A new year is the perfect time to imagine a new you. And volunteering in 2015 is a perfect way to find a new passion, make a genuine difference in your community, boost your well-being, and even explore a new career path.
Revitalize Your Community
So where do you start? Seek out smaller organizations, where your input makes the biggest impact, and choose places with goals you feel strongly about.
For example, are you a fan of a local non-profit organization? See if they could use some administrative or hands-on help. If ending hunger is a cause near and dear to your heart, deliver food to those in need, offer to get your hands dirty in a community garden or ask for a shift serving meals at a local shelter.
Consider how your professional skills can play a role. If you work in the financial field, try volunteering for Finance Committee Chair on your local school board. Or offer to host a free session at the local library aimed at boosting financial literacy for kids.
You can even volunteer virtually. Offer to blog about the work you and other volunteers are doing. Or help maintain an organization’s online and social media presence to spread the word about their mission—and possibly recruit even more volunteers.
Want to do good but not sure you can commit an entire day? Integrate volunteering into your day , every day, in simple ways. Spend a few minutes signing a petition, donate food while spring cleaning or offer to do a household task for a neighbor.
Reinvigorate Your Health—and the Health of Others
Volunteering feels good—and it’s good for you too,according to recent research. It can decrease your risk of depression, reduce stress and keep you physically and mentally active.
Volunteering for an organization that inspires you can also rekindle your interest in a cause that matters. And feeling good about what you’re doing triggers happiness that improves health. Spread the well-being around. Try starting a walking group, a community garden or a giving circle. They’re all great ways to build a caring and healthy community network.
Rejuvenate Your Career
The many benefits of volunteering extend naturally into your professional life. Your volunteer experience tells employers a lot about you: You’re motivated to make a difference, you care about causes larger than yourself, and you can work independently. Through your service, you build new connections and skills while exploring a new interest, updating your credentials and gaining hands-on experience with the latest technologies.
Don’t forget to include your volunteer work on LinkedIn, as an increasing number of hiring managers are valuing volunteer experience. According to LinkedIn’s research, 20% of survey respondents said they have hired someone based on their volunteer experience.
Volunteering instantly increases your circle of friends and acquaintances, making it easier for you to network organically. Parents at your local school or members of your town’s land trust cross paths with many people—and word spreads fast of your hard work, leadership and good deeds.
Get Started with Create the Good
Are you ready to reimagine your life by lending your time and talents to your community? Find opportunities to create good near you.
And personalized tools to help you discover your next step? Life Reimagined puts the new you within reach.