As it turns out, volunteering is much more than just an altruistic pastime. Beyond doing something good, helping out charitable organizations has been touted to improve mental and physical health, as well as a person’s general well-being. In light of these benefits, lots of businesses are jumping on the philanthropy bandwagon.
According to the CEO of Crest Financial, volunteering has enhanced company visibility, and improved employee effectiveness.
“Volunteering makes employers happier, and that goes a long way,” said Bob Millerberg. The Utah-based financing company Crest Financial started their volunteer program when they opened their doors 10 years ago, which includes an annual food drive.
It’s becoming a nationwide trend for companies to partner with charitable organizations, even allowing their employees to volunteer on company time. And according to the research it’s well worth the time and money. Volunteering In America, UnitedHealth Group, the Robert Half staffing firm, and researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School have all conducted studies on the side effects of volunteering. And every single one of these studies has unearthed surprising statistics on the powers of helping others. Take a look at the facts:
- In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees ages 18 and over, 61 percent of participants said that community service helps them improve their sense of well-being and effectiveness at the office.
- 49 percent of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 donate their time compared to just 35 percent of their colleagues between the ages of 35 and 54. Apparently younger workers are the most likely to participate in philanthropic activities.
- In a national survey of more than 3,000 adults, an overwhelming majority of participants reported feeling mentally and physically healthier after a volunteer experience.
- 94 percent of the people who volunteered in the last 12 months said that volunteering improved their mood and self-esteem. It also made 76 percent of the participants feel healthier and lowered the stress levels of 78 percent.
- 96 percent reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life.
- Interestingly, 80 percent of the participants felt like they had more control over their health afterwards. Nearly a quarter of them reported that their volunteer work helped them manage a chronic illness by keeping them active and taking their minds off their problems.
- Research also shows that volunteers score much higher on self-evaluations of emotional well-being, personal independence, and overall life satisfaction. Volunteers also have much lower levels of depression.
- An estimated 40 published studies have found evidence that volunteers have a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer.
The numbers don’t lie. If you’re a small business owner interested in making your office better and your employees happier, starting your own volunteering program is the way to go. And Robert Half has some tips for getting started:
- Find the right charity. In your search for volunteering opportunities, find an organization that fits with your business’s skills and goals. The better the match, the more easily your employees will get involved and excited.
- Think beyond the holidays. Volunteering opportunities around the holidays are abundant, but for your volunteering experience to be the most beneficial and authentic, seek out opportunities year-round. Your company’s giving should be ongoing.
- Give your employees ample opportunities to participate. Although participation should be optional, be sure to communicate all the information and lead by example. Give your employees flexibility with their work to make sure they can volunteer with their coworkers. Donation forms will also allow them to participate even if they’re short on time. Every little bit counts.