Five Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering

We know that volunteering to serve others –  at Jericho, we call it “being the hands and feet of Jesus” – is a blessing to those who receive your time, compassion and love.

But what about the volunteer? Recent research has determined that there are some surprising benefits to the person sharing his or her time with others.

Here are five unexpected benefits of volunteering:

Giving your time actually makes you feel time-rich.  Cassie Mogilner, a professor at Wharton wrote in the Harvard Business Review that – based on her experiments and research – those who give away their time serving others say they feel less time-constrained than those who don’t.

Her studies discovered that, rather than the social connection or enjoyment connected with volunteering, the people who give their time away feel more capable, confident and useful. They feel more accomplished, and that’s why they feel like they have more time to accomplish things in the future.

Volunteering keeps you healthy, especially if you’re mature in years. A report by A Corporation for National and Community Service notes: “Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”

Loving others makes you feel more love.  Researchers at the London School of Economics studied the level of “happiness” among those who volunteer, and found that the more people served others, the happier they were. Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile – all factors in measurable happiness levels.

Volunteering is good for your social life. People who are naturally shy or have trouble making friends have found that volunteering gives them the opportunity to develop their social skills – especially those who volunteer in programs like mentoring, tutoring or teaching. Additionally, being around like-minded people gives them ample opportunity to strike up friendships with people who have common interests.

Volunteering sets a good example for your kids. Like it or not, adults are role models to the younger generation, so when kids see their parents and/or friends’ parents giving themselves away to those who need assistance, they are more likely to do the same.

While it’s important to note that the best reason to volunteer is so that we can share God’s love with others because He first loved us, the additional benefits that come with serving others shouldn’t be overlooked.

To explore volunteering at Jericho, contact, or call Angela Rogers at (203) 791-1180.