or sustainability. But you can also look for skills-based volunteering roles that allow you to hone your talents and develop new strengths

4. Volunteering spurs personal growth 🌱

Getting involved with the community offers numerous benefits to volunteer’s personal growth journeys. 

  • Increased empathy 🧡 Volunteers meet people from all different walks of life. Making these personal connections deepens your ability to empathize, which is a crucial part of building emotional intelligence and showing up better across all personal interactions. 
  • Self-discovery 🔎 Volunteering allows individuals to explore their interests, passions, and values, leading to personal growth and a deeper sense of purpose in life.
  • Sense of purpose 💫 This is something we all need right now and is reflected in statistics: 1 in 3 people volunteer at least once per year. 

There are so many moments in life where a random decision leads us in a whole new direction—volunteering could be that for you!

Top 3 benefits of volunteering for nonprofits

Volunteering benefits the individual, but they are also crucial to nonprofit success. When you’re trying to do more good with a tight budget and a lot of people who rely on your services, the generosity of volunteers is a gamechanger. 

Here are three reasons to get serious about recruiting great volunteers and an amazing tool that can help. 

1. Volunteers help expand your nonprofit’s reach 📈

The importance of volunteers cannot be overstated—they’ll help you amplify your impact in so many ways. They can engage with a broader audience and mobilize resources, helping your nonprofit achieve your mission more effectively. 

Here is just a short list of ways they can broaden your reach: 

  • New donor pools 💸 By asking volunteers to share fundraisers or donation links with their network (i.e., family, friends, co-workers, and even their employers), you can tap into new funding pools. 
  • Word-of-mouth recruitment 🗣️ When you prioritize creating a great volunteer experience, they’ll be more likely to ask family and friends if they want to join in. 
  • More social media engagement 📲 Ask your volunteers to engage with your posts on social media by liking, commenting, or resharing. This helps show your content to new potential volunteers. Plus, if you go the extra mile and take pictures of volunteers (with consent!) and tag them, they’re likely to reshare to their own followers and give you greater exposure within their network. 
  •  Corporate volunteer opportunities 💼 Your volunteers might work for companies that value CSR and have incentives for their employees to volunteer or donate. Asking volunteers to put you in touch with a manager can help you coordinate group volunteer events that start building a strong corporate nonprofit partnership. 

⭐️ Pro tip: Embed signup forms directly on your website so you can easily collect the contact information of all the new volunteers that are sent your way! 

2. Volunteers have the skills you’re searching for🕵️

Volunteers bring a wide range of skills and experiences to nonprofit organizations. This diverse skill set can be invaluable for addressing various needs, from marketing and fundraising to program development and administration.

To really benefit from your volunteer’s skills, you need to take the time to get to know them. See what they are good at or love to do and offer opportunities to help your nonprofit while tapping into those passions. 

You can also offer up skills-based opportunities to your volunteer pool to see if anyone is willing and able to help with more niche tasks. Your volunteers may be able to help with: 

  • Social media content creation 
  • Well-designed reports and engaging informational materials 
  • Language inclusivity through translation 
  • Odd jobs, handyman tasks, etc. 
  • And so much more!

3. Volunteers help nonprofits with community building 🏘️

Volunteers often act as community ambassadors. They establish connections, foster partnerships, and contribute a sense of community among volunteers and even the people you serve. This community building strengthens the nonprofit's presence and support network. 

Having a strong volunteer program also creates a sense of shared ownership within the community. Volunteers serve as living testaments to the power of collective action, where every contribution, no matter how small, plays a part in creating positive change. 

Ways to boost your people power 💪

Ready to kick off your volunteer program and unlock the benefits it can provide for your nonprofit and supporters? Don't wait any longer! Here are some actionable ways to get started:

  • Mobilize your volunteers to boost your impact in the community
  • Give them multiple ways to get involved, in person and virtually
  • Share about ways they can become advocates
  • Empower them with knowledge about your mission so that they can connect you to other community organizations for collaboration opportunities
  • Make sure they feel deeply appreciated—that goes a long way to creating lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with volunteers

Level up your volunteer management with tech made for nonprofits

POINT and Givebutter have teamed up to make sure nonprofits have allll the tools they need to maximize their volunteer programs—for FREE. Yes, you read that right! 🤩

POINT helps nonprofits find and mobilize volunteers, as well as giving admins every feature they need to run a robust volunteer program (like instant signups, background checks with POINT Pro, and automatic reporting). 

And donations are powered by Givebutter, the all-in-one, always-free, modern fundraising platform. Plus, Givebutter comes complete with built-in marketing automation, so you can build email and SMS campaigns to convert your audience into loyal volunteers.

Can you say dream team? 💫 Get started today by creating your free POINT account and integrating your Givebutter donation tools. 🧡

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