The Financial Benefits of Volunteer Work
At first sight, doing some form of voluntary work is going to cost you money instead of making you some. After all, whether you are teaching English to kids in a Chinese orphanage, saving the turtles in Costa Rica or helping out in your local charity shop you are working for free instead of doing something more financially rewarding.
However, as well as the feel good factor, it is worth considering what financial benefits you could glean for a spell doing some volunteer work. There might be more of them than you think.
Gain Valuable Experience
One of the worst things about when you are starting out in your career is that in a lot of industries it is difficult to get your first job if you don’t have any experience. So how do you get your very first taste of employment if everyone says that you need to be experienced in order for them to even consider you? One smart approach is to gain that experience on a voluntary basis. This can also be a good approach if you are more experienced but have been out of the jobs market for some time. A quick look online will show you that there are opportunities to do unpaid work in just about type of role you could be interested in. A good example could be that of teaching English as a foreign language. It is usually far easier to get a voluntary job doing this and then look to use this experience to help you get a paid job rather than trying to get a salaried position right away. If what you want to do is teach English abroad you might even find that your voluntary stint leads to an offer to stay and earn a wage. A few months doing unpaid work could put you in a better position to enjoy a more rewarding career for the rest of your working life.
Learn New Skills
There are a good number of new skills you could also learn by working on a voluntary basis. In my case, I had always worked in office jobs in the UK. When I went to Ecuador to save the rainforest (well, a little bit of it at least) I learned a good bit about conversation work, building paths and other manual work I had never come across before. None of this has been anything I have yet used to make money but it has saved me cash in one way or another, as I now carry out more of the jobs needing done in my house and garden than I would have felt comfortable with before. However, the one big skill it gave me was with the Spanish language. I learned enough of it during my time there to move to a job in Spain when I got back, which turned out to be an excellent financial move for me as well as pretty exciting.
Open Your Horizons and Make Contacts
Perhaps the final point is the most important of all but the least tangible. By doing some voluntary work you change your life and the way you see things. This means opening up your horizons, learning about different options and making the contacts who could make things happen for you. This is a process which you might not even notice happening but it could help you in a number of ways. You might do what I did and go to work abroad afterwards or you might think about starting out on a different kind of career. Whether you are just starting out in your career or stuck in a rut, doing some voluntary could be what you need to move you onto the next stage.