Why Volunteering in Your Community is Important

UPDATED: November 20, 2023
PUBLISHED: November 17, 2023
Senior man smiling picking up trash because he knows why volunteering is so important

Why is volunteering and giving back to the community important? Simply put, volunteering your time and knowledge will benefit the organization and help make a positive impact in your community. Yet, without a monetary baseline to measure contributions, some may not bother to provide their time, while others may not volunteer simply because no one asked.

But the contributions you make as a volunteer hold greater importance and help the community more than you may know.

Why is volunteering important?

The benefits of serving others includes finding a sense of purpose, broadening your support network and learning new skills. Community work looks great on your resume, too!

But you also want to know that your efforts truly make a difference. The good news is, contributing your time helps lead to positive outcomes that rapidly scale throughout the nonprofit organization and into society. Here’s how:

1. Volunteering helps the organization.

When you think of charitable organizations, you might think of well-moneyed foundations and endowments. Yet most charitable organizations are smaller and local, including:

  • Food banks, soup kitchens and homeless shelters
  • Programs for veterans and their families
  • Education and youth programs
  • Environmental conservation groups
  • Animal welfare organizations

These local groups are often underfunded and understaffed. What’s more, data on charitable giving shows that donation rates have not kept up with inflation and decline further during economic downturns.

One of the most significant reasons volunteering is important is it provides the nonprofit with cost-effective manpower. It also gives the organization the opportunity to amplify workplace diversity of talent, whether you help out as a food-provider, receptionist, digital marketing expert, IT specialist, event coordinator, fundraiser or as legal counsel. Just as with any company, a 501(c)(3) benefits greatly from these skills and others, ensuring that the nonprofit can serve those in need.

Similarly, your time commitment plays a crucial role in fostering innovation. Too often, nonprofits fall behind in such critical matters as digital outreach for fundraising. Fresh perspectives from volunteers spark new ideas and approaches, allowing nonprofits to survive and thrive. Lending your talents as an influencer or social media expert can take an organization to the next level.

Your time also enhances an organization’s reputation and credibility. A strong community base demonstrates support and commitment to the organization’s cause. Whether you are a high-profile businessperson or an assistant within a respected company, your commitment can help attract donors, partners, stakeholders and overall public support.

In summary, giving back to the community is important because it helps the organization by:

  • Providing cost-effective manpower, essential for budget-limited organizations
  • Offering a diversity of skills and perspectives
  • Fostering innovation with fresh ideas and adaptive approaches
  • Enhancing the organization’s reputation and credibility

2. Your unpaid time pays community dividends.

A major benefit of giving back to your community is that you get to experience the impact you make firsthand.

As a volunteer, you facilitate the delivery of essential services in areas of scarcity. Volunteers fill gaps, providing essential support for charitable events, educational programs and emergency relief. Your involvement brings immediate and tangible results that you can experience with pride and gratification.

In that process, your efforts foster a sense of community. By working together toward common goals, you help build mutual understanding and respect within your community. As these communal networks grow stronger, community ties of trust and cooperation emerge, promoting social responsibility in your area.

Local contributors provide a catalyst for positive change. As a volunteer, you identify community needs and help mobilize resources to address them at ground level. The impact made leads to improved living conditions and greater community empowerment. Your help as a volunteer encourages others to participate in civic activities, thus nurturing a culture of active citizenship and community responsibility.

In summary, volunteering is important because it benefits your local community by:

  • Delivering essential services and filling resource gaps
  • Fostering unity and mutual understanding among diverse community members
  • Acting as a catalyst for community development and change
  • Encouraging active citizenship and community responsibility

3. Giving back is important for society.

Building a positive society is like building a better life or career. Transformational change takes one small step at a time, but soon you’re moving in great leaps and bounds. Likewise, your voluntary efforts hold their own virality. The impact you make can ripple from your community to the broader regional, national and even global society.

Your individual effort also promotes social inclusion and buy-in by bridging gaps between different societal groups. It provides opportunities for marginalized individuals to participate in activities that they might otherwise feel excluded from, fostering a more inclusive society. This sense of civic engagement leads to a more informed and active citizenry, so vital to a robust democracy.

Additionally, the skills and experience gained through volunteering help you become more employable. Remember when we mentioned how volunteerism looks good on a resume? Employability is not a purely selfish desire. Those who gain experience through unpaid opportunities learn new skills that enhance and broaden economic opportunities at a societal level without government assistance. It’s no wonder Microsoft commits to the nonprofit sector along with so many other major companies.

In summary, giving back to the community is important because it benefits society by:

  • Enhancing social welfare and reducing the burden on government services
  • Promoting social inclusion and bridging social gaps
  • Encouraging civic engagement and a more active citizenry
  • Providing economic benefits through improved employability

Where can I find local volunteer opportunities?

If you are enthused about the idea of volunteering with an organization while helping your community and the greater society, community assistance work is right for you. You can make a difference in just a few hours a week. Whether you are a first-time jobseeker or an executive, you can make a difference!

To find community improvement opportunities that align with your values, goals and location, visit websites such as VolunteerMatch to get started. Or use job search engines such as Indeed or Idealist.

Just because no one has asked for your voluntary assistance does not mean it’s not important or needed.

Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock.com

Bryan Lindenberger

Bryan enjoys the digital space where arts and technology meet. As a writer, he has worked in education, health and wellbeing, and manufacturing. He also assists smaller businesses in web development including accessibility and content development. In his free time, he hikes trails in central Florida.