A few weeks ago, LinkedIn released its new Volunteer Marketplace. It's a place where professionals can look for volunteer opportunities and non-profits can look for much needed volunteers. While the marketplace isn't a new idea, it reminded many about the good that can come from volunteering.
Volunteer work is an opportunity to develop your skills through hands-on experience. Not everyone has the opportunity at work. This is especially true for those just starting out or those trying to develop skills that fall outside their current role. But developing new skills is essential in long-term career success.
Volunteering is also an opportunity to meet new people and build relationships. You can bond with fellow volunteers in a way that networking events can't offer. You know that everyone there with you is giving up some of their time to do something for someone else. And they know that about you.
Most important, volunteering gives you the opportunity to give back to your community. Whether you're helping out at a soup kitchen or helping to save the Black Rhino, the sense of good and hope that you get from helping others is unlike anything else you'll experience. It affects how you think, how you live, how you work.
If you're thinking that you don't have the time to volunteer, take another second to think that through. Even a commitment of one hour per month can make a difference to organizations that struggle every day to attract new volunteers. You can also offer to help a friend or colleague working on a project. They might not be a part of an NGO, but by helping them you'll still benefit from the experience.
Volunteer work is an option available to everyone, so take advantage of that while doing good for others.
Where will you enjoy volunteering your time?