- Health is always at the top of resolution lists. Consider this: Research shows that volunteering leads to greater life satisfaction, increased self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and lower rates of depression (Harlow and Cantor, 1996; Lum and Lightfoot, 2005). Read more about the mental and physical benefits of volunteering.
- Graduating soon? Looking for a new job? Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Volunteers living in rural areas have a 55 percent higher likelihood of finding employment. Read more about volunteering as a pathway to employment.
- Looking to build a new skill, or explore a passion? There are over 2,000 volunteer opportunities on the Volunteer Iowa portal that are searchable by several categories. Are you interested in art, education, health, legal services, sports, technology, or board service? You’ll be giving and gaining as you branch into something new in 2016.
- Perhaps you love contributing to effectiveness and efficiency? According to the TCC group, organizations with 10 to 50 volunteers are, statistically, equally as “effective” on all measures of organizational effectiveness (capacity) as their counterparts without volunteers, yet their average (median) annual budgets are almost half. Your time volunteering can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of charitable and governmental services in Iowa. Read more about Service Enterprises, organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills across all levels of their organizations to successfully deliver their social mission.
- Don’t have time to even make a resolution? Well, volunteering time actually makes you feel like you have more time. Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that her research found “those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it… The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.” Read more about feeling more time affluent.
Now that you have a few reasons to volunteer in 2016, you may be asking, why 50 hours? Through the Volunteer Iowa “What’s Your 50?” campaign, we encourage Iowans to participate in volunteer and service activities at least 50 hours per year because research has shown that an annual contribution of 50 hours tends to be a tipping point for maximizing impact; both to the individual who volunteers and the recipient of their service.
Whether you want to explore a passion, get a new job, or improve your health in 2016, resolve to share your talents and experience a volunteer! You’ll be glad you did.
Happy New Year!