Volunteering is often seen as a selfless act – donating your time and skills to benefit a cause or help other people.
But can volunteering also be considered a hobby?
With the right mindset and approach, volunteering can be a productive, fulfilling hobby.
What are the key differences between volunteering and other hobbies?
Unlike traditional hobbies like sports, arts, or collecting, volunteering is focused on serving others rather than oneself. However, volunteering can provide many of the same benefits as other hobbies, such as:
- Learning new skills
- Meeting new people
- Gaining valuable experience
- Finding meaning and fulfillment
The main difference is that with volunteering the primary beneficiary is your community or your chosen cause, rather than yourself. But this outward focus is exactly what makes volunteering so rewarding for so many people.
Why choose volunteering as a hobby?
Here are some of the key reasons why volunteering makes an excellent hobby:
It connects you with your community
Volunteering is a great way to get to know organizations and people in your local area. It helps build community spirit and unite people from all walks of life.
It provides an opportunity to give back
Many people volunteer to support causes or communities they feel connected to. Volunteering provides an avenue to help others which can be extremely fulfilling.
It’s good for your mental health
Studies show that volunteering releases feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin in the brain. This helps reduce stress, fight depression, and increase self-confidence.
It allows you to develop new skills
Volunteering lets you learn new abilities, gain hands-on experience, and even advance your career. This makes it ideal for professional development.
It looks great on your resume
Relevant volunteering experience can boost your resume. It shows initiative, teamwork skills, and commitment to your community.
What are some potential challenges with choosing volunteering as a hobby?
While extremely rewarding, volunteering does come with some unique challenges to consider:
It requires a time commitment
To gain the full benefits of volunteering, you need to commit to a regular schedule. This can be difficult to balance with work and family demands.
You may need to get outside your comfort zone
Depending on your role, volunteering may require public speaking, working with strangers, or other tasks outside your comfort zone. This can be daunting at first.
It can take time to find the right fit
With so many causes needing support, it may require some trial and error to find volunteer work that is truly fulfilling for you.
You may not always see the impacts
Compared to hobbies where you have tangible results, the impacts of volunteering can often seem intangible. This can make it hard to feel like you’re making a real difference.
There may be logistical hurdles
Volunteering may require transportation, scheduling, training, background checks, and other logistics to work through. This extra effort is worth it but can be frustrating.
Tips for making volunteering more enjoyable and sustainable
Here are some suggestions for getting the most satisfaction and longevity out of volunteering:
Choose causes you’re passionate about
This will make your volunteering feel purposeful rather than like an obligation. Stay true to your values.
Set a realistic routine you can stick to
Consistent volunteering is most rewarding. Set a routine that works with your existing commitments.
Team up with friends or coworkers
Volunteering together makes it more fun and easier to stay motivated. You can inspire each other.
Track your volunteer hours
Seeing your impact quantified will give you a sense of accomplishment. Review regularly.
Take time to reflect
Think about the difference your volunteering makes to give you a renewed perspective.
Mark major volunteering milestones to stay encouraged. Celebrating keeps you engaged.
Exploring different types of volunteer opportunities
Volunteering takes many forms, so you can align activities with your specific interests and abilities. Some options include:
- Community service e.g. neighborhood cleanups or helping at a food bank
- Mentorship e.g. tutoring students or job coaching
- Nonprofit support e.g. volunteering at animal shelters or museums
- Event volunteering e.g. marshalling at charity runs or festivals
- Skills-based volunteering e.g. offering photography or accounting skills
- Volunteering abroad e.g. building houses in other countries or teaching English
- Volunteering in a crisis e.g. helping evacuees from natural disasters
- Environmental volunteering e.g. planting trees or cleaning up parks
- Committee and board roles e.g. volunteering expertise to guide nonprofits
The options are virtually endless. Focus on finding volunteering consistent with your passions, skills, and availability.
Balancing volunteering with work, family, and other commitments
The key is being strategic with how you spend your free time. Here are some tips:
- Schedule set days/times for volunteering to give it priority
- Get your family or housemates involved too
- Choose volunteering close to home to minimize travel time
- Prioritize volunteering commitments like any other obligation
- Find opportunities allowing you to volunteer remotely
- Take advantage of volunteer days offered by your employer
- Replace passive hobbies like TV watching with volunteering
- Share your commitments with friends/family to gain support
- Remind yourself of the fulfillment volunteering provides
With some discipline, volunteering can be integrated into even the busiest of lives. The rewards make the effort worthwhile.
Making a meaningful difference through volunteering
Volunteering allows you to have a real impact on causes you care about. Here are suggestions for making volunteering as meaningful as possible:
- Educate yourself thoroughly on the cause first
- Commit to a long-term regular schedule when possible
- Take on leadership volunteer roles when you’re ready
- Partner with organizations doing work you believe in
- Encourage others around you to volunteer too
- Advocate politically for the cause where relevant
- Use your special skills and talents to provide unique value
- Seek direct feedback from the community you are serving
- Have candid conversations to understand unmet needs
- Remain open-minded – communities know themselves best
- Show up consistently and follow through on promises
Volunteering is one of the most impactful ways we can give back and help build stronger communities. By volunteering strategically and creatively harnessing your unique abilities, you can make a profound difference.
In summary, volunteering can be considered a hobby
Rather than being a chore, with the right approach volunteering is extremely rewarding. It connects you to the community, provides meaning, develops new skills, and has wide-ranging mental health benefits.
To make volunteering work as a hobby, choose causes aligned with your passions, create a consistent routine, celebrate milestones, team up with others, and track your impact. When done thoughtfully, volunteering is one of the most uplifting hobbies around.
FAQs about Is Volunteering a Hobby?
Is volunteering a hobby or interest?
Volunteering can be considered both a hobby and an interest, depending on how someone approaches it. When done regularly for enjoyment, volunteering qualifies as a hobby.
Why is volunteering a good hobby?
Volunteering is a good hobby because it provides fulfillment, allows you to gain new skills, connect with your community, and give back to causes you care about.
What is volunteering classed as?
Volunteering is generally classed as an unpaid activity where someone donates their time or services freely to benefit a cause, organization, or community.
Does volunteering look good on a resume?
Yes, relevant volunteering experience looks excellent on a resume because it demonstrates initiative, commitment, and skills like teamwork.
Is volunteering the same as working?
Volunteering is not the same as working since it is unpaid. But it does require similar commitment, responsibility, and an investment of time.
Is community service a hobby?
Community service can be considered a hobby if it is performed regularly and willingly for personal fulfillment rather than as a requirement or punishment.