In The News

VOLUNTEERING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

It’s no secret within the nonprofit sector that volunteers are often the difference between “make” and “break,” the special sauce that keeps an organization moving forward, delivering against its mission, serving its constituents. From hands-on volunteers to skills-based volunteers to the volunteer leaders who serve on boards, it’s almost impossible to calculate the value that those who give back add to the sector. So it’s nice to know that those who volunteer benefit from the experience as well.

A national survey of 3,351 adults conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of UnitedHealth Group demonstrates that volunteering is good for your health. Here are some of the takeaways from this research:

Volunteers say they feel better—physically, mentally and emotionally—than non-volunteers
Volunteering helps people manage and lower stress levels
Volunteers feel a deeper connection to communities and others
Volunteers are more informed healthcare consumers and are more engaged and involved in taking care of their own health

Volunteering is also good for business. Employers reap benefits when they hire people who volunteer, in part because these healthier, less-stressed employees drive healthcare costs down and productivity up. Importantly, volunteering also teaches people skills and reinforces behaviors that can make them far more valuable in the workplace, including:

Time management
Stronger relationships with colleagues
People and teamwork skills
Professional job skills

Companies that encourage and sponsor volunteer activities are also likely to engender goodwill and loyalty among employees. And of the employed volunteers in the survey who volunteered through their workplace, 81% agreed that volunteering together strengthens relationships among colleagues.

The survey suggests that nationally, more than half of all employees have volunteered. At UnitedHealth Group, 81 percent of employees and 96 percent of executives volunteered last year, so they clearly believe in the benefits—both tangible and intangible—of having employees engaged in their communities.

Volunteering is good for the heart—quite literally.

So thank a volunteer today for all the good they do.

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