Let’s face it, life is stressful, demands continue to increase and finding that perfect work-life balance is nearly impossible. With our work days seeming to lengthen and children getting involved in activities sooner, time is a luxury. I’ve noticed more and more as people answer the common “how are you question” instead of replying with a “I’m good thanks” the most frequent response is “we are so busy”. Busy, busy, busy but what if there was more to life. What if there is was an activity you could do weekly or monthly that would not only improve your overall health and well-being but that of your community’s as well.

This sort of activity does exist and it is called volunteering. A volunteer is someone who freely offers to take part in an activity or undertake a task to benefit an organization and their community. Volunteers do not get paid monetarily but the joy and fulfillment you gain by volunteering far surpasses any check you could receive. Communities depend on volunteers, they count on people to give back by using their time, skills and resources for the better good.

In today’s fast paced day-to-day grind time seems to be the biggest challenge in volunteering. With work deadlines, family needs and weekly activities, where is the time to volunteer? Time is ours though, we wake up each day with the freedom and opportunity to use time how we wish and making time to give back is a win win. Here are the top five benefits to volunteering:

  • Make a difference in the life of others.
  • Feel involved and needed.
  • Use your skills and resources for the greater good.
  • Make connections and build relationships in your community.
  • Find purpose.

In a society where nonprofits are abundant, finding a volunteer opportunity to match your interests, skills and availability is easy. There are volunteer opportunities to match just about everyone’s passion and schedule. A few favorite national organizations offering unique yet meaningful volunteer opportunities include:

  • Box of Balloons, Inc.– providing birthday parties to children in need because each birthday should be happy and every child celebrated. This volunteer opportunity is low time commitment, makes a meaningful impact and welcomes kids to volunteer as well. A birthday party for a child in need gives them joy, confidence and positive self-esteem. Plus giving a birthday party is so much fun!
  • The Humane Society– working to end all forms of animal cruelty. Cities across the country have local humane societies and offer a variety of hands on volunteer opportunities.
  • Girls on the Run, Inc.- inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Coach a group of young girls for a short time and encourage them to do things they didn’t think they could.
  • Feeding America– securing and distributing meals through food pantry and meal programs. There are many opportunities at your local food bank with varying time commitments and skills needed. Everyone needs food, it is a basic necessity.
  • Join a Board Team- all nonprofits need a board of volunteers to guide, lead and direct the organization. This is great for professionals looking to connect to their local community and build leadership skills.

Time is precious but we all have the opportunity to use it to make a difference in the world. Find an organization near you this week, connect to others in your community and experience the joy of volunteering.