The power of volunteering has been documented for the last 2,500+ years, however a slew of recent research is shedding even more light onto its surprising benefits. Science now proves what great leaders and philosophers have known for years:
“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” – Gordon Hinckle
Here are five surprising benefits of volunteering:
1. Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time. Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that her research found those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. This is similar to other research showing that people who donate to charity feel wealthier.
Said Mogliner: “The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.”
2. Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills. In my experience, skills-based volunteering is an excellent opportunity to develop talents to help you get ahead in your career. In fact, an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review called skills-based volunteering overseas “the next executive training ground.”
At MovingWorlds, we’ve found that skills development in technical and leadership-related areas is the primary reason corporations invest in international skills-based volunteering programs.
5. Volunteering your love makes you feel more love.Admittedly, love is a hard thing to measure. But when researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile — all factors that increase the feeling of love.