Community service is unpaid work performed by individuals for the benefit and betterment of their community without any form of compensation. Also known as volunteering, it is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labor.
Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.
Types of volunteering
Micro-VolunteeringMicro-volunteering describes a volunteer, or team of volunteers, completing small tasks that make up a larger project. These tasks often benefit research, charitable, or non-governmental organizations. It differs from normal volunteerism as the tasks take only minutes to a few hours, and the volunteer does not make a long-term commitment.
it consists of contributing towards environmental management or conservation. Environmental volunteers conduct a range of activities including environmental monitoring, ecological restoration such as revegetation, and educating others about the natural environment. The volunteers also partake in community-based projects, improving footpaths, open spaces, and local amenities for the benefit of the local community and visitors. The uptake of environmental volunteering stems in part from the advantages for the volunteers themselves, such as improving social networks and developing a sense of place.
Corporate VolunteeringCorporate Volunteering is about businesses supporting and encouraging staff involvement in the community – for mutual benefit - thus making the business and social case quite straightforward. It has proven to be beneficial to companies as it demonstrates a commitment to building healthy communities.
Social/Welfare VolunteeringSocial volunteering is individual/ group volunteering done for a certain period of time for various causes. These causes can range from working at a blood donation camp to engaging in old age homes to help out seniors. Volunteers get involved in the working of institutions like hospitals, schools, memorial sites, and welfare institutions.
Also known as e-volunteering, Virtual volunteering refers to volunteer activities completed, in whole or in part, using the Internet and a home, school, telecenter, or work computer or another Internet-connected device, such as a smartphone or computer. Basically, any volunteering that requires one to be online, is known as virtual volunteering. This practice has been accelerated by the pandemic. Virtual volunteering connects volunteers from all walks of life and backgrounds to global charities that may not have the necessary ability and resources locally.
Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering to serve the community is not only beneficial to the individuals involved but is necessary for creating better societies for all. For instance, community members may volunteer to clean up a town near them or feed stray animals. Thus, by cleaning the compounds surrounding them, society members help promote the health of their young ones. These younger members of the community are always playing, during which they can eat anything on the ground which would have otherwise caused them serious infections.
Community work need not always revolve around the environment. It could also mean uplifting the needy around us by providing them with goods like clothes and books. Being compassionate to the needs of other people makes us realize and appreciate humanity and spiritual being as well as feeling good for changing someone’s life. This can even help shy people get self-esteem. Volunteering in social work helps in promoting and building our social obligations as human beings.
Following are some of the benefits of volunteering that could result in a symbiotic relationship between an individual and the community they live in.
1) Volunteering connects you to others:
Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
One of the best ways to meet new people and form bonds or to strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities. It gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests.
Volunteering as a family can tighten your bonds as a team and you can get to know each other better. Encouraging your children to participate in activities that benefit the community can enhance their mental and social development.
2) Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem:
Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of fulfillment. Working as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and character, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment.
The social contact perspective of helping and working with others can have a great effect on your overall psychological health. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person.
By studying hormones and brain activity, researchers have learned that being helpful to others gives enormous pleasure. The more humans give, the happier we feel.
Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better-thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
3) Volunteering can advance your career:
In an increasingly competitive job market, volunteering experience can be incredibly useful. It shows potential employers that you can take initiative and that you’re willing to give your own time to improve the world for other people. Furthermore, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important common skills used in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, and organization.
Meeting people could help you build contacts.
From the career perspective, this might lead you to people who belong to the fields of work you are interested in. Their guidance or recommendations can go a long way in giving your career a little boost.
Volunteering can also help you build upon skills you already have and use them to benefit the greater community. For instance, if you hold a successful sales position, you can raise awareness for your favorite cause as a volunteer advocate, while further developing and improving your public speaking, communication, and marketing skills.
4) Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life:
Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. By doing volunteer work, one may find life meaningful and interesting, which can act as an escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
The great thing about volunteer work is that there are as many ways to help as there are people. You will have a richer and more enjoyable volunteering experience if you first take some time to identify your goals and interests. Think about why you want to volunteer. What would you enjoy doing? The opportunities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling.
To start or expand your volunteering experience, come and volunteer with us! Click here to join.