According to the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, 20 million people volunteered in the UK at least once in the last year, while 11 million people did so at least once a month. The value of their contributions is estimated to be over 20 billion pounds annually. When a person or an organisation gives of their time to help others, their investment can have far-reaching results. There are also many benefits to giving time to help others.
What Are The Benefits of Volunteering?
– Provides help and support to others. One of the most obvious results of volunteering is that it provides assistance to people who need support. It can help individuals personally but can also have a positive effect on communities and the greater society.
– Builds community. When a person individually volunteers, they will have the opportunity to get to know new people. When an organisation volunteers as a group, they can improve morale and camaraderie within their group as they work toward a certain goal. Through the process, connections are made and relationships are built. This, in turn, can strengthen the community.
– Personal benefits. When someone volunteers, they will feel better about themselves. They will feel a sense of accomplishment because they have given to others. They can challenge themselves in new ways, develop new skills, and gain confidence through the experience. Although volunteers may believe that it is all about “giving”, they can truly personally benefit in many ways. This can be of benefit to their corporation as well, as their employees gain knowledge, experience, skills, and empathy through volunteering.
1-7 June is Volunteers’ Week in the UK. This week of focus on volunteering was started in 1984 to celebrate and recognise the contributions of volunteers. The National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) handles this campaign and offers organisations the resources to recognise volunteering. To celebrate volunteering at your organisation, consider ideas from other businesses to get the ball rolling. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, parties, thank you cards, gifts, awards, social media messages, and visual displays. It is also a great idea to raise awareness of the need for volunteers and the importance of corporate involvement through media and through public displays at local events. NCVO collects these experiences to share with others, so be certain to share your experience and methods. This organisation additionally highlights and promotes various events to celebrate volunteers around the country.
If your organisation is looking for ways to develop the corporate social responsibility agenda and promote volunteering, NCVO is a good place to start to collect information and Volunteers’ Week is a great week to start a new program. Encourage employees to recognize the benefits of volunteering. Many volunteers have shared their stories and there are resources available which share the great impact of volunteering on the volunteers themselves, and those they help. NCVO has ideas and connections for volunteering. Volunteering is for everyone and can be a part of anyone’s experience, even if they have minimal time to offer. Consider the biggest needs in your community and look for ways to meet those needs, as an individual or an organisation. Share stories of your experiences so that others can see the benefit of volunteering and can choose to make a difference.
In 2018, the employees of British Gas business gave over 2500 hours in service to their communities. Their time was spent with care home residents, painting and gardening at local schools and hospitals, and preparing food for the needy, to name just a few.