Why do we volunteer and why is it important

With the VOscars just around the corner, I have been exposed to the amazing things some volunteers do. the dedication and hard work is outstanding. No wonder Volunteer Ottawa is hosting the VOscars.

In light of this, I decided to ask around and find out why we volunteer, and get you opinion on the benefits and importance of volunteering. I got a lot of great feedback, comments and sugestions from professionals and students.

I have always believed volunteering was important, but exactly what are the benefits and the main reasons for volunteering.

After compiling all the responses, here are the:

Top 7 reasons we volunteer

  1. To give back. One of the main reasons people volunteer is to give back to their community or to a cause that is close to their heart.
  2. To develop your skills. In our day jobs we may use many different skills and do a variety of tasks, but we all have talents outside our day jobs. Volunteering allows you to work on those skills and even learn new ones. Christine LeBlanc puts it nicely: “some people rock climb or play video games – I volunteer.”
  3. Pay it forward. We all have special skills, but we may not always be able to pass it on to others, especially if one works in a small organization. Volunteering allows you to share your knowledge and expertise with others in your industry. This goes especially if you are volunteering for a professional association or group.
  4. To build a network through networking and meeting new people. Some people use volunteering as a means to meet new people and build on their professional or personal networks. I am always reminded of Kerry Mortimer, the IABC Ottawa Chapter president, and her story of volunteering at the registration table at an IABC event, that night she met the person who would latter hire her.
  5. To be social. Richard Huizenga is a consultant and shared his honesty by saying: “I’m a consultant who usually works from home, so the social aspect may be more important for me than for someone who is part of an organization and sees colleagues everyday.” 
  6. For the good feeling and reward of doing something good. Most people who volunteer do so because it simly feels good. They like the feeling of giving back to their community and enjoy the reward. The reward can be that warm fuzzy feeling you get inside, or it can rewards you can touch, like a VOscar or the Rick Green award.
  7. Becomes it is important. Phil Lynch put it quite simply: “if you can help you should, kindness is important and I do it as a kind memoriam to my daughter and mommy.” Nicely said Phil, volunteering helps others and that is a pretty good reason for doing it.

Many organizations recognize hard working and dedicated volunteers. One such organization is Volunteer Ottawa who is hosting the sold-out event called the VOscars, which celebrates the hard working volunteers that make our community and world a better place. If you are attending, I will see you on the red carpet. If not, there are other ways you can help recognize those who work hard for our community. Check out my Twitter feed this Thursday night to find out the nominees and winners at the VOscars.

Now what is your opinion. Do you agree with the points above? Are there other reasons to volunteer? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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