Andrew Crowell, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management
Having trouble fitting volunteer work into your busy life? It may help to know that while spending your time in community service is viewed predominantly as a selfless activity, volunteering may be just as good for you as it is for your community and the cause you are helping. In fact, studies1 show that volunteering can provide multiple, sometimes-unexpected benefits. As Booker T. Washington is credited with saying, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.” A few of the benefits are as follows:
Volunteering can create friendships and connect you with your community.
Each time you lend a hand for a cause with others, you have an opportunity to talk, work for a common goal and build relationships with people you may not always encounter regularly. By contributing to the betterment of your community, you are more likely to feel you play an important role in it. Volunteering can even improve your social life by expanding your circle of friends and acquaintances.
Volunteering your skills can help you develop new skills.
With many volunteer activities, you have an opportunity to improve your skill set by exploring new skills that you may not be able to pursue at other times. Community service can be a low-risk way to broaden your horizons and expose yourself to work activities or potential career paths that you may enjoy. If you are working for a local nonprofit, your service can also provide you with insights about how charitable organizations operate.
Volunteering can help you stay physically and mentally fit.
Consider the workout you can get when unloading a truck filled with goods for your local food bank. What about raking leaves and painting fences for senior citizens? Depending on the work you choose, community service can provide multiple physical benefits, from strengthening your muscles to increasing your exposure to Vitamin D by being outdoors. Research also shows that regular volunteering can improve mental health, even helping to reduce mortality and depression rates, and one large-scale study2 found that people who volunteer feel more fulfilled, experience less stress and even tend to live longer than non-volunteers. Other studies indicate that volunteers tend to spend fewer nights in hospitals and have more stamina.
Volunteering may help with your career.
Not only can volunteering serve as a filler for a work resume that may need a boost, but the networking aspects of community service can be invaluable. Through volunteering, you can meet business leaders, potential clients and influencers in your community. Community service can increase your visibility and potentially lead to unexpected opportunities.
Many U.S. corporations have found that providing volunteer opportunities enhances employee satisfaction and engagement. D.A. Davidson has a long-established culture of community service, and offers multiple opportunities for its associates to serve as volunteers. We are particularly proud of our annual D.A. Davidson Day, a company-wide event each September in which employees volunteer during the workday for various nonprofit organizations in their communities. In 2018, 913 of our associates provided more than 3,830 hours of volunteer work during our D.A. Davidson Day event.
Besides D.A. Davidson Day, our firm encourages volunteerism in other ways and throughout the year. More information about the firm’s work to strengthen local communities can be found on our website. Giving back isn’t just an afterthought at D.A. Davidson; it’s the way we do business.
1 Can volunteering lead to better health?
2 Older adults find fulfillment as volunteers who help the young, USC study finds
D.A. Davidson & Co. is a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser that does not provide tax or legal advice. Information contained herein has been obtained by sources we consider reliable, but is not guaranteed and we are not soliciting any action based upon it. Any opinions expressed are based on our interpretation of the data available to us at the time of the original article. These opinions are subject to change at any time without notice. Copyright D.A. Davidson & Co., 2019. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.