You’ve probably experienced it before – the inner warmth that comes with helping someone else with no reward in mind. It seems that Australia is a nation of helpers if the statistics on Australian volunteering are anything to go by. According to the stats:
- 5.8 million people or 31% of the Australian population aged 15 years and over, participated in voluntary work.
- Over a 12 month period, voluntary work contributed 743 million hours to the community.
- Volunteering rates were high for people aged 15-17 years (42%), 35-44 years (39%) and 65-74 years (35%).
- The most common reason identified for being a volunteer was to help others or the community (64%), while more than half identified personal satisfaction (57%) or to do something worthwhile (54%).
Increase your self-esteem and wellbeing
Being a volunteer has lots of benefits. It can bring meaning and purpose to your life while increasing your self-esteem and wellbeing. A study found that volunteers over the age of 50 were less likely to develop high blood pressure than their non-volunteer peers.
Slower decline in health and functioning
Volunteering can also relieve stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression. Older people who undertake as little as 100 hours of volunteer work a year show a slower decline in health and functioning, slows the increase of depression and improves mortality rate, and can help buffer stress.
Strengthens your ties to the community
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and build healthy relationships. It strengthens your ties to the community and exposes you to people with similar interests. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to practise and develop your social skills. Because volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others, it can also help you develop a solid support base.