Martin Luther King Jr.
People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them; for others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it to be both challenging and rewarding. Volunteering and getting involved with your community is a great way to make a change, no matter how small, act upon your own values, develop new skills, explore career paths, and to build new relationships with other people and professionals in your educational area of interest. It also provides the opportunity to explore ourselves and our values, and to gain a better understanding of the social and environmental issues facing our communities.
Volunteering demonstrates that you value contributing to something larger than yourself, have strong time management skills, that you’re a team player, and that you are proactive in expanding your skill set. Being engaged in your community shows that you are invested in creating the community and world in which you want to live, and the network you build through service work can serve as important references when applying for future professional positions.
Are you interested in discussing specific opportunities and ways to connect with volunteer organizations? Or maybe you’re not sure where to start but know that you want to give back to your community in some way. Schedule an appointment with our staff today!
Join WOU’s volunteer email list to learn about upcoming one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities, alternative break announcements, and ways to engage with local community partners.
Do you have a group volunteer project coming up? If so, CPP can connect you with local community partners in need of help. Submit a request form to our office so we can better assist you.
Chances are your schedule is already pretty tight as a college student, but taking a few hours out of your week to volunteer can not only allow you the chance to do good, it can change your life and help your future career. Here are our top seven reasons for volunteering while you’re in college:
Learn To Work As Part of a Team
While you might have had a high school job or worked on group projects, there’s still much to learn about being a team player—and it’s an important life skill. Because volunteering is such an active way to get involved, you’ll learn a great deal about how to get along with disparate personalities. Volunteering will give not only make you feel good about doing good, but help you become a better employee in the future.
Learn How To Be A Leader
It can take a while to rise through the ranks of a company to leadership level. Volunteering is a place where you can have a larger voice than a traditional employee, so you can take the lead on projects and brush up your leadership skills. You’ll get to work with others to get creative with solutions and ideas and then figure out how make those ideas happen. More critical skills you’ll need in the job market.
Build Your Resume While You Explore Careers
Every non-profit organization needs volunteers in every corner of the business from marketing to social media to sales and grunt work. You can try your skills in several areas to help you fine tune your post-college goals. You can also learn a tremendous amount about how non-profits run on limited budgets, a skill that will make you valuable to every potential employer.
When you become a valuable volunteer to an organization, you’ll not only get the opportunity to network with the staff of the organization but often also the board (particularly if you volunteer during fundraising events), many of whom are business leaders outside of the non-profit space. You can make connections to powerful movers and shakers in the industry you plan to enter post college.
Having great references can be the key to success in landing that first job after college. If you become a valued volunteer for an organization, you will likely receive many glowing references that the non-profit team members will be happy to share with your prospective employers. Times are tough in the job market, and this could give you the edge you need to get your resume to the top of the pile.
Scholarships and Getting Into Graduate School
If you’re planning to get a degree beyond undergrad, you will get a huge boost to your school applications if you have a track record of being a volunteer (along with those references). You even apply for volunteering awards that come with scholarship cash as early as your junior year. Look beyond the traditional scholarships, too — many companies offer scholarships only to those that volunteer.
College is stressful, there’s no doubt about it. But chances are, if you volunteer for an organization that is helping the less fortunate, you’ll get a chance to see how great your stressful college life really is — and nothing relieves stress better than gaining some perspective on how the world really is. Gratitude is an excellent study tool.
As you can see, being a volunteer really is worth it during your college years. Make the time to make a difference in the community near your school and you’ll reap amazing rewards. For help in finding a place to volunteer, reach out to your college’s community center or career center.
WOU’s online job, volunteer, and internship search platform (part-time, and full-time). Organizations are always looking to hire WOU students!
Membership of local area organizations committed to strong volunteer engagement and support
Change doesn’t happen alone. Hope isn’t a one-man band. Resilience doesn’t happen without help. We have one life. To live better, we must Live United.
Connect with volunteer opportunities that makes a meaningful, rewarding change in the Greater Portland area.
Search for events, projects and organizations near you from volunteer sites all around the web. Start projects on your own, for your community.
Idealist is all about connecting idealists – people who want to do good – with opportunities for action and collaboration.
Established in 1993, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through its core programs — AmeriCorps and Senior Corps — and national volunteer efforts. Search tor volunteer opportunities in our area and around the country.
VolunteerMatch matches inspired people with inspiring causes. It’s how volunteers and nonprofits connect to achieve remarkable outcomes.
WOU prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by WOU.