Volunteering is the act of freely giving your time to work with others. From my personal experience volunteering for ASEW and from running a volunteering network, here are five ways volunteering can be beneficial to you as a social entrepreneur:
1. Creates a sense of belonging:
As commonly said, we are all social beings. Volunteering is a way for us to connect with other people that we would not be associated with before. Since it mostly involves commitment to a cause, freely giving your time together with others to address problems brings self-fulfilment and a sense of belonging. In turn, you develop strong interpersonal relationships with those that shares the same values as you.
2. Enhances transferrable skills:
Volunteering helps you develop transferrable skills such as communication and collaboration, especially when giving your time as part of a team. Also, the skills of developing and sharing new ideas, solving problems and strategic thinking can all be enhanced through volunteering if you intentionally put yourself forward for it.
3. Gateway to potential employment:
Volunteering could help you land your next job. Aside from the skills it helps you develop; it is also a way to demonstrate resourcefulness to a potential employer and to show commitment to a greater cause. Additionally, if you later choose to pursue a career in the cause you are volunteering for, you will have an edge over others who do not have the hands-on experience you already acquired by freely giving your time.
4. Builds professional and social connections:
Volunteering is a great avenue for building professional and social connections. You can connect with people from all walks of life through volunteering. Volunteering often unites people pursuing a cause, whether formally or informally. Your co-volunteers are likely to share the same interest, purpose, and goals as you, which then enables you build new connections and expand your network.
5. Increases your success rate in scholarship/fellowship applications:
Part of the requirement for some local and international scholarship/fellowship applications is the ability to demonstrate a volunteering experience. Freely giving your time to serve in areas that you are interested in helps build your profile and improve your chances of success when pursuing such scholarship or fellowship opportunities.
In conclusion, below are a few links that can help you get started with volunteering: