Volunteer Benefits: The joy and value for employees and employers

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

It may seem contradictory to learn that we feel better when we work for free but scientific research on the benefits of volunteering continue to prove that statement true. We’re having a little fun with the “work for free” language here, of course, when that topic in most cases is not a laughing matter. For the sake of this blog post and focus on the social good of volunteering, please stick with us.

Helping those who are having a tougher time with life than we are, directly benefits the receiver, the giver, and it turns out the giver’s encourager and enabler … the employer.

Based on a longevity study started in 2010, first published in 2013 and updated in 2017 by UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch, “employee volunteerism positively affects the health and well-being of the people who participate, and strengthens their connections to their employers.” That’s great news for all of the volunteer program managers within healthcare systems whose responsibility it is to fill needs with community resources as well as assist employees with opportunities to give back.

Their report Doing Good is Good For You Study  shares some compelling findings from the U.S. adults surveyed who give back volunteer within their community:

  • 75 percent feel physically healthier
  • 93 percent report an improved mood
  • 79 percent report lower stress levels
  • 88 percent report increased self-esteem
  • Volunteers believe they are calmer and more peaceful and have more energy
  • More than one-third (34 percent) of those who volunteered found participating in this activity helped them better manage their chronic illnesses.
  • Also, compared with those who had not volunteered over the same time period, volunteers are significantly more (78 percent) likely to feel they have control over their health.

"Volunteering can profoundly change the way we think about ourselves and others," said Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch.

The positive aspects of paying-it-forward also spread throughout your organization and yourpay_it_forward_photo_0-675214106.jpg community. Allowing your employees to do good is good for them and good for your brand. After the movie Pay It Forward starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment about a 12-year-old boy who starts a chain reaction of goodness for his social studies project was released in 2000 researchers asked if the young character’s theory can be proven.  James H. Fowler (University of California) and Nicholas A. Christakis (Harvard Medical School) published their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a 2010 article entitled, “Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks” proving that one good deed can trigger multiple unrelated good deeds.

Employers have an important opportunity to impact this chain reaction according to the Doing Good is Good for You Study. Encouraging and enabling employees to volunteer as part of their efforts to strengthen employees' connections to the communities where they live and work results in having healthier and better-functioning employees. The study says employers reap three critical benefits:

  1. Employees are happier and healthier, resulting in better productivity and reduced sick time;
  2. Employees develop their professional skills; and,
  3. Employees are more engaged.

VolunteerWeekly.org posted an infographic that combines multiple sources of research including that from UnitedHealthcare and Volunteer Match with statistics that back up these benefits. Please see the graphic below:


"At UnitedHealthcare we have seen many times the connection between health and volunteerism," said Matt Peterson, head of social responsibility for UnitedHealthcare. "We hope studies like this one will encourage people to get out into the community and discover the many benefits of giving back."

The core takeaway message is not that we should overfill our life with stressful unpaid or underpaid work, but instead make room for the work that feeds our inner drive. Meaningful difference-making work that changes and improves the lives of others, as well as our own, is beneficial to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Some of us are lucky enough to do that in our daily jobs. However, even those who are fortunate enough to be working in careers they are passionate about can benefit from changing up their routines once in a while to help out in different ways.

In a world that doesn’t leave much extra time outside of work and home responsibilities, it can be frustrating for employees to make time to volunteer. By incorporating volunteerism into your workplace culture, you are helping yourself, your employees, and your community. Balance Concierge acutely understands that challenge. We firmly believe a key benefit of what we provide is the gift of greater flexibility in choice over what to do with the limited amount of time you and your employees have each day. By taking care of many of life’s daily tasks, we can be a conduit to your ability to create more smiles on the faces of people in need and more meaning in your lives.

If you’d like to learn more about Balance Concierge, contact us at  877.502.2201 or Click Here.