Becoming a Volunteer: Diverse Benefits of Volunteering

What is the number one reason for becoming a volunteer? You may already know that charitable organizations help people in need and allow everyone to make a difference. However, there are some material benefits as well. Volunteer experience can boost your career prospects: it increases your chances of getting into a prestigious university or being hired at a big company. Find out more below!

This article by will:

  • cover the top 6 benefits of volunteering for students;
  • explain how to become a volunteer;
  • introduce the top 10 volunteer organizations.

👍 Top 6 Benefits of Volunteering

You might be asking yourself: Why should students volunteer? Well, there are many ways in which young people can benefit from having a volunteer experience: 

The picture enumerates the benefits of volunteering.
  1. Helping those in need allows students to make a difference. Every such action contributes to the well-being of the world.
  2. Working for a worthy cause brings out a sense of achievement and pride. It can help students gain greater self-confidence and build their character.
  3. Volunteering allows students to get away from their daily routine. Such an experience can help young people to see things from a different perspective. 
  4. Voluntary work abroad allows students to experience a new culture first-hand. By working with the locals, they learn a lot about the country and people’s day-to-day lives.
  5. Student volunteering is an opportunity to meet new interesting people. Organizations both at home and abroad bring people from all walks of life together. 
  6. Volunteering is an excellent way to develop social skills. It helps students build their leadership, communication, and collaboration skills and become more self-aware.

Overall, working with a charitable organization or participating in activities that help others makes you happier, relieves stress, and brings a sense of fulfillment.

Boosting your Prospects via Volunteering

Helping others and giving back to society may not add any money to your wallet, but there are more benefits to volunteering than many people think. 

For example, did you know that voluntary work can help students get accepted into their dream university program? Here’s how: 

  1. If you have volunteer experience, you may get a clearer idea of what you want to pursue in the future and what you want to achieve as a student. It means that you are more careful and precise when it comes to choosing a university.
  2. Volunteering is an excellent topic for your college application essay, where you can demonstrate your knowledge and share what you’ve learned while working. 
  3. If you have volunteer experience, you’re more likely to get scholarships such as the AIFS Diversity Scholarship.  

But that’s not all! Volunteering can also boost your career prospects:

  1. Working with charitable organizations helps you refine valuable soft skills, such as resourcefulness and collaboration. These skills are highly valued among employers.
  2. Through volunteering, you may get relevant work experience. If you’re planning to start a career in nursing or education, it might be helpful to do some voluntary work in those fields. This way, you will get some first-hand experience and become more confident. 
  3. Volunteering can bolster your resume, especially if you volunteer with an organization in your career field. 
  4. Working with non-profit organizations is a great way to expand your overall network of mentors and peers. Having a diverse network opens various job opportunities. 

❓ How to Become a Volunteer

Have you already decided to become a volunteer? If so, this section is for you. It explains step by step how to prepare for this experience.

Before You Start

First off, you need to decide what you want to get out of volunteering. It’s essential to set your expectations properly. Ask yourself the following questions: 

Why do I want to volunteer? Think about causes that are personally meaningful to you. This way, you can not only help others but also enjoy committing your time to it. 
Do I want to do it part-time or full-time? See how much time you can and are willing to commit to volunteer work. It will help both you and the organization you plan to work with. 
Where do I want to work? Decide whether you want to help some local organizations or explore new places while volunteering. 
What skills do I need? It’s best to seek out volunteer opportunities where you can bring your skills to the table. It can be anything: crafts, languages, cooking, etc. 

Keep your answers to the above questions in mind while researching volunteer opportunities.

Choosing a Type of Volunteer Work

Do you like doing handiwork or taking care of children? Or maybe working with animals appeals to you the most. Whatever your preferences are, you can find something that will pique your interest among different types of volunteer work:

🌳 Agriculture Agricultural work may involve farming in a rural community. The best of these projects support environmentally friendly, community-wide farming practices.
🐶 Animal shelters These volunteer activities focus on protecting and taking care of animals. You can choose from activities such as rehabilitation of injured and trafficked animals, monitoring animal activity in the wild, or restoring natural habitats. 
♻️ Environmental volunteering Environmental projects usually require volunteers to prepare educational material, do outside work such as picking up trash or planting trees, and provide community outreach. 
👶 Childcare support Volunteers can work with kids at an orphanage or nursery. They may also tutor elementary school students and organize sports activities.
⚕️ Healthcare You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to assist in a hospital. You may be asked to help organize workshops, assist medical staff, or raise awareness for diseases such as HIV.
Human rights Volunteer opportunities that focus on protecting human rights can include research works or promotion activities.
🛠️ Community service This categoryincludes a broad spectrum of activities. You may be asked to do anything from installing a better stove to building a house. 

Don’t have the opportunity to work outside the home? No worries: many volunteer programs offer various online options as well.

Searching for Volunteer Opportunities

Once you’ve decided on a suitable type of volunteer work, you can start looking for opportunities. Here are some helpful options:

  1. Check with your school/university. You can get information from academic counselors, libraries, school websites, or career centers. Schools also often have programs that provide volunteering opportunities.
  2. Check with local organizations. You don’t need to be limited by the walls of your school. You can also look for more information in other schools, libraries, museums, YMCAs, and study clubs.
  3. Search online. Use such platforms as VolunteerMatch or try finding more information on the website of the organization you are interested in.

After you’ve learned all the necessary information about the program, send in your application form and wait for a reply. If it’s positive, you can get started right away.  

Preparing for Volunteering Abroad

If you’ve decided to commit to any volunteering program abroad, make sure to prepare yourself. It will help you avoid disappointment and get the best out of your experience. Here is a list of things you need to do before traveling: 

The picture shows the main steps in preparation for volunteering abroad.
  1. Do your research. Find information about the organization you plan to work with and its most recent projects. Maybe you can find reviews from other people who have participated in the program. It’s also a good idea to learn more about the country you are traveling to.
  2. Consider all expenses. Make sure you’ve got enough money to cover the trip and accommodation.
  3. Contact the organization beforehand. If you want to avoid any misunderstandings, it’s necessary to contact the organization you plan to work with and discuss all essential details.
  4. Collect all documents. Double-check you have a passport, a visa, and other legal documents. It’s also necessary to take required health precautions, such as vaccines. 
  5. Pack all the necessary things. Make sure your luggage isn’t too heavy. It’s also important to have culturally-appropriate clothes.

Dos & Don’ts of Volunteering

So, you’ve chosen a suitable program, and you’re all set to start your journey as a volunteer. The following tips will help you make the most of your experience:

✔️ Dos❌ Dont’s
  • Ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand.
  • Be responsible about your work.
  • Treat people with respect and appreciation.
  • Try to learn as much as you can from your experience.
  • Stay positive and enjoy yourself. 
  • Don’t choose tasks that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Don’t be late.
  • Don’t overwork yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Don’t break the regulations and guidelines of the organization you work with. 

🔝 Top 10 Volunteering Organizations

To help you search for more volunteer opportunities, we have made a list of the top 10 volunteer organizations. We’re sure you’ll find the perfect fit for you.

Volunteering Organizations for High School Students

Here is a list of the top 5 volunteer organizations suitable for high school students. Make sure to pay attention to the eligibility section, as there might be some age restrictions.

Top Non-Profit Human Rights Organization

Name: Amnesty International 

Cause: Human rights

Format: In-person or online

Eligibility: High school

About the organization: Amnesty International is a global movement with millions of members. It’s campaigning for a world where all people have equal rights. It is independent of any political ideology, religion, or economic interest.

What you can do: High school students who join the community usually work on raising awareness. You can advertise specific human rights issues in your school or district, act on human rights issues by running fundraisers, write letters to local government officials, or circulate petitions for universal human rights.

Best Organization in Community Development

Name: Habitat for Humanity

Cause: Community development

Format: In-person

Eligibility: 15-16 years old

About the organization: Habitat for Humanity helps high school and college students develop their talents and learn teamwork. This program is suitable for teenagers looking for community service ideas for the summer or even longer term.

What you can do: Depending on your age, opportunities range from building houses to participating in neighborhood cleanups. You can also join one of the grassroots groups and do fundraisers or advocate for systemic change.

Best Non-Profit Organization in Healthcare

Name: American Cancer Society

Cause: Health

Format: In-person or online

Eligibility: High school

About the organization: The American Cancer Society raises people’s awareness of cancer and helps fight against it.

What you can do: If you’re a high school student, you can support survivors and caregivers, raise funds for cancer research, or advocate for policy change.

Top Non-Profit Organization in Child Welfare  

Name: Kidsave

Cause: Child welfare

Format: In-person or online

Eligibility: High school

About the organization: Kidsave is an organization that helps children all over the world. Their goal is to inspire individuals, communities, and governments to find families and provide permanent connections for children in need.

What you can do: High school students can help older kids in foster care find a family by holding a fundraiser, spreading the word on social media, and building awareness for the program.

Top Environmental Non-Profit Organization

Name: National Park Service

Cause: Environment

Format: In-person

Eligibility: 18 or under with parental permission

About the organization: National Park Service is a community designed to connect children, teenagers, and adults to wildlife and help them learn more about the environment. Students will discover what it takes to work as a museum curator, biologist, wildfire fighter, trail-builder, or park ranger by working with this organization.

What you can do: There are various programs you can apply to. For instance, you can learn about historic sites and contribute to their preservation. Or, you may become a scout and learn more about wildlife and how to save it.

Volunteer Opportunities for College Students

If you didn’t have the chance to get some volunteer experience during your high school years, you still have plenty of opportunities. Below you will find a list of top volunteer organizations for college students.

Top Volunteer Opportunity in Tutoring

Name: UPchieve

Cause: Education

Format: Online

About the organization: UPchieve is a free, online platform that delivers tutoring to low-income students in the US at any time they need. UPchieve notifies the volunteers when a student’s demand matches their skill set. Volunteers can set their schedules and designate their topics of choice.

What you can do: You can give free lessons to students from anywhere with an internet connection. If you’re a college student, it’s an excellent opportunity for you. You will have a flexible schedule and share your knowledge with others while also improving your skills.

Top Volunteer Opportunity for Traveling Abroad

Name: United Planet

Cause: Environment/community development

Format: In-person

About the organization: United Planet is a non-profit organization that aims at creating a global community. It connects volunteers who desire to make a difference in more than 30 countries.

What you can do: The program changes your worldview and allows you to learn and practice essential skills. You will be given an excellent opportunity to learn, teach, work, and immerse yourself in a culture outside your comfort zone. As a college student, you can join their short-term program.

Best Volunteer Opportunity in Elderly Care  

Name: American Senior Communities

Cause: Elderly care

Format: In-person

About the organization: American Senior Communities focus on providing help and support to older adults in America. College students can easily find options that suit them.

What you can do: You can work in the rehabilitation sphere, memory care, or the well-being sector. For instance, someone who is an avid gardener might lead a Gardening Club. If you’re interested in fitness, you may share that passion of yours through an exercise class. Volunteers who are passionate about spiritual care can read scriptures or sing to residents.

Top Mental Health Volunteer Opportunity

Name: Crisis Text Line

Cause: Mental Health

Format: Online

About the organization: Crisis Text Line is a community that focuses on free, round-the-clock mental health support and promotes mental well-being. The service is provided by volunteer Crisis Counselors who work remotely from anywhere in the world.

What you can do: College students can become Crisis Counselors. Their responsibility is to answer texts from people in crisis and help them through active listening, safety planning, and collaborative problem-solving. Crisis Counselors need to commit to voluntary work 4 hours per week and complete a training period.

Best Volunteer Opportunity in Arts & Culture

Name: Alliance for the Arts

Cause: Arts & culture

Format: In-person

About the organization: Alliance for the Arts is a community that aims at expanding access to the arts. The organization supports self-expression and imagination. It’s a place where people from different spheres of life can meet, have discussions, and bring attention to some of our society’s challenges.

What you can do: College students’ voluntary work opportunities are boundless: from building sets to representing the Alliance at community events.

Thanks for reading through our article. We hope that it helped you learn more about volunteering. Feel free to share this article with your friends!

🔍 References

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