Volunteer Guest Submission
By Dolly Santos with Dollymath.com
Have you ever participated in your local Relay for Life or another walk aimed at raising awareness and funds for a worthy cause? Maybe you’ve attended a community event, such as an Adopt-a-Thon, or participated in a mud run. You might be surprised to learn that many such activities – and a lot more of what goes on in your community – are organized and managed by volunteers. If you’ve never considered donating your time or services as a volunteer, you’re missing out on the many benefits of volunteerism.
Staying Active and Engaged in Your Community
Volunteering is one of the best ways to keep yourself busy and meet new people, which is especially helpful if you’re lonely after ending a long-term relationship, suffer from depression, or tend to be a loner who doesn’t normally get out much.
The importance of social interaction for your health and well-being can’t be overstated. While it may seem insignificant to your overall health, volunteering often forces you to get out of the house and move, whether you’re walking dogs for the local shelter or helping out with a massive food drive for local families.
Networking with Peers and Industry Professionals
Volunteering can help you not just socially but also professionally by providing opportunities to meet respected professionals or even donors in your community. You never know when your role as a volunteer will connect you with the CEO or hiring manager of your dream company.
Plus, volunteering can make a great resume enhancer. If you’re in the job market, highlighting the work you do outside of traditional employment for the benefit of the community can help you stand out from other candidates.
The Feel-Good Vibes You Get from Helping Others
Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of volunteering is the self-esteem boost you get from knowing that you did something to help someone else who is less fortunate, whether your volunteer work benefits people or animals.
Another perk of volunteering is that you can participate in activities and contribute to causes that are close to your heart. If you’ve always been a dog-lover, for instance, there are myriad ways you can get involved with rescue organizations, animal shelters, and other charities that benefit stray and homeless pups.
Don’t Forget the Tax Benefits
Thinking about the financial benefits you can glean from volunteerism may seem self-serving, but the fact is that volunteering can save you a few bucks at tax time, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of the benefits you’re eligible to take. For instance, if your volunteer work requires you to use your personal vehicle to transport supplies, stray or homeless pets, or other individuals, you’re eligible for a tax deduction based on your mileage.
Additionally, you’re able to deduct any expenses that you incur in the course of your volunteer work on behalf of a qualified charitable organization. If you purchase supplies to make crafts to sell at an event with proceeds benefiting a tax-exempt charity, for example, you can deduct the cost of those supplies. While there’s no deduction for your time (such as an hourly amount based on the hours you spend volunteering), it’s worth taking a look at your out-of-pocket costs and mileage to cut down on your tax obligation.
The feel-good vibes you get from doing something for others and helping your local community are more than enough to make volunteering worth your while. Combined with the other benefits of volunteerism, there’s simply no reason not to find a worthy cause close to your heart to occupy your free time.
If you would like to connect with the guest writer: Dolly is an information junkie. She complies thoughtful articles based on her analysis of available data at Dollymath.com. Feel free to check out her site and thank her for her contribution!
Image via Pixabay by Zvuk