What is Volunteering?

Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain. It can be formal (usually takes place through a charity or other not-for-profit or community organization) or informal (includes helping family and friends with things like babysitting, home repairs or caring).

There are many organizations that actively seek volunteers. These include:

  • animal welfare organizations
  • organizations interested in conservation
  • organizations and charities that look after vulnerable people
  • other community organizations like state emergency services and rural fire services
  • organizations that take volunteers overseas.

Volunteering can be very meaningful and enjoyable, and in turn be good for your mental health and wellbeing.

Volunteering can:

  • give you a sense of achievement and purpose
  • help you feel part of a community
  • help you feel better about yourself by improving your self-esteem and confidence
  • help you share your skills, learn new skills and create a better work-life balance
  • help combat stress, loneliness, and social isolation, and depression
  • help you meet new people, which can help you feel more connected and valued

Being a volunteer has lots of benefits. It can bring meaning and purpose to your life while increasing your self-esteem and well-being. Volunteering can also relieve stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression. As well as having a positive impact on your community, volunteering can improve your relationships too.

Even volunteering can deliver a wealth of benefits, here are just a few:

  • A means of building self-esteem and confidence
  • A great way to learn or develop skills and interests
  • A pathway to enhance the work experience
  • A way to enhance your health and get active
  • A way to meet new people or broaden your social circle
  • A way of expressing gratitude for help you may have received in the past
  • An opportunity to practice and develop your social skills
  • An opportunity to support a cause you feel strongly about
  • An opportunity to make a real difference to your community.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and build healthy relationships. It strengthens your ties to the community and exposes you to people with similar interests.

Because volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others, it can also help you develop a solid support base. As well as helping to protect you against stress and depression, volunteering can help with mental health recovery.

Volunteering is an activity which takes place through not-for-profit and community organizations and projects or your local community and is undertaken:

  • to be of benefit to the community and the volunteer
  • of the volunteer’s own free will and without coercion
  • for no financial payment.

Self-worth, great fun, friendships, and job opportunities can all be part of getting involved with your community. Volunteering may be an outlet for your natural talents, a road-test for your new career, or simply a handy way to meet new friends. Your strong beliefs and values may also inspire you to volunteer.