Christmas is now over and it’s that time of the year when people look to make resolutions for the next one. With a difficult 12 months almost behind us, there’s a palpable sense of excitement for this new year. You might be looking to use this momentum to make some positive changes to your life in 2021. But is becoming a volunteer one of them? Here are 5 reasons why we think you might want to add volunteering to your list of resolutions this year.
1. It gives you a sense of purpose
If there’s one thing that’s almost as ubiquitous as New Year’s resolutions themselves, it’s people not being able to keep them. Although we start off with the best of intentions, it can often feel difficult to carry on with the commitments we set ourselves at the start of the year. Perhaps our goal was too ambitious or life got in the way. Either way, it’s likely we’ve all felt the disappointment of losing track of our goals and the inevitable wait for the next year to start all over again.
With this coming year we may be facing a steeper uphill battle than most. Some psychologists are arguing that with a difficult year behind us and challenges still ahead, placing such undue pressure on ourselves may have a negative impact on our wellbeing and it would be better to go without setting any resolutions at all.
Volunteering in the new year is unlikely to cause you the same emotional pressure. In fact, quite the opposite. Many studies over the years have shown that volunteering leads to people feeling like they have a sense of purpose, improving their wellbeing and decreasing their likelihood of experiencing issues with mental health. Because our main goal when we volunteer is to help others, we end up benefiting ourselves as well as those who we support.
With the act of volunteering being proven as a successful form of self-improvement, why not set it as an alternative resolution? Unlike the other goals set at the new year, the sense of purpose you gain as a volunteer will keep you committed because it feels good to do. This means that you, as well as those in need of help, will carry on experiencing the benefits throughout the year.
2. You can still tackle your resolutions while making a difference
For many of us, setting a New Year’s Resolution is a way to finally get round to learning a new skill. Luckily, volunteering isn’t just about helping others (though it plays a large part), it can also be a fantastic way to gain experience in a new area you’ve always wanted to try. Much of the work performed by charities wouldn’t be possible without their volunteers and so there are a variety of skill-based voluntary roles available in many different fields.
With our ever-increasing reliance on the digital world, online volunteering is also becoming more prominent and charities are looking to fill roles with an even wider range of skills than before, so volunteering is a perfect way to finally learn that one craft. Maybe you’ve been looking at learning web design for a while or you’ve always wanted to try writing. If you give volunteering a go, you can put that resolution to use and learn something new while creating a positive impact on the world around you.
If your resolution doesn’t seem immediately relevant to volunteering, don’t worry! You could always try fundraising. From learning to bake to getting fit, there are endless resolutions that you can convert into a fundraising activity which can make a huge difference to a charity. To learn more about how fundraising helped us this year, read our blog post about Children of Cameroon’s highlights of 2020.
3. It’s flexible
One of the reasons that many of us are unable to stick at our resolutions is that we can’t seem to fit them into our daily routines. They’re difficult to work around our already busy lives and we simply lose track of them. Volunteering can seem like a mammoth commitment and at first glance may not be the obvious suggestion for a flexible new year activity. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
With the rise of online charity work brought about by the global pandemic, there are more options than ever before to volunteer when, where and how you’d like. When volunteering online, all you need is an internet connection and a computer: no travelling is required. This also means that you can fit your volunteer work around your life with ease, no matter how busy your schedule. As you’re not tied to a specific location, there are an increasing number of charities available to you as well, so you can really find a cause you’re passionate about to support and a role that’s suited to you.
Volunteering at Children of Cameroon is entirely online and we’re always excited to have help from people from a variety of backgrounds and lifestyles who want to join us in our mission to end the poverty cycle in Cameroon. To learn more about our volunteering opportunities, visit our Do-It and How You Can Help pages, or contact us.
4. It’s a great way to change paths
New years are often associated with rebirths and fresh starts. For this reason, it’s a time of year where people often take stock and decide what they want to change in life. A career switch is often near the top of this list, but it can be hard to see how to do so.
Volunteering can be a fantastic route to gain experiences that help you to make the move. If you’re looking to move into the charity sector, it can be an invaluable way to see how charities work and are structured from the inside. If you’re looking into changing roles instead, you can develop the skills and experiences that prepare you for a job in a new field when volunteering for a charity.
Perhaps the change you want to make in life is personal rather than professional. You might want to spend more of your spare time helping others, making your life more colourful or meeting new people. Even during a pandemic and doing charity work online, volunteering can be a fantastic opportunity to build connections with others, join a support network and create a positive impact when it’s needed most. Regardless of whether you’re changing the route of your career or journey as an individual, volunteering is a fulfilling way to gain the formative experiences that help to shape a new chapter in life.
5. You can help to build a better world
2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. People, animals and the planet are more vulnerable than ever. But with a new year comes the opportunity to change things, learn from the past and create a better future for those around us. This is the most important reason to volunteer this year. Charities will be doing their best to ensure that the world will be safer, fairer and more equal in this new year compared to the last. But change can’t be achieved without people.
So, however you decide to help this year, no matter how small it feels, every second, every act matters.
Are you convinced? Do you want to take up volunteering this year? We’re always on the lookout for people who share our passion of helping vulnerable children in Cameroon gain access to education.
Our current volunteering opportunities are posted on our Do-It page. Or if you’d like to offer your help in a different role, we’d also love to hear from you. Visit our Contact Us page for more details.
If you have any questions about volunteering with us or our work, leave a comment below!