Volunteering has a meaningful, positive impact on those you volunteer for, but did you know that it can have many benefits for you too? Here are some reasons to volunteer:
Learn or develop a new skill
Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” It is never too late to learn new skills and no reason why you should stop adding to your knowledge just because you are in employment or have finished education. Planning and implementing a major fundraising event can develop goal setting, planning and budgeting skills. Supervising and training other volunteers helps to develop supervisory and training skills.
Be part of a community
No man or woman is an island. We sometimes take communities for granted. People and societies co-depend on each other for survival but growth of such things as commercialism are seeing traditional values being disregarded. Communities are suffering due to the growth of secular societies but at the same time we can really bridge that expanding gap through volunteering. Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s well being. What better way is there to connect with your community and give a little back? As a volunteer, you certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you.
Motivation and sense of achievement
Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life there is choice involved in volunteering. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help on your own accord, free from pressure to act from others. Volunteers predominantly express a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from your desire and enthusiasm to help. Sometimes volunteers are regarded as do-gooders and those that hold that view also assume that one person can never make a differnece. It may be true that no one person can solve all the world’s problems, but what you can do is make that little corner of the world where you live just that little bit better.
Boost your career options
A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses
73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills
94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted
Also, if you are thinking of a career change then volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields. If you have a passion for the arts but have career in computing then why not volunteer at your local theater? Or if your ambitions are to be a doctor why not find out about volunteer opportunities at your local hospital – the ideal way to expand your work portfolio in your field and to gain a real insight into your chosen path.
New interests and hobbies
Sometimes we do get locked into the “rat-race” of life and volunteering can give that escape to everyday routine and create a balance in our lives. Finding new interests and hobbies through volunteering can be fun, relaxing and energizing. Help run a youth radio station or website for a few hours a week or assist in publishing a charity newsletter. The energy and sense of fulfillment can carry over to a work situation and sometimes helps to relieve tensions and foster new perspectives for old situations. Sometimes a volunteer experience can lead you to something you never even thought about or help you discover a hobby or interest you were unaware of. You can strengthen your personal/professional mission and vision by exploring opportunities and expanding your horizons.
Volunteering is a brilliant way to get life experience. Whether you build a library or mail flyers to raise awareness for a local charity, you will experience the real world through hands-on work. This guide section has established that volunteers can do almost anything and with the new millenium has dawned an era of infinite volunteer opportunities. For example, it is possible to volunteer in developing countries and see the direct impact of your actions on some of the most vulnerable people of the world. You could skydive for charity, a chance to experience the ultimate thrill and raise funds to help the charity continue its work.
Meeting a diverse range of people
Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Both the recipients of your volunteer efforts and your co-workers can be a rich source of inspiration and an excellent way to develop your interpersonal skills. Volunteering also offers an incredible networking opportunity. Not only will you develop lasting personal and professional relationships but it is also a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and you can never tell who you will meet or what new information you will learn and what impact this could have on your life.
Send a signal to your employer, teachers, friends and family…
People pay attention to your life outside the environment in which they have direct contact with you. For example, your employer would be interested in the activities that gives you a good work-life balance, just as academic institutions are interested in your extra-curricular activities. Volunteering reflects and supports a complete picture of you, and gives real examples of your commitment, dedication and interests. Show people what you are passionate about and maybe you will inspire them too!
Originally published in Firethorne: The Gustavus Journal of Literary and Graphic Arts – Tristan worked with his college Campus Chapter, went on five Collegiate Challenge trips, and now is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat. He has had a lot of really meaningful experiences, and this poem was a way to communicate some of the bigger lessons he’s learned through working with Habitat.
Stake the lot.
You need to figure out
before growth can happen.
that will challenge you.
Lay the foundation.
You learn a lot about people
when you’re constantly hearing,
“You’re a quarter inch too high.”
Scrape off some mortar
and ask another question.
Raise the walls.
You’ll be impressed
by how important each person is
in bearing their weight.
Let this framework
guide your actions.
Add the roof.
You’ll need patience,
because this step
takes energy and balance.
Be thankful for
the people helping you.
You can’t build a house
without guarding it
from the cold.
Think about the family
sitting around a fireplace.
You’ll be tempted to leave messages
on the walls.
Don’t hold back—
it’ll connect you to your work.
Trim the walls.
You’ll notice that
houses come together
like puzzles do.
Realize that you’ve assembled
a beautiful picture.
Build a yard.
You’ll be covered in dirt
after laying sod,
but don’t be discouraged.
After a couple rains,
things will grow naturally.
No one wants to pay more than necessary when building a home. But only the experts know how to save money on construction, right? Not necessarily. Here are 15 tips that may help keep your building budget within reason, without compromising on the home you want.
1. Buy a large lot with a friend or family member that can be split into two smaller lots. Some of the most appealing properties may be much larger than what you want or can afford, yet the seller may not be willing to break up a large parcel. So if you can share the cost with someone else (preferably someone you don’t mind having as a neighbor), you may be able to pick up a great building site for a reasonable price.
2. Consider a so-called problem lot — a hillside, narrow, or in-fill property. Generally, these types of lots are not as desirable as others, so they don’t sell as quickly and often go for a much lower price. With the right plan and a capable contractor, however, a potentially difficult lot might be perfect for your new home.
3. Choose a canal or bay lot instead of ocean or lakefront property if you must have a waterfront site. These choices are usually less expensive but still water accessible. Plus, they provide great protection against inclement weather.
4. Buy low-maintenance building materials — vinyl siding and metal roofing, for example. Even if they are somewhat more expensive at installation, they will pay for themselves in the long run as you won’t have to repair, replace, or repaint.
5. Collect salvaged materials from demolition sites. Old barnwood, used bricks, and distinctive wood doors add inexpensive character to a home without exorbitant cost. Many times you can have the materials at no cost, as long as you’re willing to haul them away. Just be sure to check first with the owner of the building being demolished.
6. Splurge only on those things you truly cannot live without. However, don’t skimp on structural components or doors and windows — for the safety and security of your home, you’ll want to purchase the best you can afford in these areas.
7. Don’t overbuild for the neighborhood. A home that is better and bigger than any other in its area will not command a fair price at resale. Instead, the assessment will be colored by the lower-priced homes around it.
8. Monitor construction allowances as the home is being built to ensure you’re getting what you asked for (and are paying for). This includes decorative details as well as structural elements. If you and your builder agreed, for instance, that a particular brand of insulation would be installed, don’t accept a lesser brand — at least not without a cost adjustment.
9. Use only a certified general contractor. The experience of a well-qualified contractor is invaluable to the home-building process. In addition, seasoned professionals have established relationships with suppliers and subcontractors — something you cannot possibly hope to get without years of experience in the business.
10. Try to avoid site preparation charges — hauling in-fill dirt, grading, clearing trees, blasting rock. These processes are expensive and add time to the building schedule right off the bat. Choose the best site you can afford and then pick a plan that fits that site or can be modified to better suit the site.
11. Avoid change orders — the changes in materials or blueprints that invariably occur in the midst of the building process. Not only do change orders cost more money, they add considerable time and frustration to the building process. Decide exactly what you want before ground is broken — and then stick to it.
12. Keep the depth of your home at 32 feet or less. Any more than that and roof trusses may need to be specially designed, which can add significant dollars to the overall building cost. If you have sufficient land and want a larger house, consider adding width or additional stories.
13. If you really want ceramic tile or hardwood flooring but feel you can’t afford it right now, consider vinyl flooring. Vinyl makes a good underlayment, and the tile or wood can be installed right on top of it at a later date.
14. Choose a stock plan over custom-drawn plans. The savings in total cost are great and you can probably customize the stock plan to get exactly what you want.
15. Do you really need a three-car garage? If you only have two vehicles and you’re counting on the extra bay for storage space, consider other areas of the home that will work just as well — attic space, space under a stairwell, or spare bedroom. Or put up a garden shed, which is cheaper than building a huge garage.