Charity Volunteering for the Soul
Charity organizations collect money or supplies to help people in need. A group that collects clothing and distributes it to the homeless would be considered a charity. A nonprofit organization is slightly different from a charity. Nonprofit organizations are legal entities that qualify for exemption from federal taxes. The Internal Revenue Service requires each nonprofit to be in the form of a foundation, corporation, fund, or community chest to qualify for this tax-exempt status. The most well-known type of nonprofit organization is the 501(c)(3), which is a charitable nonprofit. This article is provided by Action Donation Services® as a public service with the goal of encouraging charity volunteering. Action Donation is a “for-profit” organization that processes donations of cars, boats, RVs, trucks, and motorcycles for some of America’s best known charities, religious, and non-profit organizations.
The National Center for Charitable Statistics reports that the United States has more than 1.6 million registered nonprofit organizations as of 2011. NCCS also says that 26.3 percent of Americans over the age of 16 volunteered for a nonprofit organization between 2009 and 2010. A report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that women volunteer at a higher rate than men. The same report indicates that people ranging in age from 35 to 44 are the most likely to volunteer. Volunteering for a charity or nonprofit organization has a number of emotional and social benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of volunteering is improved self-esteem. Volunteering gives people of all ages a sense of purpose, which can improve their self-esteem and increase their satisfaction with life. Having a sense of purpose makes it easier to get up and face the world each day, especially when that purpose is helping other people. Self-esteem also improves due to the personal sense of accomplishment produced by volunteering for a charity or nonprofit organization. Whether an organization is conducting a canned food drive or housing victims of domestic violence, volunteers have a real impact on the results. Helping to meet a common goal is a great way for volunteers to increase their self-esteem. Another way that volunteering increases self-esteem is that it gives people a sense of control over their lives. Volunteers are able to choose where and how they spend their time, giving them greater control over the people they spend time with and what they do each day.
Volunteering is very emotionally rewarding because volunteers can see the results of their work. Someone who volunteers in a soup kitchen can personally see that they are helping people in need. Volunteers who collect blankets or food for others can distribute those items and get to know the people they are helping. Volunteers also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are spending their time wisely. Instead of spending hours playing video games or surfing the Web, volunteers are making a real difference in the lives of others.
Volunteering also has several social benefits. One is the strong friendships that often result from helping others. Volunteers share the same triumphs and struggles, so it is only natural that they sometimes form strong friendships with each other. Volunteering also has a positive impact on the community, which benefits everyone. Volunteer organizations plant gardens, clean up parks and roadways, distribute food to the needy, house victims of domestic violence, help displaced veterans find jobs, and perform hundreds of other activities that make their communities better places to live.
High school and college students can also greatly benefit from volunteering. Participating in volunteer activities is a great way to enhance applications for college or military programs. Volunteering also helps shed light on what students want to do professionally. Someone who volunteers for an organization serving sick children may find out that they want to pursue careers as physicians or nurses. Someone who volunteers with the homeless may decide to pursue a career as a social worker. Volunteering allows these students to try out several different career options before investing time and money on the education and certifications for their desired careers. Students who volunteer also learn valuable skills that they can use in future jobs and classes. Volunteering teaches students to solve problems, communicate with others, and raise funds.
Another benefit of getting students involved in volunteering is that working with others makes it clear that there are other people in need. This can help students develop empathy and compassion for others. Some students in this age group do not realize that they have many benefits that other people do not have. Highlighting these benefits can help student volunteers feel more grateful for all of the opportunities available to them. Getting students involved in volunteering also benefits the entire community, as some student volunteers will go on to volunteer as adults. This helps the cycle of volunteering keep going so that future generations benefit from the work of current volunteers.
- Consumer Tips on Charities: This comprehensive guide offers tips and information about selecting charities to support.
- Basic Overview of Nonprofit Corporations: This resource explains what a nonprofit organization is and how they work.
- The Health Benefits of Volunteering (PDF): This report from The Corporation for National & Community Service details the health benefits of volunteering.
- How to Be a Good Volunteer: This resource from PBS offers tips for being a good volunteer.
- Volunteering in the United States, 2010: This report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers several statistics about volunteers in the United States.
- National Center for Charitable Statistics: This organization collects and publishes data related to volunteering and charity.
- Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits: This guide discusses the many benefits of volunteering.
- 20 Ways for Teenagers to Help Others: This resource gives teenagers 20 ideas for helping others through volunteering.
- Volunteer Opportunities: This database allows users to search for virtual volunteering opportunities or opportunities available in their areas.
- Charity Listing: List of charities that have excellent programs who seek volunteer support.
- How to Start a High Value vessel fundraising program.