Volunteering and wellbeing
Ever noticed how good it feels to help others? It’s a pretty safe bet the answer is ‘yes’. Even the smallest things, like helping someone struggling with their shopping bags, or giving up a seat on the train, can often leave us with a warm sense of worth.
Feeling good is just one of the benefits you’re sure to enjoy when you consider giving volunteering a go. As well as making a big difference to other people’s lives, you’ll make new friends and learn new skills.
That’s what you call a win-win! Best of all, volunteering has been proven to improve your health and wellbeing.
Finding the right opportunity for you
This is the big one. With so many avenues to choose from, the trick is to get involved in something that’s close to your heart. Something you’re passionate about. Something that gives you enjoyment. Or something where you feel your skills and experience could make a difference. This can be anything from working with the young or the elderly, to helping out your local animal rescue service, and literally everything else in between.
Have a really good think about which causes interest you most. After that, find a locally connected club, association, venue or user group and simply ask how you can help. They’re sure to welcome you with open arms.
Deciding how much time you can give
We all lead busy lives. No matter how worthy the cause, giving up time to help others is not always an easy thing to do. Whether it’s the odd hour here and there, or regular days a month, it’s important to volunteer only the amount of time that works comfortably (and enjoyably) for you.
Volunteering is a way you can tap into multiple experiences, whether that’s meeting new people, giving back, spending time with family, keeping active or learning new skills – whatever your motivation, there’s a volunteering experience for you.
Volunteering doesn’t need to be something else that competes for your time. That said, the more frequently you can volunteer, the better. Not just for those you are helping, but for your levels of life satisfaction too. Research has shown that if you have several volunteering occasions over a year, satisfaction increases measurably and, by volunteering at least once a month, there are mental health improvements also.
You can find connection and community through volunteering. There are so many benefits to volunteering which may surprise you. Most people focus on the benefit to those in need, but on top of this, volunteering has also been shown to increase your self-worth, connectedness, and improve your overall mental health.
Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and build long-lasting connections. This is particularly true if you are new to an area or finding it hard to meet new people. By meeting regularly with others sharing a common interest, your community ties will strengthen and your friends and contacts will very quickly grow.
Volunteering in retirement
With so much experience and wisdom to offer, it’s little wonder that retirees make great volunteers. This is particularly the case for those missing the sense of achievement and purpose previously provided by their 9-5 lives. Volunteering bridges this gap. It helps our most senior members of society to continue benefitting others with their wealth of life skills and experience. Just as importantly, it helps retirees to enjoy improved social interaction and a better feeling of self-worth.
Ready to volunteer?
There’s never been a better time, with a recent study of Australian volunteering organisations reporting 83% as needing ‘more volunteers immediately or in the near future’.
The following video series by Volunteering WA provides an overview of the benefits of volunteering, together with the different types of roles, and where to find your next volunteering opportunity.
Western Australia offers a host of volunteering opportunities, with something to suit everyone. Just visit the Volunteering WA’s YouTube Channel to hear about peoples’ volunteering experiences.
Find a volunteering role
Volunteering WA has a fantastic tool to help you find new experiences, whether it’s meeting new people, learning new skills, sharing your knowledge or giving a helping hand. Click the button below to find a volunteering role that will be as good for others as it is for you.
Volunteering experiences for young people
Volunteering is a great way to take action on a cause you care about while building skills and experiences that will help you on your pathway to finding future employment.