Volunteering helps Build Emotional Wellbeing

Did you know that volunteering has considerable benefits for helping manage you emotional wellbeing and good mental health.  It can also help give direction and meaning when perhaps it might be lacking.  When you volunteer you can utilise skills you have already to help others learn, develop and grow.  For example our Soroptimist Club in Cambridge serves cookery lessons at Whitworth house.

When you are in a high pressure, busy job I do know that you might think I am bonkers to think that you might find the time.  Think of this though, what if, one a month you gave up just 1 hour of your time to help someone else?  Doable?  Probably.

I have been volunteering for Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland for 4 years now.  It is incredibly rewarding.

Soroptimist International was founded in California in 1921 with the specific aim of transforming the lives of women and girls worldwide through education, empowerment and opportunities, has a membership of 8000 in the UK.

Those of you that know me, know that I was, myself, off with stress related illness back in 2011.  volunteering was one of the best things I ever did.  It got me out of my own head and helped me focus on the wider world again.  It also helped put a bad day into perspective.

What about joining your local Soroptimist Group?

Our East London Soroptimist Club supports the Kori Project is Sierra Leone.  It is just one of the projects we support.  Supporting projects both at home and abroad broadens our horizons.   We are particularly delighted with the water pump we paid for, (see picture below) which now reduces cases or water borne diseases.  If you want to know more come to a speech I am doing in London on 20th July.  Details and links are below.

I have been so amazed by this organisation I wanted to be more involved to in October 2016 I became President of the London Anglia Region of Soroptimist International

You can find out more about Volunteering and Women: Engineers of Change at a talk I am doing this month on Thursday 20th July

Volunteering helps develop new skills and improves job/promotion prospects

Not only can you help others but when you belong to an organisation like Soroptimist International you also have the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experiences that are relevant for your career.  Employers believe volunteering delivers positive results:

  • 80% Valued on a CV
  • 23% Better team working skills
  • 21% Improved communication skills
  • 15% Organisation & time management skills
  • 10% Can indicate leadership & management abilities

Employees surveyed at the same time, while agreeing with these results, also cited volunteering as a way to:

  • 84% find work
  • 70% earn a better salary
  • 24% gain promotion
(Time Bank Survey June 2009)

Other reasons for volunteering include:

  • Make a difference
  • Build on existing experience and knowledge
  • Develop new skills
  • Gain accreditation
  • Get to know a community
  • Feel valued and part of a team
  • Have fun
  • Make friends and have fun
  • Improve health

With a ‘job for life’ fast disappearing over the horizon, individuals can take a Gap Year before University or a Sabbatical during their professional life. Enlightened companies, such as Shell, provide employees with a Sabbatical, usually spent working in the community. As do some countries: Belgium has a Time Credit system which entitles employees a once-only year’s absence from their job, to prevent burn-out and provide an opportunity to pursue other important things in life.

So volunteering doesn’t just benefit others – we grow, learn and develop our own skills as a consequence or we get to use existing skills in new and exciting ways.