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Calling all young people: Here are 4 (kinda selfish) reasons why you should take up volunteering!

By RVM Communications



You might be young, but you already know you’re a good person.  

  

You always tip as much as you can afford, you look after your folks, and you frequently grab a coffee for that homeless lady who is often at the taxi rank. You wish there was more that you could do to help others, but you also have your own career goals to achieve, as well as family and social commitments. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do everything you want to. 

  

But what if you could help others while still getting closer to your own goals, making it a win-win for both parties? There is a way, maintains Bokaba, CSI Manager at Momentum Metropolitan, “and the answer is volunteering.” 

  

You know that volunteering helps those most in need, but Bokaba shares a few ways it could benefit you as well. Hey, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes, especially when the end justifies the means!  

  

1.         It helps you create new connections. 

According to the Momentum Metropolitan Volunteerism Report 2022, the 25-34 age bracket is the most active when it comes to volunteering, while the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)’s South Africa Giving 2019 report showed that young people aged 18-24 were significantly more likely than other age groups to have volunteered.   


Given that research points to the fact that younger generations are more likely to volunteer, you will probably meet other similarly aged and like-minded people on your volunteerism journey.  

  

Just think – you could meet the love of your life, a best friend, or even a new business connection…all while helping others! Who needs Bumble or LinkedIn?

  

2.         It’s good for your health. 

Research has shown that volunteering is associated with boosting physical and mental well-being. A study across five Asian societies, including Singapore, found that volunteering had a positive impact on the well-being of older adults and individuals in poor health. Moreover, volunteers also cited emotional benefits, such as experiencing joy and fulfilment knowing they’re part of something bigger and making a tangible difference. 

  

This mirrors the findings of the Netflix documentary, Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, which follows longevity researcher Dan Buettner as he journeys to the world’s blue zones regions that see an unusually high number of people living long, vibrant lives. When investigating the secrets of those who live to around a century, Buettner discovered that volunteering is one of the factors that can promote a long life.  

  

In other words, volunteer and you could reap the health benefits!    


3.         It hones your professional skills.  

As a volunteer, you need to be able to demonstrate leadership and initiative. Non-profit organisations (NPOs) are often short on resources, so you might find yourself juggling multiple hats, which teaches you different skills. These are all skills that will help you be more effective at your job – and more attractive as a prospective employee.   

  

In Momentum Metropolitan’s Volunteerism Report 2022, those surveyed said that volunteerism helped them learn professional skills that assisted them in their career, such as teamwork (61%), planning (40%), leadership skills (40%) and compassion (57%).   

 

4.         It elevates your CV.  

Graduates looking for work often find that employers don’t want to hire someone without any experience whatsoever; a chicken-egg conundrum, as they cannot get the necessary experience without any existing experience. 

  

Volunteering your skills to an NPO allows you to gain experience in your field of interest, which can be included in your CV. For example, if you’ve completed a course in graphic design, you could volunteer your design skills to help market an NPO.  

  

A Deloitte study revealed that 81% of respondents felt skilled volunteering should be considered in a hiring decision. Moreover, 76% said that it made a candidate more attractive as a prospective employee – particularly if the candidate was a college or university graduate.  

  

Thus, volunteering will help enhance your CV, which might still be a bit scant on the experience front if you have recently graduated.  

  

Not sure where to start? Check with your employer – some larger companies, such as Momentum Metropolitan, offer an employee volunteerism programme or at the very least, support their employee’s volunteerism efforts.  

  

However, don’t be despondent if your employer doesn’t offer a volunteerism programme; there is nothing to stop you from contacting an NPO that champions a cause close to your heart. You can also visit www.forgood.co.za, which is a platform that connects individuals with NPOs. 

  

“Most NPOs are grateful for the extra hands – and who knows, your good deeds in service of others could end up helping you win, too!” says Bokaba. 

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