It’s not exactly rocket science to realize that doing good feels good. In fact, studies have shown volunteering has the psychological benefit of making us feel more satisfied with life. Volunteering has even been shown to provide physical health benefits such as lessening chronic pain and helping us live longer. No one can deny it’s nice to have a feel-good boost from helping someone out, but did you realize that volunteering may also be helping your career? Strategically choosing a volunteer post can benefit your existing career or help you make the leap into a field you’d like to break into. Here’s a look at some of the career-boosting benefits volunteering can bring.
From board to boardroom: The opportunity to volunteer for a nonprofit board of directors can benefit the nonprofit as you lend your skills and experience to the organization. But just as much you can be learning executive leadership skills that can help usher you into the C-level position you’ve been seeking.
Get experience: If you’ve been looking to expand your skill set to augment your career goals, doing that kind of work in a volunteer position gives you the experience you’re seeking. For instance, if you want to build your financial chops, volunteer as an organization’s treasurer. And don’t hesitate to share that experience on your resume – 41 percent of hiring managers, in a LinkedIn survey, said volunteer experience is on par with paid experience.
Explore something new: Do you feel like your true passion lies in a field other than the one you’re working in? What better way to do a gut check than to volunteer in that field. Whether you love it or hate it, you’ll have given it a go in a low-risk setting.
New connections: You’ll expand your circle of influence and gain new connections as you network with the other individuals you serve with. A volunteer position can become a paid gig or lead to a tip on a new job opportunity.
Tax time bonus: As an added bonus, volunteering can have positive benefits to your bottom line at tax time. Deductions for travel, supplies and more may apply. Of course, save your receipts and check with your CPA.