Often when people volunteer, they are aiming to help others and give back to the community without looking for any material or financial gain while doing so. It is often purely altruistic, with the intention of the volunteer simply being to improve the quality of life for others.
Why should you consider volunteering?
Volunteering brings about many benefits to those who are being helped. But did you know that there are actually some surprising benefits of volunteering for the volunteer? Benefits of volunteering include: social benefits, health benefits, and career benefits.
The social benefits of volunteering are numerous.
For the community, it helps people become more united, promoting trust between each other to grow as they work together for the good of the many. Volunteering enables one to create a significant, positive impact in a community. You become part of a tribe, a wide network full of people who share similar interests with you. You get to meet new people, form connections, and even strengthen these connections as well as your ties to the quilting community. In the case of The Guild, you are working to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy patchwork and quilting. Your involvement could lead to other people being interested in becoming more involved. Sharing your experiences can lead to recruitment of more volunteers, as well as encouraging the entire quilting community to be more involved in The Guilds’ activities. In addition, you’ll have fun while doing something good for your fellow quilters!
For the Volunteer, the most obvious benefit to volunteering is the satisfaction you get from making a difference in other people’s lives and in the quilting community. It helps you to create a larger social network, meet new friends, particularly people who share your interests and passions, and widen your support group. Volunteer work includes contact with people from all walks of life, some of which may be top professionals in your field. Volunteering signifies that you are passionate about your interests and your quilting colleagues may find this a positive trait. It makes your ties to the quilting community and your networks stronger. You’ll get to practice your social skills and become more confident in meeting and conversing with others. You’ll increase your self-confidence, self-esteem, and develop a more positive outlook on life. Because you are doing something good for the quilting community, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and take pride in what you’ve done.
Health benefits are also brought about by being a volunteer. Volunteering allows you to travel, keeps you occupied and active. Research has shown that volunteers have a lower mortality rate compared to those who choose not to, especially among volunteers aged 65 and above. Volunteering can also give you greater life satisfaction and lower risk of depression. Depression is often a result of social isolation. When you volunteer, you’ll find yourself engaged in activities with others and surrounded by like-minded people. Because you’ll get a personal sense of purpose as well as a sense of accomplishment in helping others, you’ll reduce your stress levels and feel happier about your life and yourself. This is particularly true for Baby Boomers (Born 1946 – 64) who volunteer. Volunteers have reported feeling more optimistic, more motivated, and more satisfied with where their life is going. Aside from higher levels of happiness, you’ll also get higher levels of self-esteem and a sense of control over your life, making volunteers happier with themselves and able to go about with new confidence in their capabilities.
When asked the reason for volunteering, people often give answers such as ‘helping improve the lives of others’ or ‘giving back makes them happy’. You’ll feel pride and a sense of accomplishment because you contributed something worthwhile to your quilting community and you’ll gain a richer sense of purpose in life while doing so.
Career/Skill advancement are further benefits of volunteering. For example, advancement of your career or quilting interests through experience and development of skills. Those who want to gain entry to a career or develop their interests can use volunteering to enable them to gain experience in the field, as well as meet people whom he or she may likely end up working with. In volunteering, you’ll also get to develop and practice useful life and workplace skills such as planning projects, problem solving, critical thinking, time management, organisation, communication, and teamwork, often learning new technologies.
Becoming a volunteer is not only a good thing for The Guild and our quilting community, it is also a great activity for you. There are certainly many benefits to volunteering. The beauty of it all is that while you are helping others, you are also actually helping yourself.
The Guild is so reliant on our volunteers to function well. We have some extremely interesting and rewarding volunteer vacancies available and are urgently seeking volunteers to fill them. Check out the ‘Volunteer Vacancies’ section on our website to learn more.
President of The Quilters’ Guild