Saturday, 18 January 2014

Making The Most Of Volunteering

                                                                       ARC House

Have you noticed how people who are involved in volunteering are usually positive and content ?
Now I know not every volunteer is 100% happy and positive but I have noticed that the members of the voluntary organisations I have been  involved in seem to give their time and energy willingly.

In my experience the most important factor in ensuring that you get the most benefit and contribute your best to the volunteering activity is to choose the right activity for you.

My first venture in volunteering was a disaster I was invited to put my name forward to become a volunteer supervisor  for a Credit Union  society.
Knowing of the great work done by Credit Unions and wanting to contribute to my community I agreed and was elected to the committee.
From the first meeting I knew this was not my thing but I kept at it ( God only knows why ).
 The letter announcing the upcoming  meeting would bring wails,  I'd say to John " It just can't be a month already ! ". I'd dread each  meeting and thank God  finally I said, " Enough this is not working for me and I am sure there is someone who would be better suited to this role". Talking it over with John ( who at that time was teaching economics and always interested in finance) I asked would you be interested in volunteering for the Credit union ? He thought about it and put his name forward.  John was elected to the board of the Credit union and I resigned.
Now when the letters arrive we are both delighted I thrilled that I don't have to go and discuss money and he is delighted and excited at the prospect.
Now I volunteer at ARC House where I teach T'ai Chi  I love going there, look forward each week to the Monday morning  class.
 I love the atmosphere in the house love meeting the other volunteers. The whole experience is good for me and from the positive feedback is good for my group.
So the point is be sure to choose your volunteering activity well. There is no end to the help needed in this world and by picking the best activity for you it can be a win win relationship.

Here is some research to confirm the benefits of volunteering.

A new study released today by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) and the Optum Institute
 reveals four key benefits of volunteering that make a positive impact on people's health:

Health: volunteers say that they feel better - physically, mentally and emotionally;
Stress: volunteering helps people manage and lower their stress levels;
Purpose: volunteers feel a deeper connection to communities and to others;
Engagement: volunteers are more informed health care consumers, and more engaged and involved in managing their health.
The study also shows that volunteering is good for employers:
the health benefits volunteers enjoy also benefit the workplace - employers can expect lower health care costs and higher productivity from employees who volunteer;
volunteers in the study report lower stress levels; other, established research shows that reducing employee stress contributes to higher productivity and levels of engagement;
volunteering can develop employees' work skills, which benefits employer and employee;
volunteers report that volunteering helps them build teamwork and time-management skills; fosters stronger relationships with colleagues; and supports professional networking;
volunteer activities lead to stronger positive feelings toward an employer when volunteer programs are supported in the workplace.

To read the full Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, visit

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