Make your New Year’s Resolution to volunteer

Time for change caption

Almost everyone makes a New Year’s Resolution. Many are of the “negative” variety to give up something be it smoking, alcohol, sugar, chocolate etc. As we know these are difficult to keep but if you do succeed there is a lot of satisfaction at one’s self-discipline and restraint.

Another type of resolution is to do something personal, e.g. daily swimming, jogging, yoga etc and again there is a boost if one can keep these up.

But for 2016 why not consider a third and perhaps the most satisfying type of resolution – namely to do something to help people and the community by volunteering.

All research shows that volunteers receive a significant boost to self-esteem and happiness through helping charities to thrive and fulfill their vital role as part of the glue that holds society together. There are millions of opportunities to volunteer in the UK and charities are always looking for new recruits.

Volunteers with professional career skills such as management, accountancy, law, marketing, IT, HR etc play pivotal roles at many charities and in some cases are responsible for the charity surviving at all.

We at Reach Volunteering have been working for more than 35 years as a matching service to place many thousands of professional skilled volunteering with charities – including many trustees.

We have found that more than 90% of volunteers placed by Reach say volunteering gave them the opportunity to use their skills to make a difference, while 98% of charities said their Reach volunteer had made them more effective in accomplishing their mission.

The benefits of volunteering

Here are a couple of responses from our files. Loretta Balfour was placed by Reach as a business mentor with the Prince’s Trust, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged young people.  What does Loretta, a former executive with the Estee Lauder Companies, get out of her work with the Trust?

“It’s been a great experience” Loretta said.  “Young people come in who have had difficulties in life, are set on a path or maybe not – and don’t necessarily know how to move forward.  When you see how they progress, you know you’ve made a difference.”

Alan Flack said: “I wanted to put my management accountancy skills to good use,” when asked why he decided to volunteer.  Reach put Alan in touch with a range of charities that urgently needed his particular financial, business development and project management skills.

Of the benefits of volunteering, Alan says, “I get to meet a wide range of people and to help organisations that can’t afford paid professional help.  My involvement with the charities has opened up worlds I didn’t know existed.”

So why not make your resolution for 2016 to volunteer?

If you have professional skills you want to share with a UK charity, find out about our latest skilled volunteering opportunities on the website.

We are sure it will make you happy! And of course you can resolve to do a daily swim and give up chocolate as well!


A retired journalist, Robin now looks after Reach’s press and PR functions on a voluntary basis.
December 28th, 2015 by