We might be a little late on the thankfulness train, since Thanksgiving has long since passed… but remembering to be grateful for what you have and give back to your community when you can is important nonetheless! It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, giving back in a meaningful way is appropriate year-round.
Studies show donating, volunteering and otherwise giving back is good for your health. Besides improving your mental health, community involvement boosts physical health, improves quality of life, lowers blood pressure and even improves cognitive brain and memory functions. If that sounds a little too good to be true, we understand your doubts. But it’s hard to argue with the data! Here’s why you should make giving back to your local community a part of your day-to-day life.
you sleep better and are healthier
People with a purpose greater than themselves actually sleep better at night, increase their longevity and can even impact their genetic makeup thanks to ongoing feelings of well being, less stress and reduced cortisol production (and subsequent inflammation). Statistically, people who volunteer recover faster from heart disease and strokes, and in fact, are more likely to avoid them in the first place. People who are engaged in volunteering activities also seem to have stronger immune systems. People who donate their time and energy are also generally happier because volunteering promotes healthy social interaction. Who knew being a caring person was such a boon to your health? Be right back, going to volunteer right now.
giving back knows no age limit
People of all ages and personality types enjoy the benefits of giving back. Whether you’re young, old, introverted, or extroverted, everyone shares in the benefits. Young people develop a positive self-image, gain confidence and interpersonal skills, are less delinquent, and are better able to identify and develop positive relationships with their peers. Older people enjoy an increased quality of life when they feel valued and like their contributions matter. The rewards are both intangible. For example, you might feel good about packing food boxes for low-income families even if you don’t meet the people they go to. But seeing the direct results of your efforts in a tangible way also has a positive effect – for instance: raising funds for a critical piece of hospital equipment.
giving back fills you with positivity
One of the most important benefits of giving back is what it offers those of us in the throes of political and cultural angst. While it seems the world is increasingly spinning out of control, there’s something comforting and centring in packing food boxes at a food bank with your work colleagues. You may not be able to solve a city-wide housing crisis or singlehandedly change political leadership, but you can help a needy family put food on the table.
giving back makes teams stronger
Giving back has positive results when it’s done through the workplace, particularly in organizations where making a difference is written into the organizational mission statement, and initiated and supported from the top down. Savvy organizations know that having a strong community service component attracts top candidates to their companies. Millennial and Gen Z employees report they’re more likely to accept an offer of work from a company that promotes community involvement as a benefit of employment. Employers who have such mandates in place know their employees are more committed and engaged and consistently act as brand advocates.
giving back adds weight to your credentials
Volunteering is a great way to beef up your resume, build new networks, increase your work experience and enhance existing skills or learn new ones, especially if you’re considering an industry or career change. Regardless of whether or not you’re earning a paycheck, work is work, and it counts. Especially in the minds of the people you’re helping. Whether you’re working full-time or in-between jobs, volunteering is a boost to your resume and well worth your time, in more ways than one.
giving back makes brands more human
On an organizational level, community service enhances your corporate brand, even if that’s not the motive for getting involved. Companies with a robust corporate social responsibility strategy weather stormy markets better when they are resolute and consistent in their efforts to give back. And their customers and clients feel good about doing business with an organization whose heart is in the right place.
It’s pretty safe to say giving back to your community through donating your time is a win-win situation all around. We’re all in this life together. When those who have filled their cup share their resources with those whose cup is running dry, it makes the world a happier place for everyone.