man holding a sign saying volunteers needed

Volunteering Hobbies

On our intention to volunteer, our avoidance of it, its benefits, and how hobbies can help us overcome barriers to volunteering.

Most of us say we want to volunteer, but few of us do

Research has shown that while over 90% of us want to volunteer, only 1 out of 4 Americans actually do.

Three Reasons Why People Don’t Volunteer, and What Can Be Done About It – Stanford Center on Longevity

The benefits of volunteering

In a survey undertaken by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, volunteers were asked to reflect on what they got out of volunteering, prompted by a list of different benefits and impacts. Respondents could select more than one answer.

These are the results:

  • I enjoy it (93%)
  • It gives me a sense of personal achievement (90%)
  • It makes me feel like I’m making a difference (90%)
  • I meet new people (89%)
  • It broadens my experience of life (86%)
  • It brings me into contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures (78%)
  • It improves my mental health and well-being (77%)
  • It gives me more confidence (74%)
  • It gives me new skills and experience (71%)
  • It helps me feel less isolated (68%)
  • It improves my physical health (53%)
  • It improves my employment prospects (34%)

What holds us back from volunteering more

So, if most of us say we want to volunteer more, and it is so beneficial, why don’t we actually volunteer more?

According to an article published by the Stanford Center on Longevity, research has found these common barriers to volunteering:

  1. “I don’t have enough time”
  2. “I don’t have enough information”
  3. “Most volunteer roles aren’t interesting”
  4. “No one asked me”

How can hobbies help us overcome our barriers to volunteering

As altruistic as we want to perceive ourselves and be perceived, we are still often motivated by our own interests. This life fact is demonstrated both by the list of perceived benefits of volunteering and by the list of barriers to volunteering that research found. It seems like “Most volunteer roles aren’t interesting” is the most honest reason, while the rest are excuses: time and information we find if we are interested enough, and “No one asked me”… well, that’s just a classic excuse.

We are egocentric creatures, and that’s perfectly fine: we just need to admit it, take it into consideration, and act accordingly. Instead of searching for volunteering that we find interesting, we can try searching for something we are interested in and that allows us to help others as a secondary objective. This is where hobbies come in, and that’s why we composed the list of hobbies that are related to volunteering.

The list can also help with another barrier to volunteering: like “hobbies”, “volunteering” is a very wide category. Its wideness might be daunting when searching for a volunteering idea – where do you begin? The list of volunteering-related hobbies can help with that, by providing specific ideas.

Volunteering Hobbies List

Each hobby page is designed to inspire and help you get started.

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