Why volunteer at a nonprofit?

Did you know that Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga has 13,845 active volunteers? Since 2012, these dedicated individuals have collectively volunteered over 500,000 hours in our ReStores, in our offices and on our construction sites. With so many volunteer opportunities out there, you might be wondering why so many people choose to spend their time volunteering at a nonprofit.

There are many benefits to volunteering at a nonprofit. Check out our list below, and don’t forget to check out the volunteer page on our website to learn how you can sign up for your first volunteer shift in 30 minutes or less! Habitat offers volunteer experiences in our ReStores, in our office, on construction sites and in our new ReVive Centre, our exclusive upcycling facility in Mississauga.

Immerse yourself in an innovative environment

As nonprofits search for solutions to pressing concerns in our community, they are constantly thinking outside-the-box about new ideas. Volunteering at a nonprofit means you’re able to collaborate, think creatively and contribute ideas that might have a direct impact on the nonprofit’s daily operations. You’ll also get experience problem-solving, working in a team and working independently. These soft skills will transfer to other aspects of your life as well, such as your future studies and career path, as well as your life in general.

Learn more about specific topics

Not only can you learn soft skills by volunteering at a nonprofit, but you can also gain in-depth knowledge about specific topics. Volunteering at a nonprofit like Habitat for Humanity, for example, allows you to learn about affordable housing, construction and working with various levels of government, among lots of other subjects.  Any nonprofit that specializes in a particular area will allow you to immerse yourself in that topic. This can be helpful for gaining a better understanding of the world around you, and it can also apply to future studies or career opportunities.

Learn more about yourself

While you’ll also learn about a specific area of focus at a nonprofit, you’ll also learn more about yourself. If you’re faced with a challenging situation, learning how to overcome that challenge will provide you with skills to tackle any problems that may arise in the future. By volunteering at a nonprofit, you’ll learn more about the types of work you enjoy and dislike and, on a larger scale, the goals you’re capable of achieving when you put your mind to it.

Make lifelong friendships

Joining a volunteer team means you’ll have the chance to work with other like-minded individuals. Whether you’re working in an office environment, outside or across the city, chances are that at a nonprofit you won’t be working alone. You’ll likely work closely with a team, and this gives you the opportunity to learn new skills from a different group of people. Not only will you learn, but you’ll also get to meet new people and make new friends who could stay with you for the rest of your life.

Network in your community

Volunteering at a nonprofit may also give you the opportunity to network with individuals both at the organization and at other organizations in your community. Through attending events, conferences or simply by going to your regular volunteer shift, you’ll be able to connect with people who might be in your industry or future line of work. Making these connections is invaluable, since they can provide guidance, expertise and point you towards future opportunities for learning and growth.

Do important work locally in your community

Volunteering abroad has benefits for your life, but it’s also valuable to do work locally in your community. By volunteering in your community, you get to see the impact of the work you’re doing. For example, working with Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga gives you the chance to contribute to building affordable homes right here in your community. You can drive past and see the construction that will ultimately be a home for a local family. This allows you to make a positive impact locally, helping contribute to the economic vitality, wellbeing and sense of community in your neighbourhood.

Handle real responsibilities

Since nonprofits often don’t have a large amount of paid staff, they are heavily reliant on volunteers. This means that volunteers are given real responsibilities. In Habitat ReStores, volunteers make up 80 per cent of staff. Volunteers help by collecting donations, stocking shelves, working cash desks and contributing to the overall operations in ReStores. Without our ReStore volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to continue fundraising for our build projects through accepting and selling donated products to our community.

Be part of lasting change

Ultimately, volunteering at a nonprofit means being part of efforts to create lasting change. Whether the nonprofit is working to find solutions to affordable housing, hunger, education, a health-related issue or anything else, your work as a volunteer will truly help that nonprofit. This, in turn, will make the nonprofit more effective in working in your community.

Nonprofits work to provide solutions to challenging and pressing issues, but your help can make it easier for these solutions to be realized. By signing up to volunteer, you are deciding to contribute your skills, time and efforts to something bigger than yourself; and you might just be surprised by how many benefits you notice during your volunteer journey.

Sign up to volunteer today

If these benefits sound interesting to you, then sign up to volunteer today. Websites such as Volunteer Canada and CharityVillage can help you find nonprofit volunteer experiences near you. You can also check out Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga’s volunteer website to learn more about the unique volunteer opportunities we offer to members of our community. From volunteering in an office, to a ReStore, to the ReVive Centre to a build site, we have a volunteer opportunity for everyone.

To learn more about the work that Habitat does in your community, visit our website. Click here to learn more about our current build projects, and how you can get involved today!

By Sherina Harris