Group of volunteers (men & women) smiling at camera with hands in the middle

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Pandemics can be scary, uncertain times. Volunteering is a great way to counteract that uncertainty and relieve the stress pandemics can cause, while also giving back to your community and nonprofits. Below are five benefits of volunteering and how to get involved.

1. Volunteering enhances your skills and experience

Many people have more time on their hands with activities and travel being curtailed and canceled. Using this extra time to volunteer for causes that matter to you, and using skills that you already have, will help build up and increase your talents. For example, if you work with social media and you volunteer for a nonprofit that needs help with social media, not only will you gain more experience, you will also learn to use that skill in a different environment. Volunteering is also beneficial to add to your resume to help show experience.

VolunteerMatch is a database with thousands of volunteer listings, both virtual and in-person, from across the country. Select your city and skills and find an opportunity today!

2. Volunteering creates connections and friendships

When you volunteer for something you are passionate about, you will likely meet other people passionate about the same thing. What is a better way to build friendship? Besides meeting new people, you could also make connections that may be beneficial in the future. Perhaps you meet someone that leads to a reference, networking opportunity, or a whole new experience.

During this time when everyone is socially distancing, building friendships and connections can be difficult. Volunteering may introduce you to a new group of like-minded individuals who share your passions.

Idealist is a nonprofit organization that helps match volunteers with opportunities based on location and skills.

3. Volunteering builds communities

There are many ways that you can help build your community through volunteering, especially during the pandemic. Opportunities include giving money to a nonprofit, donating blood, donating masks or food, delivering groceries to vulnerable populations, and so much more. The pandemic has been tough for everyone, help create normalcy by giving back to your community.

The Corporation for National & Community Service has additional ways you can get involved with your community during COVID-19.

4. Volunteering helps reduce stress

Pandemics are stressful to everyone and each individual handles stress in a different way. Connecting with others and your community is a great way to help reduce stress. By taking a break from the news and spending an hour helping someone in need, can help you feel better both mentally and emotionally. Remember if you take care of others to also take care of yourself.

United Way is a worldwide organization focused on mobilizing communities to change the world. Find volunteer opportunities in your community.

5. Volunteering makes you happy

You have passions, and you enjoy working with or on those passions. There is a desire to help others and feel like you are making a difference. All of this happens when you volunteer. Volunteering has shown to increase happiness because individuals are working on the things they enjoy and want to be doing. Maybe you work inside and want to be outside, so you volunteer once a week doing something outside; or maybe your day job is your passion, so you volunteer with a charitable organization to help out with that role. Volunteering has shown to make individuals happier and more fulfilled, so what are you waiting for, volunteer today!

All for Good is a database for volunteer opportunities pulled together in one site. Opportunities are pulled from Idealist, AARP, United Way and many more.

There are many ways you can safely get involved and volunteer during the pandemic. Organizations are constantly modifying opportunities to follow current safety guidelines. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from finding a cause you are passionate about or an organization that needs your skills. To get started you can use the links provided in this article or contact a charitable organization and see how you can help.