Things to Consider About Volunteering

It is a new year and that calls for resolutions to strive to stay in line with for the next 52 weeks. There are many common ones to better oneself, like going to the gym, or running a certain amount of miles every week. But how about undertaking a resolution that will not only help yourself, but others. Volunteering is a noble, selfless cause that fills every party involved with a sense of purpose and generosity. While you are pondering how to get involved in the volunteering world, remember these five things before you dive in.10222419356_9ad4bf529c_h

Know what you want to get out of your volunteered time.
Volunteering is about giving back, that is root of the entire action, but many volunteers bring home a number of intangible things with them. Volunteers can take away a learned skill from working with their hands, fundraising, or event planning. There are always the volunteers who want to help a problem in the community so they get to work and bring home a sense of community.

Know what to give.
“Just getting involved” is a common entry phrase for volunteers. Knowing what you want to put in, whether it be a skill or just manpower, can help you have that sense of purpose in a volunteer effort. When not having a plan for what you want to give to a cause can leave you feeling out of place and unfulfilled.

Know your commitment level.
Never over promise time. Be realistic with the time you can give and be honest to organizers. Humans have a tendency to want to please everyone but in volunteer efforts, its better to be upfront and honest about how much time can be given.

Know where to get involved.
Research the best ways to get involved in a cause that you feel passionate about. If you do not have one of those causes in mind, take to the internet and search for what organizations there are and how they can use your help.

Connect with the volunteering world.
Ask fellow volunteers how they got involved, how much time they spend, why they do it. Having a connection of volunteers is a great way to share and receive information about initiatives and motivations behind the rest of the volunteering world.

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What Regular Volunteering Can Do For You

Volunteering is a gift, one that serves not just the receiver of the free labor, or extra time, but it is a gift for those who volunteer. Skeptical to the truth of this statement? Here are seven reasons why helping others helps everyone involved.volunteer20graphic

Millions of people volunteer every year and do so habitually. Many people would ask, why give away time for free when you can be making money or some other value added kick back from your efforts. It simply makes the people who do the volunteering feel great about themselves when they see the good that they did. Knowledge of doing good is a strong feeling when it is directly making someone else’s day better. This is what these volunteers take away from them at the end of the day, it may not be money but it is well worth something.

The study of brain function has shown that when we help others our brains light up in the areas that are associated with happiness. It releases dopamine and serotonin. It provides with greater purpose that is transformed into happiness and tranquility.

Stress Reduction:
Along with the happiness hormones, we release a hormone that insulates the stress factor, cortisol. This is called oxytocin and it is coupled with dopamine to promote trust and peacefulness.

Pain Relief:
Volunteering has been proven to reduce pain indices from those with chronic pain problem. The activity takes the mind off of pain and provides activity which can often help the circulation of blood which can be linked to pain reduction.

Lengthen Lifetime:
The reduction of stress and activity can contribute to the 40 studies that confirm history of volunteering have shown a 22% decrease in mortality rate. How much is considered enough to lengthen your life? About 25 hours a year will do the trick.

Benefits to Your Professional Career:
Citing the Halo Effect by John Raynolds, volunteering can affect your work life by way of osmosis. Becoming involved in something that does not directly reward you puts in place a work ethic that is magnified when you are in a reward oriented system. This yields a better performance from you, plus employers like to see volunteer history on a resume.

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Charity Volunteering an Philanthropy: 5 Things to Give Thanks For

Thanksgiving is near and in the world of charity, volunteering, and philanthropy there is much to be thankful for. The roof over our heads, our families sitting next to us, the ability to eat delicious food and share it with important people are all things that the holiday season brings forth. For the philanthropic world, there are five key trends that have many thankful chris novingerthis year.

The neo-rich entrepreneur class is giving much back.
The business world has seen the rise of young savvy business men with an inkling towards giving money to noble causes. GoPro founder Nick Woodson allotted $500 million after his company went public this past year, along with Oculus founder who gave $31 million to alma mater.

The rise of technology and what it means for charity.
The speed at which global crisis happens is only matched in today’s world by the rate at which it is reported to the masses. We have seen funders give money towards the Ebola outbreak without hesitation to try to curb its advanced assault on the human race.

Health improvement initiative.
A new-found health and fitness movement is sweeping the nation and the charity groups that aim to continue that and provide healthy foods to those in need are backed by great acts of giving.

Old Money.
Contrary to popular belief, those who have been born into money as of late have picked up the giving bug. These heirs and heiresses have started great charitable causes to give to those less fortunate, as well as giving to other foundations.

Foundational transparency.
For decades when anyone would make a donation to a foundation, the money would disappear, leaving the philanthropist blind to where that money went. With a new initiative this year, big foundations are opening their books much more and showing all of their allocations towards the relief or charity they claim to support.

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Giving back to Volunteers

National Philanthropy day fell on Thursday, October 30th this year and Meals on Wheels chose to celebrate the occasion by honoring Donna Harrington at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas. The recognized Philanthropy day is set on the calendar each year to honor great acts of charity within communities.Meals_on_Wheels_HotShot

This year’s honoree, Harrington was the focal point of the event in which 500 people attended. She has given much to the community through her efforts in the Meals on Wheels organization. Donna has spent countless hours, twice a week, delivering meals in her car. Not only does he deliver for MOW’s she consistently makes donations in honor of clients and other volunteers, to the organization.

What sets Harrington apart is the genuine pleasure she gets out of giving back to the community and seeing her donations be put to good use.

Meals on wheels is a national web of over 5,000 Senior Nutrition Programs, operating out of all 50 states. Supported by 2 million volunteers, the organization provides hot meals, caring sentiment and wellness checks to 2.5 million seniors who are living on their own. Recently, Meals on Wheels received a $5 million donation from the Walmart Foundation for their “We are Meals on Wheels Project”. That program was focused on grant building, public awareness, senior nutrition education, and Training Wheels Association.




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The Economics Behind Volunteering

taken from the economist

taken from the economist

Andy Haldine, chief economist of the Bank of England recently gave a talk about the economics of volunteering.  The message that he sent was that contrary to popular belief, volunteering has an immense impact on society.

The amount of impact clearly depends on where you are looking.  It is clear that different countries have different customs when it comes to volunteering time and effort and some populations are much more engaged in volunteer work than others.  Since no monetary transaction takes place, many statisticians ignore the effects of volunteering.

This deliberate ignorance of the impact of volunteering irked Mr. Haldine, who then compiled information from a variety of sources to evaluate the activity’s effect on the country at large.  He was able to conclude that about 1.5% of Britain’s GDP is accounted for by volunteering (£24 billion).  This means that volunteering produces twice as much for Briton as the agricultural sector and about the same amount telecoms, making it a huge contributor to economic success.

Haldine suggests that it is harder to judge the value of volunteering in people’s private lives.  Studies have found that volunteering makes you both healthier and happier.  In fact research suggests in order to be compensated for time and lack of well-being, someone who was deprived of volunteering for a year should be compensated about £2400 per year.

In addition to personal well-being, volunteering helps the health of the community.  The social benefits of volunteers are to raise the standards of living for others and fosters a collective and constructive mindset.

There are countries, like turkmenistan where volunteering has become compulsory on certain days, and Japan with its tradition of community service, but many other countries have a lackluster attitude.  Mr. Haldine hopes that this attitude is combatted as people find out how rewarding and enjoyable it can be to volunteer.