Nonprofits allow volunteers to gain work experience

July 5, 2013

Nonprofits allow volunteers to gain work experience

Volunteering boasts several positive attributes for participants, including improved mental health, the ability to help others and an opportunity to work for a cause that needs support. Nonprofits are often the beneficiaries of volunteer work. However, a recent study conducted by Corporation for National and Community Service showed unemployed individuals who donate their time on a consistent basis have a 27 percent better chance of landing full-time employment.

"Many of us in the volunteer sector have long felt volunteering gives a boost to those looking for work, but we've never had solid research to back it up," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. "This report provides a definitive answer – volunteers are more likely to find work than non-volunteers."

Why does volunteering help the job search?
People who volunteer have the opportunity to acquire professional contacts, gain work experience and develop social relationships like they may have never had the chance to do before. This is especially true for Americans who didn't attend college or live in rural areas.

The study revealed people that don't have a college diploma have 51 percent better odds to land a job if they volunteer, while rural residents contributing their time to a cause can increase their chances of employment by 55 percent. Taking on these volunteers helps nonprofits get help, while also training professionals hoping to find gainful employment.

"We encourage nonprofits across the country to engage out-of-work Americans as volunteers, and to help them develop skills and contacts and take on leadership roles," Spencer said. "For those who are out of work, consider volunteering as one part of your job search strategy."

Volunteering quickly helps people gain valuable job skills
Some Americans have never had the opportunity to work in a professional setting, and volunteering is their first dose of being in an office environment or working with an organization. Nonprofits need all the help they can get, and may actually end up being the place that these people land their careers. The NonProfit Times stated many Americans often develop a connection to the organization they volunteer with and want the relationship to grow into a full-time career. 

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