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Generosity of Volunteering a Win for the Entire Community

April 24, 2020

By Niki Litzel, Director of Development

April is National Volunteer Awareness month, and the act of volunteering is a game changer for you and your community.

On an individual level, there are many benefits to volunteering. It can improve your mental and physical health. It helps you develop job skills, increases your networks and looks great on a resume. Volunteering has even been shown to lessen depression and lower death rates.

Employers also benefit from the upside of volunteerism. According to the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley, research shows employees who are allowed a significantly higher engagement opportunity in the community have higher job performance, and that morale is 37% higher when employees engage in these community opportunities. The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa engages in this practice, scheduling quarterly staff volunteer opportunities and providing flexibility for personal volunteer opportunities.

And, of course, volunteerism benefits the organizations who rely on this group of qualified and caring people to provide guidance and support in various capacities. Ultimately, everyone benefits, and none more than those who are served by these mission-driven organizations, which improves the quality of life for all people in our communities.

Our state is full of people who share their time and talents without monetary compensation. According to a 2018 study by the US Census Bureau, Iowa is among the top five states with the most volunteers. The report shows the largest age group of volunteers is Generation X (between 40 and 54 years old), who are still in the work force. And, statistically, more women than men volunteer.

There are countless ways to volunteer. You can help with office work, assist with fundraising and events, serve on a board, share your career experience to fill a skills gap and so much more. Organizations who use volunteers are sometimes lacking in personnel, funding or resources to accomplish their mission. For some organizations, there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish their tasks. That’s where volunteers come in. If an organization can find volunteers who are a good fit, and can help with important mission work, it can be a win for all involved.

Studies on volunteerism also show that once people invest their time volunteering, they are more likely to support the organization financially as well. It makes sense that individuals may invest their funds with the organizations they spend their time and talents with. Giving and generosity, whether it is time or monetarily (or both) has been linked to improved overall health, self-esteem and overall happiness.

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa partners with nonprofits across our region and knows the value of volunteers and the important roles they fill for nonprofit organizations. CFNEIA also benefits from engaging over 300 volunteers across our 20-county region who give of their time and talents to impact in their communities by serving on our boards and committees, helping with important grant decisions, making scholarship selections, and promoting the work of CFNEIA and our affiliate foundations.

If you are interested in finding volunteer opportunities in the Cedar Valley that fit your passions, the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley can help. Visit vccv.org to see opportunities.