The Benefits of Volunteering for You and Your Community

The Benefits of Volunteering for You and Your Community

by Lisa Davis, January 9, 2020

The new year is a great time to pick up different hobbies or try something different. If you’re looking to meet new people and make an impact in your community, consider volunteering. When you give your time to an organization like Family Resources, you can touch dozens of lives and help us further our mission of building healthy relationships and helping the youth of Pinellas and Manatee counties. Consider a few of these benefits of volunteering to see just how far a few hours can go.

Understand the Monetary Impact of Your Volunteer Hours

You don’t have to be a major financial donor to make a positive impact in your community. Any hours you give provide tangible, monetary benefits to Family Resources. 

We consider the efforts of our volunteers to be invaluable, but economic experts have been able to break down the actual financial impact of your efforts. The organization Independent Sector estimates that the average value of volunteer time in 2019 was $25.43 per hour. More than 63 million people volunteered in the United States in 2019, giving more than 8 billion hours of their time, talent, and effort. This accumulated into $203.4 billion of impact in local communities. 

The volunteers who support Family Resources help our staff in a very real way. They support enriching activities at our after-school programs to engage the kids, they work to keep our campuses clean and functioning, and they provide extra sets of hands when our staff members need help. Without the efforts of our volunteers, we would not be able to offer as many programs, and our reach would be greatly diminished because we would need to pay for the services that they so generously provide.

Volunteering Benefits You Mentally and Socially

The benefits of volunteering extend beyond the financial benefits to the organization you work with. Volunteering has been shown to have physical, mental, and social benefits to communities. 

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to meet people, helping you make friends and professional connections. Many people enjoy the social aspects of volunteering and get involved in beach clean-ups or community centers to find people with similar priorities. Additionally, volunteering has been shown to fill people with a sense of purpose and make them happier, boosting their self-esteem and mental health. Even physically, those who volunteer tend to have lower blood pressure and are more mobile due to the physical activity during their giving efforts.

Volunteering Can Actually Give You More Time

Have you ever felt like you don’t have as many hours in a day as you would like? Are you worried that volunteering will take up too much time?  Surprisingly, volunteering can actually make you feel like you have more time. 

Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner found that people who volunteer their time actually feel like they have more of it. “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,” she writes. 

This paradox comes from the idea that people who give their time feel more competent and useful. They feel like they can do more and that their futures feel brighter. The result is that they feel like they actually have more time, whether they’re thinking in the near future or in the coming decade. Interestingly, there are similar studies that found how those who donate to charity actually feel wealthier. 

Try spending a few hours volunteering this month, you may start to feel less overwhelmed by your packed schedule and impending deadlines.

You Don’t Have to Wait to Be Asked

In a survey asking people why they don’t volunteer, one out of four people said it was because they were never asked. Many people aren’t sure how to get involved and don’t understand the process of starting in a volunteer role.

We welcome any volunteers to knock on our door and tell us how they want to help. You can decide what volunteer experience you want to do and the hours you want to contribute so that you get the most meaning out of your service.  

Volunteer Opportunities Through Family Resources

There are many ways to get involved with Family Resources and to help unaccompanied, homeless youth and at-risk kids in our area. You can volunteer directly with our after-school programs and in our Safeplace2b shelters, where we can always use another set of hands to keep our facilities clean and functioning at their best. However, you can also set up fundraisers on your own and conduct supply drives for our hygiene kits and other necessities. We work with many individuals and companies who fundraise on our behalf and provide financial and item-based contributions to our locations. Any effort can make a significant impact in the lives of local families and homeless teens in the area.     

In the coming year, Family Resources will need more volunteers than ever as we continue to build and open our Safe Connections resource center. This location will help homeless youth ages 16-24 head toward a path of stability and success. It will have a clothing closet, emergency food relief, referrals to other services, laundry facilities, hygiene items, and computer stations. By volunteering with Family Resources now, you can help us launch this new service center and provide a line of support for unaccompanied, homeless youth in St. Petersburg.   

If you want to get involved in Family Resources and find a good volunteer fit for your goals, contact us today. You can also call Kim Skrovanek at 727-317-4314 to learn about our volunteer screening and onboarding process.