People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding.
Our “Where volunteering begins” YouTube campaign tells five inspirational stories from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The films illustrate the diverse range of volunteering opportunities available, and the different people who give their time.
Below are some of the reasons people choose to volunteer. For some it provides an opportunity to:
- Give something back to an organisation that has impacted on a person's life, either directly or indirectly
- Make a difference to the lives of others
- Help the environment
- Help others less fortunate or without a voice
- Feel valued and part of a team
- Spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
- Gain confidence and self-esteem
For some, volunteering can be a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change. From this perspective, volunteering can be a way of:
- Gaining new skills, knowledge and experience
- Developing existing skills and knowledge
- Enhancing a CV
- Improving one's employment prospects
- Gaining an accreditation
- Using one's professional skills and knowledge to benefit others (usually described as pro bono)
For others, volunteering appeals because of its social benefits. These include:
- Meeting new people and making new friends
- A chance to socialise
- Getting to know the local community
There is lots of anecdotal evidence that volunteering has a positive impact on health. Volunteering England commissioned the University of Lampeter to review all the published research and determine what impact it really has.
- Volunteering and health: what impact does it really have? (summary report) (2.5Mb) (2.5Mb)
- Volunteering and health: what impact does it really have? (full report) (559.4Kb) (559.4Kb)