Giving Compass’ Take:
• Moshe Hech at eJewish Philanthropy cites numerous research studies that reveal the connection between volunteering and happiness.
• What are the reasons that you volunteer your time? What do you think about the relationship between volunteering and connectedness?
• Read about the benefits and motivations of volunteers.
A post on Harvard Medical School’s blog reveals that volunteering makes people feel more “socially connected,” whether it be with the people you’re volunteering with or for. This feeling of enhanced interconnectivity and belonging gives people who volunteer regularly the ability to better “ward off loneliness and depression.” As a special bonus, volunteering is also linked to significantly lower blood pressure. Lower blood pressure! Just writing this makes me want to go out and volunteer ASAP.
Haven’t had your fill of data yet? Are you more of a Yale kind of person, or you just need more numbers? Well, it’s your lucky day – I’ve got a “Family Size” pack of facts with your name on it. You’re welcome.
A study by the Germany-based Institute for the Study of Labor was actually able to quantify how much happier volunteers were than non-volunteers. Over a period of four years and 22,000 separate interviews, researchers were able to definitively link volunteering to an increase in overall life satisfaction. Volunteering alone allowed individuals – on a scale from 1-10 – to, on average, jump up from a 6 to a 7. This boost was also noticeable in people who volunteered just one time a month, proving that helping others just a few hours a month truly pays dividends.
Researchers from City University of Hong Kong thought so too. That’s why they did a study in Texas with over one thousand red-white-and-blue Texans, controlling for two different kinds of volunteering: self-oriented and other-oriented. Rather intuitively, those terms mean volunteering that was engaged in solely to benefit the self (greater networking, finding oneself, or increasing career prospects) and volunteering that was done out of altruism, respectively. They too found a link between volunteering and happiness, a connection that was present even if people volunteered just to pad their resumes.
Read the full article about the science of volunteering by Moshe Hech at eJewish Philanthropy.
Interested in learning more about Volunteering? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to Volunteering.
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If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Volunteering, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Volunteering.