The social benefits of volunteering
Volunteering has a meaningful and positive impact on your community. However it can also benefit the individual who is performing the voluntary work.
Volunteering and social support
- People with increased social contacts and stronger support networks have lower premature death rates and fewer health risk factors.
- Social networks provide both emotional benefits and actual assistance in times of need.
- Volunteering helps individuals form interpersonal ties and develop their social networks.
Volunteering and healthy aging
- Volunteering among seniors has been linked to improved quality of life, stronger social networks and increased levels of physical activity.
- Many seniors are at risk of social isolation and decreased social activity. Volunteering can help to counter this.
- Volunteering activity throughout adult years promotes healthy aging and activity in older age.
- Volunteerism contributes to successful aging by enhancing one’s life satisfaction and sense of well-being, sense of purpose, self confidence and personal growth.
- Volunteering enhances health because individuals with many interests tend to have increased well-being.
Volunteering and developing community bonds
- Cohesion in a community reflects group membership, civic participation, social networks, levels of trust and information sharing inherent in social relations.
- Community bonds, social interaction and relationships that promote co-operation tend to ease the stresses of daily life.
- Increases in community participation, such as membership of voluntary organisations, are reflected in increases in community health.
- Social participation through volunteering is an important element of healthy, integrated and secure communities.
- Volunteer organisations positively impact upon factors that influence health by encouraging interaction between community members.
Volunteering and self-enhancement
- Increasing your social integration aids with your ability to cope with stress.
- Young people can benefit from volunteering in terms of enhanced confidence and self-esteem through skills development.
- Volunteers often report improving their interpersonal skills as well as gaining better communication, organisational and managerial skills.
Reference: Canadian Health Network (2005) Volunteering as a Vehicle for Social Support and Life Satisfaction http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/
The information above is reproduced from http://volunteeringwa.org.au/ with the kind permission of Volunteering WA. Volunteering WA have more information about volunteering in the Wheatbelt