You being in a good space and comfortable in your life and the way you live it doesn’t mean that everyone else around you is. Yes, it’s not your fault that people are starving out there or don’t have a place to sleep tonight and call it home but, it may not be their fault too. That’s where you come in, as what you ask? Be a giver, a provider, become a volunteer where you know you can help out.
Volunteering honestly has more benefits than it does penalties. Whether it is important to you to solve a community problem, advance a worthy cause or to develop as a person, volunteering offers many benefits in appreciation for the gift of your time and expertise.
Volunteering is an incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile experience for the community and the volunteer. Not sure what volunteering is all about? Check out our top 18 reasons to pack up and go…
1) You’ll Be Giving Something Back
The most prominent reason someone would want to volunteer is because they want to do something good for others. There’s a large number of communities out there that need assistance in one area or the other, some of the development areas that most volunteer foundations focus on include; childcare, wildlife and conservation. Whatever foundation that touches you, research it and find one closest to you that you can be a part of. Be the change that you want to see in the world.
2) You’ll Have Unique Opportunities
Volunteering in different areas and provinces exposes you to new opportunities. When it comes to working with animals or on conservation projects being a volunteer has some fantastic advantages; unless you have a strong animal biology background you’re unlikely to find a paid position where you’ll be able to look after lion cubs in Kruger Park or something, but connections are great and it’s most people who sponsor the projects, in the end they hunt for their employees at these events etc.
3) Use Your Skills to Benefit Others
Use your strengths to help others! Bring the skills you’d use during your 9-5 to the table and if you’re at school and have bundles of enthusiasm – ideal. Some projects do require a specific skill set but in general all that’s needed mostly is the want to succeed and make a difference!
4) See a New Culture from the Inside
One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is being able to spend an extended period of time in a new environment, new province, diverse cultures and people’s background. It’s a truly unique learning experience that will see you interacting with new cultural activities, trying out loads of awesome new food, speaking new languages and meeting new people. As a volunteer you will get a glimpse of the local culture, allowing you to become a traveler, rather than a tourist in your own country, yes South Africa is actually bigger than you think it is!
5) Experience Personal Growth
Many volunteers come back from their experience and say they’ve evolved as a person. In most cases volunteers become more concerned and aware of the problems facing the world and once they’ve returned from a trip are usually more independent, more adventurous and more courageous – especially if it was their first independent trip.
6) Stand Out
If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, volunteering is a great talking point in all forms of life – from future interviews with new employers to life stories down at the pub!
7) Recognition, a Sense of Achievement and Feedback
Recognition of your efforts is another thing that keeps volunteers coming back again and again. Telling someone that they are doing a good job inspires confidence and pride, and it’s always great to see when you’ve completed painting an orphanage in Alexander for example, or helped save Whales down in Durban! It reminds you that the work you are doing is important and that you are making a difference. Any organization gives recognition to volunteers and acknowledges your time and efforts immensely.
8) Learn New Things
Spending some time out abroad allows you to learn about interesting cultural differences, like what the Portuguese eat for breakfast or how the Pedi’s prepare their pap! Our country is filled with unique experiences but it’s easy to miss them if you’re just passing by; try your hand at salsa, explore local customs and see if you can learn a little bit more of the local lingo than just the basic “Saobona”. It’s all part of the experience!
9) Friendships, a New Family and Belonging
Making friends with other volunteers is a strong motive for many of those who choose to volunteer. Many volunteers make lifelong friendships that come from working through difficulties and exploring new things together.
10) Skills and Experience
Want to gain a whole new host of skills? By getting stuck in on one of our volunteering projects you’ll be picking up loads of handy new skill sets as you go, especially if you’re helping out on a project which is a little out of your comfort zone!
11) See the Difference You’ve Made
Stand back and take a look. Pausing to take a moment to see what you’ve achieved during your time giving away is an incredible experience!
12) It’ll Be Bags of Fun!
Whilst you’re embarking on your volunteering journey, you’re going to have loads of fun! Volunteer work can be hard work, but it is also great fun and extremely rewarding.
13) Build Your CV
During your time away you’ll find out so much about yourself. You’ll learn new skills and build on your current experience, and all of the above is great for padding out your CV.
14) Spend Quality Time Away From the Norm
Getting bored of your current 9-5? Take a break and volunteer. Not only will you be doing something worthwhile, but you’ll get the chance to get focused about where you want your life to go and you’ll have plenty of chances to explore and see a new land too!
15) Help the Environment
Do your bit to help the environment and take up your position as a conservation volunteer! You could lend a hand in Cape Town or Kimberly, from marine to ecological.
16) Gain Confidence
Volunteering within a new community is sure to make sure confidence soar. Get stuck in and speak to the locals, make friends with your new volunteering friends and most importantly – throw yourself in the deep end!
17) See and Do More
If you’re looking to tick those countries and places off your bucket list, then volunteering is a great way to see a country from the inside and actually get to grips with that place. By the time you’ve volunteered within a couple of communities you’ll be clocking up the ‘country count’ in no time!
18) Do Something Meaningful
If you want to kick start your volunteering adventure start with a cause that’s close to you and hits home hard. Make sure it’s something you will not only enjoy but can honestly invest most of your time in!