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Why volunteering will be the best thing you ever do

Each year, more than one billion people volunteer. Joining them might just be the best thing you ever do. Here’s why...

1. Your skills and efforts will be truly appreciated

Ever feel that the work you put in is underappreciated? Volunteering means sharing your skills and investing efforts where they are needed – and appreciated – most.

‘It makes me feel grateful that I can empower people to become self-reliant. I always remember when someone I was supporting came to me and said ‘’Now, because of you, I know how to speak. I can voice my opinions.’’

Juanito Estrada

Education Volunteer, Philippines

2. You will be challenged – and emerge resilient

Feel ready for a challenge? Volunteering is not for everyone, but those that are ready to give it their all could emerge more resilient.

Just as a diamond is only formed under pressure, the challenges you will face as a volunteer could make you stronger. In a VSO study, 82% of volunteers agreed that the experience helped to build their resilience, with a further 84% emerging with a confidence boost.

Ana Paula Pinto and students in Myanmar

3. You’ll feel like your time is truly well spent

Your time is your most valuable asset. Are you making the most of it? Many of us are afraid to admit the amount of time we waste mindlessly, whether scrolling through social media or binge-watching box sets.

Volunteers, meanwhile, know that their time is well spent. Studies suggest that volunteering has the effect of making you feel like you have more free time.

Ana Paula Pinto, an education volunteer from Portugal, agrees: "VSO gave me an opportunity to share my skills, to learn and to grow as a person. It's rewarding to be able to share my teaching experience, but it’s also rewarding to receive knowledge."

4. You will learn something unexpected

An open mind, willingness to listen and learn and a sense of humility are a recipe for success in volunteering. You may also discover you have more in common with people from other cultures than you might think, and change your perspective on the world.

"Through volunteering I became a global citizen rather than a UK citizen, and I felt I was now part of the world. Nick Maurice, former VSO volunteer and advocate for international partnerships.

And you never know what you might discover when you volunteer!

"Before volunteering, I couldn't change a lightbulb!" says Alison May, who supported young people to benefit from better employment prospects in Uganda.

Big sister Joya Parvin raising awareness on COVID and distributing hygiene kits to girls and communities in Nepal

5. You will do something truly meaningful

Many people look back on their volunteering experience as the best decision they ever made.

Melba Pyne, 56, is an Colombian education volunteer. ‘’What you learn as a volunteer you can't learn anywhere elsewhere. This experience boosts you as a person and a professional and it refreshes your life."

So what are you waiting for? Get started! From volunteering with a local food bank, to giving time to help a nearby shelter, there are so many ways to give something back without going far.

Explore volunteering with VSO

You can make a real impact by using your skills and experience to create lasting change in countries across Africa and Asia.

Find out more about volunteering with VSO