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Giving a Big Cheer to Volunteers this Volunteers' Week 2024!

Let's be real, volunteering is the absolute backbone of the charity world. It brings a ton of amazing benefits for the volunteers themselves – like gaining new skills, making new mates, boosting confidence, and doing some proper good.

But it's not just the volunteers who benefit, charities rely on them too. Volunteers allow charities to crack on with their crucial missions, meet the needs of the people they support, keep things ticking over day-to-day, raise funds and awareness, and broadly lend a hand to their communities.

That said, volunteering can be a tricky business for both the volunteers and the charities.

5 Brilliant Benefits of Volunteering for Charities

According to the latest figures from NCVO, in 2020-21, half of UK adults volunteered their time to help others at least once that year. A whopping 16.3 million people across the UK formally volunteered. So it's clear that volunteering is still massively popular here in Blighty.

Volunteering is essential. It brings massive benefits to charities and the whole sector. Let's check out some of the top perks, starting with arguably the most important one.

It Helps Cut Costs

Charities can use volunteers to reduce their operating costs. It's often tricky to put a number on it, as volunteer roles can be a bit ad hoc and depend on what's needed there and then. But the simple truth is, charities can rarely afford to hire full-time staff to do those jobs. Volunteers are way more flexible than regular employees, usually able to pitch in for a few hours at a time and often during periods when paid staff are on holiday – like over Christmas, which can be a tough time for the people charities support.

It Boosts Service Delivery

Some charities wouldn't be able to offer certain services and programmes without the support of volunteers. Delivering can be costly and challenging. Volunteers often make the impossible possible. Volunteers ensure services continue, but they also help make them more sustainable long-term.

They Provide Specialist Skills

Volunteers often possess specialist skills that support not just service delivery, but loads of other aspects of charity life too. Volunteers can fill those gaps, providing their practical expertise to complete jobs that would otherwise be left undone. And it's not just practical skills. Volunteers can provide psychological awareness that benefits service users, or legal expertise to support the charity itself. Volunteers can tackle any task, not just fundraising and service delivery.

They Increase the Reach

Volunteers allow charities to reach more people. They extend the geographical reach of many charities, simply by living in different areas. And fundraising efforts from volunteers often help charities connect with new people too. Volunteers are usually local, meaning they live in the community they want to support. They'll often become your biggest advocates, telling everyone about your cause, bringing in more volunteers to help, and ensuring your charity can support even more people.

They Diversify Ideas

Volunteers bring fresh ideas, new opinions, and different ways of working to charities. Many charities, especially 'the smalls', can end up feeling stretched for time and resources, which can lead to a bit of stagnation. Volunteers offer brand new perspectives. They help charities adapt, stay relevant, and keep up with the latest developments. In short, volunteers can help charities improve broadly by introducing new ideas.

8 Benefits of Volunteering for You!

Meet New People

Volunteering is a great way to meet some amazing people – people united by a shared passion. You'll find people from all walks of life there, with a wide range of backgrounds and ages, who you might not otherwise cross paths with in your professional or social circles. Finding out what you have in common could really surprise you!

It's Good for Your Health!

Volunteering is linked to better physical, mental and emotional health. It keeps you socially connected, which can reduce stress, depression and loneliness. For older volunteers, it promotes wellness by keeping you mobile and active – though charities are committed to accommodating all abilities in their shops. And you only need to do what you can manage.

Gain Confidence

As a volunteer, there's no pressure to have any professional skills. So it's a great chance to try new things in an environment where help and guidance are always available. Interacting with other volunteers and customers can really boost your self-confidence.

Get Professional Experience

You don't need any previous experience to start volunteering. But you can gain some by doing it! This valuable professional experience looks great on your CV. Or your UCAS form if you're a student. And it can count towards the volunteering section of your Duke of Edinburgh award. Volunteering shows you're truly motivated to help others without financial gain. It's an impressive quality for any employer.

Find a New Interest

There's so much knowledge shared between volunteers. You're bound to pick up something completely new. You could uncover a curiosity for something you never expected!

Join a Community

Volunteering can help you feel part of a community of volunteers, all working together to make things better. Because you're part of the team making it happen.

Make the Most of Your Skills

Make the most of volunteers' potential, whatever your hobby or professional knowledge! Whatever your strengths, charities are keen to help you use your skills and experience to the fullest.

Have Fun!

Volunteers are hugely valued – without you, so much of the vital work couldn't take place. Charities aim to create a welcoming, inclusive and friendly environment for volunteers, so you can really enjoy the experience and get the best out of it.

Volunteer in charity shops, offices, at events and so much more to make a difference, and develop new skills along the way.

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