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Volunteering has seen quite a jump in popularity in recent years. It seems like the people of today are becoming more and more aware of their own local problems and far-reaching worldwide problems and uses volunteering not only to explain their employment gaps. Volunteering is the commitment of one’s time and energy, for the better good of society and the community, the environment. You could say that you are giving back the community for all it has done for you. Volunteering is considered to be altruistic, meaning it is undertaken freely and without concern for personal financial gain.
Originally, the word ‘volunteering’ itself came from voluntaire meaning “to offer oneself for military service”. This type of volunteering was actually referring to people who were not conscripted but still chose to enter military service. Such volunteer didn’t do it for free either, they were given regular pay.
Volunteering with the modern meaning of “Community Service” started becoming the prevailing conception in the 19th and 20th centuries. After the Great Awakening, the Great Depression, and World War II, volunteering really cemented in our social life as an important part of it.
Nowadays there are many ways to volunteer and you can choose from a variety of volunteering possibilities. Here are some sites in which you might find that will catch your eye:
- USAgov – This is an official US government website on which you find a job that’ll help your local community;
- GoOverSeas – This is a popular site to choose for many people that want to travel;
- Freevolunteering – This establishment offers volunteering possibilities that are both relatively close to as well as some overseas options;
- LonelyPlanet – This site concentrates on causes that help nature and all of the beautiful inhabitants of our planet.
Examples of corporate social responsibility
Volunteering is a “give and don’t (expect to) take” thing and, keeping in mind how capitalistic in their nature corporations are, one would assume that they wouldn’t even come near something so revenueless as volunteering. However, one would assume wrongly as the reality is quite different. Many corporations get involved in corporate social responsibility activities.
What is a corporate social responsibility activity? It a part of a concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, the main idea of which is that big business take into account the interests of society by assuming the responsibility for the influence of their activities on different firms and other interested parties in the public sphere.
This concept is proven by numerous big companies that repay the community they established in not only by having their employees volunteer but also by taking initiative and creating opportunities for raising funds to donate. So, non-profit organizations and individuals are not the only ones who partake in being altruistic.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a couple of big companies with good CSR that are set on paying back the world:
This is a software company that grants employees with 7 paid days off per year to volunteer wherever they like. In the company, it is called Volunteer Time Off (VTO). They claim that the average participation rate is staggering 82% out their 20,000 global employees.
At Timberland, they have a community service program ‘Path of Service’, which includes 5 paid days off annually. Additionally, they offer a sabbatical program that gives employees up to 6 months’ paid leave.
Eli Lilly & Company
Here we have the ‘Connecting Hearts Abroad’, where employee/ambassadors are sent to various countries to volunteer for two weeks. Of course, they receive paid time off for volunteering.
This construction company partners with non-profit institutions to help the various communities. For example, with Bridges to Prosperity Flatiron’s employees volunteered to build footbridges in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and so on.
PwC is a well-known company with a multitude of company-sponsored programs that allow its workers to volunteer abroad. For example, Project Belize sends employees to teach financial literacy at schools in Belize.
Various results of businesses giving back to community
This trend of corporate volunteering initiatives did not leave the professional sector unchanged. The impact of volunteering promotion can be seen in the volunteering opportunities themselves and how they pose themselves, in the attitude of people towards companies that engage and don’t engage in corporate volunteering, towards the parameters of the job hunt, etc.
For example, many volunteering opportunities now offer themselves to various companies as a team building exercise, or as a chance to develop organizational skills, build self-confidence, and so on. One of such opportunities is recently launched OzHarvest and Samaritans. Without recent developments, these non-profit organizations wouldn’t even consider to pose themselves this way.
Furthermore, according to PricewaterhouseCooper, “88% of Millennials gravitate toward companies with proven corporate social responsibility programs.” According to True Impact, “Volunteers involved in SBV programs are 47% more likely to report job satisfaction than traditional volunteers.”, which is probably one of the main reasons people started to give so much attention to corporate volunteering in the job search.
How voluntary work can help your career prospects
The last but not the least, there are many benefits of volunteering that can be very valuable to you. Yes, even though any volunteer experience is an altruistic endeavor, but in fact, you never really leave empty-handed. Just like every job, every volunteering develops in you numerous and important skills and abilities that you wouldn’t have guessed that you had! Additionally, if you are struggling to find a job and are looking through the lists of the highest paying jobs with great envy, then volunteering can help here too. Nowadays experience is arguably more valuable than traditionally acquired knowledge.
Here are some possible ways you can improve yourself during a volunteering:
Volunteering expands your network
This is quite obvious and self-explanatory. Once you are thrown into a new situation with new people, you are sure to create new bonds with various people that can lead to new opportunities in the future. Additionally, by meeting new people you become more adaptable and open-minded.
Hurrah to soft skills
Having trouble speaking with people, or are you lacking in the creative thinking department? Well, you’re in luck because you can choose a volunteering basing of not from your strengths but rather from your weak points. You can improve everything from problem-solving and leadership skills to team working to verbal communication skills.
Get experience of working in new industry
This is similar to the previous point but not completely. If we're talking about soft skills, then now we’re discussing hard skills. Again, a right volunteering experience at the right time can be all the difference. Hell, it might even result in you getting an invitation to working somewhere else and changing your career.
In any case, taking up a volunteering can lead to you amending your career, if done correctly, of course. Volunteering experiences can be hard to incorporate into a resume. So, if you’re having trouble with this, then read up on creating a resume.
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