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Get In on Giving Back! Benefits of Volunteering

Despite the recent economic recession, national volunteering numbers have continued to grow to their highest level in recent years, with roughly one-third of the population volunteering, up from 27% in 2009. This trend, dubbed "the compassion boom" by the media, shows that more people have discovered the personal and intrinsic rewards of volunteering.

While baseball historically had been considered the national pastime, one could argue that volunteering gives it a run for its money. In fact, a report put out by the U.S Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor's Statistics shows that a staggering 63.4 million people- or 26.8 percent of the population-volunteered at least once between September 2008 and September 2010. (In 2008, the rate was 24.6 of the population) In that year, there were approximately 8.1 billion hours volunteered at an estimated value of $169 billion.

Who's volunteering their time?

According to the U.S Department of Labor and Statistics, individuals with higher levels of educational attainment are more likely to volunteer than those with less education. Among persons aged 25 or older, 42.8 percent of college graduates volunteer, compared with 18.8 percent of high school graduates and 8.6 percent of those with less than a high school diploma. Recent studies also show that women are spending more time volunteering than men.

Where are the volunteers?

The top 8 volunteer states are:
Utah 43.5% Alaska 38.0% Maine 33.3%
Nebraska 38.9% Iowa 37.1% New Hampshire 29.3%
Minnesota 38.4% Vermont 36.3%

Volunteering can bring motivation and sense of achievement
Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills. Volunteers express a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from your desire and enthusiasm to help. I have been a SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) volunteer for the last 8 years. This experience has offered the opportunity to grow professionally and network informally with fellow chapter members.

My best volunteer experience was at this year's annual HR Conference held in my hometown, Atlanta, Georgia. A comment from a fellow HR Blogger and colleague "Our SHRM-Atlanta volunteers rocked the house. Our volunteers were friendly, efficient and knowledgeable our SHRM-Atlanta team also provided great hospitality. They worked a gazillion hours and have the blisters on their feet to prove it! Well done". This was certainly a sense of achievement to host more than 13,000 people, over 4 days, in a major city, without any major issues.

Volunteering can allow you to meet a diverse group of people.

Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Both the recipients of your volunteer efforts and your co-workers can be a rich source of inspiration and an excellent way to develop your interpersonal skills. Volunteering also offers an incredible networking opportunity. Not only will you develop lasting personal and professional relationships but it is also a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and can have a positive impact on your life of the life of those you help or serve.

The decision to volunteer… What people have said…

"I feel it is important to help others"
"I can do something for a profession or cause that is important to me"
"Volunteering allows me to gain a new perspective on things"
"I can explore my own strengths"
"I can learn new skills"
"Volunteering makes me feel needed"
"I can make new contacts that might help my business or career"
"Volunteering looks good on my resume"
"Volunteering helps me address some of my own issues"
Get Involved!

Find your niche and make a difference. Use the links below to match your desire to volunteer for a cause that is near and dear to your heart… And home!

Posted by: Erica Gamble, PhD. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, OOH FAQs, on the Internet at Http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/ooh-faqs.ht… (visited August 10, 2012).

Article Source: Http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._Eri…

860 2013 Conference Tag Photo - Niche Conference Iowa

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