Across our global locations Fircroft seeks to be a responsible and committed member of the communities in which we operate- and this is steered by our Corporate Social Responsibility team; ensuring that Fircroft staff have opportunities to volunteer and raise money for good causes. In this blog, Casey Aubin of Fircroft’s Perth office takes a closer look at the benefits of volunteering.
The term “giving back” can be misleading because it implies that service and volunteering are important only in terms of what they do for the recipient or the community. However, what makes volunteering so powerful is that the benefits go two ways. Equally as important is what it does for the giver and the volunteer in terms of having an immediate and measurable impact on our health and happiness.
A Harvard Business School study showed that “donating to charity has a similar relationship to subjective well-being as doubling a household income.” This is the case in poor countries and wealthy countries alike. The same study also found that students who were told to spend a small amount of money on someone else were happier than students who were told to spend it on themselves.
When we strive to flex our giving muscles as often as we can, the process begins to transform our own lives. Here are just some of the benefits of volunteering:
1. Volunteering connects you to others
by providing an opportunity for you to make new friends and contacts and by improving your social and relationship skills.
2. Volunteering is good for the mind and body
- Increases self-confidence
- Provides a sense of purpose
- Helps you stay physically fit and significantly reduces mortality risk
3. Volunteering can advance your career by providing career
- A 2005 Stanford study found that those who volunteer live longer than those who don’t
relevant experience and through teaching you valuable job skills
4. Volunteering can bring fun and fulfilment to your life
by helping you gain a deeper perspective on things that are happening in your life and through making you feel like you have more time.
Studies of the effects of giving in the workplace are equally as dramatic and show the impact of volunteering on creating a healthier, more creative, and collaborative workforce. A 2013 study by UnitedHealth Group found that employee volunteer programs increased engagement and productivity. Among the study’s other findings:
- More than 75% of the employees that volunteered said they felt healthier.
- More than 90% said volunteering had put them in a better mood.
- More than 75% reported experiencing less stress.
- More than 95% said that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life (which in turn has been found to strengthen immune function).
- Employees who volunteered reported improved time-management skills and enhanced ability to connect with peers.
All of these findings make a simple but profound point about altruism: helping others makes us happier. Often, we focus on what giving does for others – the good it does for our community. But just as profound is what it does for us. While it’s true we grow physically by what we get, we grow spiritually by what we give.
Fircroft recognizes the importance of giving back and has recently developed a Corporate Social Responsibility policy to encourage a holistic approach to work and to allow Fircroft employees to demonstrate their commitment to the local community. You may have seen our Perth team’s involvement in The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers or our efforts with the QV1 Abseil which raised money for Princess Margaret’s Children’s Hospital. Giving back is something Fircroft is passionate about and looks to continue with long into the future.
No matter how successful we are, when we go out in the world to ‘get things’ or to achieve a goal we are operating from a perceived deficit, focused on what we don’t have and want to obtain. But when we give, however little or much, we are tapping into our sense of abundance and overflow. It is this way of thinking that allows us to feel most abundant and in the spirit of National Do Something Day which is on the 15th June I urge you to consider giving back in some way and I can assure you, you will be helping yourself just as much as you will be helping others.
Helpguide.org: Authors: Joanna Saisan, M.S.W., Melinda Smith, M.A., and Gina Kemp, M.A. 2015. Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits Helping Others While Helping Yourself. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm. [Accessed 26 January 16].
Huffington, A.H., 2014. Thrive. 1st ed. London: WH Allen.