According to the blog, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, several studies in recent years have shown that people who volunteer their time are more likely to volunteer their money, as opposed to those who do not volunteer at all. This suggests we should take a closer look at why people choose to give their time as opposed to how or why they donate their money.
Nonprofits typically attempt to convince people to donate their time and money by appealing to the motivation of “feeling good” or “doing the right thing.” Many organizations even “sell” volunteerism as a pathway to employees engaging with their corporation.
However, studies have indicated that most people will donate more time as a volunteer if they can perceive a benefit for themselves as well. What’s the point? If you’re a nonprofit who seek volunteers, if you aren’t discussing the benefits for the recruitment, you’re missing a powerful leverage factor!
Studies have highlighted the health benefits of volunteering
Science Daily reports that researchers from the University of British Columbia attempted to find a correlation between physical and psychological health and volunteering. The results were staggering.
A large group of more than 100 students were split into two groups: one that volunteered regularly for nine weeks and one who didn’t. Researchers took account of the students’ body mass index, cholesterol levels, and inflammation before and after the study. They also measured psychological factors such as overall mental health, mood, empathy levels, and self-esteem.
After spending only one hour a day working with underprivileged kids, the group that volunteered showed lower inflammation, cholesterol levels, and body mass index levels than the group that didn’t volunteer. They also showed improved mental health, with greatly increased empathy and altruistic behavior.
Diversity for Volunteering is Essential
According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the need for diversity among nonprofits has never been greater. Many people assume that when they volunteer, they must fit into a preformed category; for example, a graphic designer considering volunteering for a soup kitchen might not see how his professional talents could significantly improve the facility.
He or she may not even consider those professional talents when applying as a volunteer, and that could miss an important way to improve the soup kitchen with the designer’s particular skills, as opposed to standing in a line serving soup for hours.
What if the soup kitchen desperately needed a professional website in order to spread awareness and raise funds? Or could the facility benefit from the graphic designer’s willingness to raffle a free website to the highest bidder?
The need for volunteers has never been greater
According to the nonprofit Volunteer for India, the need for volunteers is greater than ever. Consider just one country: In India, there are more than 11 million abandoned children who face a bleak future as prostitutes, laborers, or beggars if a family does not adopt them.
Due to the growing number of orphanages the government has set up to address the issue, a volunteer can be utilized in a variety of ways besides adoption, including: helping to keep the orphanage clean, spending time with the children, teaching English, or assisting in extracurricular activities such as drawing, art, singing songs, and dancing.
The need has never been greater and the opportunities for both nonprofits and individuals to “think outside the box” and assist as volunteers has never been easier!