What is Volunteering?

Volunteering means giving time without being paid. The work must adhere to the following conditions:

  • It is in the public interest or in a particular social interest. 
  • It is non-profit.
  • It cannot replace paid work. 

When in doubt, ask the organization that offers volunteer work if your tasks meet these requirements:

The Double H’s of Volunteering: Happy & Healthy!

So What Can Volunteering Do For You?


When you volunteer, you can apply your best skills, ideas, intentions, and personal creativity, combine them with what others have to offer and bring about the changes you want to see in the world. You can enhance your personal growth, increase your professional development, and benefit from the health factors volunteering adds to your life. Volunteering is a service to your community without financial compensation. Nevertheless, Volunteering will enrich you in ways large and small.


When you volunteer, you pour your skills, energy, time, and even your heart into something bigger than you in order to enable others to strive to achieve their goals and move forward. If it is the case, then in this simple (and yet not so simple) act of giving lies a key to personal happiness and fulfillment. The fantastic thing about volunteering is that if you give a bit, you will receive in abundance. Volunteering will allow you to not only make a difference in the lives of others but it can also help yourself! According to statistics from Time Bank (2009), "62% of regular formal volunteers say that start volunteering because they want to improve things/help people". It is also stated that 65% of regular formal volunteers get satisfaction from seeing the results.


Volunteering Can Advance Your Career Prospects 


Volunteering lets you stand out as a candidate for future job prospects. It shows that you have a sense of passion, determination, and strong character. An impact survey of hiring influencers from 2016 (c.f. Deloitte 2016) showed that potential candidates who highlight volunteer experience in their resumes stand out more than those who do not. Among them, 80% believe that active volunteers are more likely to take on leadership roles and 86% believe active volunteer experience makes a candidate’s resume more competitive. In addition, 85% value volunteering to the point that it can balance out pitfalls in your resume, while 82% indicated that they are more likely to choose a candidate who has volunteering experience over one without. So don’t miss out on chances to boost your employability! You can gain new skills and strengthen your current ones - a belief that 92% of the survey participants also share. Volunteering can even help you when you are looking for a career change; you can acquire relevant skills by doing related volunteer work and develop a deeper understanding of the requirements and issues that would come with the new role you would like to take on one day.  


Furthermore, 84% of people responsible for hiring agree that volunteering is a way to help people find work. In addition, during recruitment, 80% of employers value positively on volunteering on a CV. Moreover, 70% of employers believe that those who volunteer have a better chance of earning a higher salary and gaining promotion according to Time Bank (2009). 


Volunteering Provides Many Benefits For Your Mental And Physical Health


The social and socializing aspects that come with volunteering can reduce anger, anxiety, and depression. Social contact helps relieve stress, and the simple act of helping others is known to stimulate the brain's pleasure center and increase happiness. It can lead to better sleep, a lower frequency of getting sick, and can even reduce the risk of heart disease. Another great benefit of volunteering is increased brain function; keeping your brain active by learning new skills and social interacting enhances long- and short-term memory capacity. Whatever your personal situation, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, help take your mind off stress, and keep you active. Sometimes Volunteering can also help put your life into perspective and increase your sense of gratitude. Studies have shown that long-term volunteers live happier, longer lives while having better overall health. 


According to Make A Difference Day Survey, ICM Research in the UK (2004) 71% of volunteers who offer their professional skills and experience say volunteering helps combat depression. Also, volunteering helps improve physical health and fitness to up to 47% of the people. 30% of 18-24-year-old smokers say volunteering helps them smokeless and 25% of people who volunteer more than five times a year say volunteering has helped them lose weight.


Volunteering Can Enhance Your Personal Growth


If you want to give your self-esteem a boost – volunteer! Research has shown that spending time as a volunteer can increasing self-esteem. Being in the service of others can provide a natural sense of accomplishment. This is especially true for those who are new to a city, region, or country: Volunteering can provide you with a sense of identity and help you gain a sense of purpose by applying and enhancing your skills for a community aim. And the better you feel about yourself, the easier it will be to reach your future goals. Often, Volunteering can also mean a big step out of your comfort zone, and herein lies a great opportunity for growth. Volunteering can be a way to challenge yourself; you can learn new faculties, increase your knowledge, enhance your social skills, or maybe dare to do something completely new. It can be the means to take on specific issues that you are passionate about. Are you worried about animal welfare, climate change, or the plight of those less fortunate? Volunteer and do something about it!


Volunteering will allow you to not only make a difference in the lives of others but it can also help yourself! According to statistics from Time Bank (2009), "62% of regular formal volunteers say that start volunteering because they want to improve things/help people". It is also stated that 65% of regular formal volunteers get satisfaction from seeing the results.


Make New Friends And Build Community Through Volunteering!


Volunteering offers an excellent opportunity to connect with new and like-minded people, create meaningful relationships, and increase your social network. Particularly for those who are new to an area, volunteering can eventually help form bonds with strangers and make connections with new friends over shared values. You can meet people with strong principles and purpose in life who regularly step out of their comfort zones by reaching out and helping others. Being part of a group with a shared purpose also means combined forces for building a community aimed at fulfilling future goals together. An increased feeling of belonging and a growing support system can be positive side effects. You can be part of a community that enriches your perspective on life and can increase your social flexibility.


The Canadian Center for Philanthropy Research Program (2004), says that "79% said that their volunteer activities helped them with their interpersonal skills, such as understanding people better, motivating others, and dealing with difficult situations". And lastly, 68% said that volunteering helped them to develop better communication skills.


Last And Certainly Not Least - You Can Make A Difference!

Never underestimate how much impact your personal contribution can have on the lives of others. Don’t miss out on great opportunities to enrich your life and the lives of others. Today is a great day to get started with your volunteer journey in The Hague! 


Types of Volunteering

Volunteer jobs come in all shapes and sizes. The time commitment can differ from a few hours a day to an entire week. Tasks vary in complexity and specialisation and may you may be by yourself or within a team environment with co-workers or friends.

Agreement and Insurance

Voluntary Agreement

To prevent any misunderstandings, make a written agreement with the organization where you plan to volunteer. The following responsibilities and conditions should be included in the agreement:

  • the work you are performing
  • the time limit for the work
  • any voluntary payment or travel expenses
  • rights and obligations
  • training and education

If an organization doesn't offer a voluntary agreement you can download one below.

Insurance

'De Haagse Polis' is a free insurance policy for all volunteers in the Municipality of The Hague. Every citizen of The Hague doing organized voluntary work on a single or regular basis has a right to this policy. This policy covers work-related injuries, personal valuables, the right to legal assistance, and liability insurance. This insurance is very comprehensive. If loss or damage occurs, you or the organization you volunteer with can contact Bureau Gemeentelijke Risicomanagement van de Gemeente Den Haag, email: [email protected] or call (070) 353 51 75.