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The benefits of volunteering for you and the community

Gail Forrer

What is volunteering? 

Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.It is a choice made by you to make a difference. Volunteering is about supporting nonprofits or community groups by willingly giving your time, skills and enthusiasm to become involved and take action on issues that are important to you.

Volunteering has so many benefits for you & the community. Volunteering can benefit you personally as it offers the chance to:

  • act on your values, passions and interests
  • make new friendships and create professional networks
  • enjoy new social and cultural experiences
  • develop personally and build confidence
  • enjoy better physical and mental health as studies show volunteering makes us healthier and happier
  • challenge yourself in a supportive environment
  • feel warm and fuzzy about helping your community
  • have fun!

Many nonprofits are comprised entirely of volunteers, and many important services wouldn't be able to be provided if it wasn't for the vital contribution they provide. Volunteer efforts help:

  • enhance and extend the work of a cause
  • improve the quality of life for clients and recipients of a service
  • spread the word and increase awareness of important issues
  • bring new insights, ideas and introduce new ways of working into nonprofits
  • change the world!

What areas can you volunteer in? 

There are so many ways you can choose to volunteer.

You can get involved in gender equality, democracy, LGBTQI+ rights, social justice, ending domestic and family violence, stopping racism or animal welfare. You can help in the arts, sports, community safety or emergency services. You can take action on climate change, help people experiencing homelessness, disadvantaged children, or refugees.

You may choose to get involved in one off events, short-term specialist projects or long-term roles. 

It's important that you choose a role that's a good match for you

Here are a few questions you should consider: What are my motivations for volunteering?

  • Is there a cause that is close to my heart?
  • Are there particular skills I want to contribute or learn?
  • How much time can I commit?

For more on what to think about before volunteering, view Volunteering Queensland's useful resources. You will find information on understanding your rights, visas, background checks, screening, checklists and lots more.

Volunteer in a space that you believe in

In order to be genuine in your service as a volunteer, you should find a cause, group or organisation that resonates deeply with you.

There are many externalities that demand our attention and pull us in different directions, however, finding a space that you are particularly passionate about will enable you to give more of yourself to being a changemaker in that field.

Challenge yourself & go beyond ticking boxes

It is outside of your comfort zone where the magic happens.

Sometimes we have to be uncomfortable and really test our limits in order for great things to happen. Some of the greatest life lessons and most cherished memories come from stepping out of your sphere of comfort and into a realm of the unknown. Volunteering is an opportunity to go beyond ticking boxes and challenge yourself - it is a chance for you to contribute to meaningful change, connect with like-minded people and to grow as an individual.

Trust yourself & have fun

The most important thing you can do as a volunteer is to trust yourself.

Be the change you want to see - all change starts with you. In challenging yourself there may be times when you question your strengths and capabilities. You are strong and you are capable. When you hold back you obstruct the change you could be making and the experiences you could be having.

Start your search

NSW: www.volunteering.nsw.gov.au/

Queensland wide at volunteeringqld.org.au of if you need assistance finding a suitable volunteer role, contact (07) 3002 7600 or email helpdesk@volunteeringqld.org.au


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