It’s National Volunteering Month and here at Leap Like a Salmon, we want to talk about why it’s such a great idea to volunteer. Yes, there’s the age old, ‘it looks great on your CV’, however, volunteering opens up so much more than that! Take a look at 10 ways it will benefit you:

  1. You’ll live longer!

Studies show that volunteering to help others makes you happier and healthier, both physically and mentally. Psychology Today even says that in old age, volunteering is even better for you than a good diet and regular exercise. Check out psychologytoday.com to see that this is true.

2. There’s something for everyone

Say goodbye to the myth of volunteering being exclusively in charity shops. In fact, there’s a whole range of different roles, and there’s something to suit everyone! A few examples include a publicity officer, a mentor, and even volunteering as a radio presenter. You can even work from home! Find more opportunities from these 3 charities, we would like to highlight:

https://do-it.org

CIPD.co.uk

www.gettingonboard.org

“Joining a charity board as a volunteer trustee is a great way to use your existing skills to make a difference, whilst also learning new skills and expanding your network. Trusteeship is open to everyone over 18, from albackgrounds and levels of professional seniority. There are 168,000 registered charities in England and Wales, so you’ve a lot of charities to choose from.”

See gettingonboard.org/becomeatrustee  for more information.

Penny Wilson, Getting On Board

3. Leave your comfort zone and find your stretch zone

We’re all familiar with the term, ‘do something that scares you’, though the truth is, it can lead to a whole new experience. We all know the comfort zone, though how many of us have entered our stretch zone, the zone where we truly challenge ourselves and is the greatest area for stretch and potential. Without pushing ourselves, we can become bored of the usual, and unimpressed with our own progression. Volunteering might seem scary at first, though it really could push you out of your comfort zone and be the beginning of a whole new experience.

4. Build up a network of contacts

Meeting new people is not only great socially, but what if you meet your future employer? It’s not unheard of for people to be so impressed with your voluntary work that they decide to hire you. Or maybe you could meet a future business partner? A future client? The networking opportunities are both rich and vast.

5. Enrich your CPD

Continuing professional development is so important for your own progression and volunteering gives you an opportunity to reflect on something new. Our LEAP cycle encourages you to plan an opportunity, to think about what you have learned from it, to evaluate the impact of your learning, and finally assess what you have learned about yourself. Volunteering gives you the perfect opportunity to put this into practice. You can learn more about the LEAP cycle here.

A graphic of the leaning cycle. Assess. Plan. Learn. Evaluate.
Learn more about the CPD cycle here.

6. Find a new hobby

We all find ourselves getting bored of the same old, same old. So, try to find a new hobby. New hobbies are also great for your mental health and personal wellbeing because they enrich your life and bring joy to your day.

7. Develop new skills

Maybe you’re a natural at hanging up clothes and you just never realised! The wide range and variation of volunteering roles available means that the list of skills you can develop is endless! At Leap Like a Salmon, our platform encourages you to reflect on these skills and make organised plans to develop them even further.

8. Make a difference

Giving back to the community sounds cheesy, but it can help your mental wellbeing and personal health. Giving back can be so rewarding and bring a real smile to your face. It can also help and inspire you to get out and meet your community, making new friends along the way.

9. Build on your strengths and limitations

Being self-aware can help us tremendously in the future, especially if we reflect regularly, to build on our strengths and work on our weaknesses. Volunteering to do something different can help you with this, filling in the gaps in your skills that your current role can’t fill.

10.  The age old – it looks good on your CV

This list could go on and on, however, try as we might to avoid this one, volunteering really does look good on your CV. It shows to an employer that you’re not selfish with your time, that you want to work, and that you’re self-aware. At Leap Like a Salmon, our platform can help you talk about the elements of your CV by encouraging you to reflect on, learn from, and build on your experiences – exactly what an interviewer wants you to talk about! Find out more at leaplikeasalmon.com

We hope we have encouraged you to reach out and start volunteering this National Volunteering Month. Don’t forget, you can find endless opportunities at do-it.org, CIPD.co.uk and gettingonboard.org.

Let us know how you get on! 

Check out the online CPD Hub or stay informed with our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Thanks for reading and please do comment and share, should you have anything you want to ask us, please do get in touch here:

Karen Waite

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