When we give of ourselves through volunteer opportunities, the gifts we provide are often returned and multiplied.

Three volunteers are tiding up an outdoor space.According to an annual report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.8 million volunteers each gave about 50 hours to the organizations of their choice.* For the most part, individuals choose to spend the majority of their time volunteering for social change organizations that align with their own passions and interests.

The 6 Most Popular Volunteer Activities

Collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food




Tutoring and teaching


General labor and transportation


Professional assistance/serving on a group’s board


Mentoring youth


The organizations and individuals fortunate enough to receive volunteer assistance are not the sole beneficiaries. By dedicating your time and effort toward volunteer opportunities, you can reap a number of unexpected benefits as well, including:‡

  • Developing new skills and professional experiences as you volunteer your time—potentially enhancing your résumé in the process.
  • Making social connections during volunteer opportunities, which can release the hormone oxytocin, helping you bond with others and handle stress better.
  • Setting a good example for others, including your children or other young people in your life.
  • Enjoying a sense of achievement and motivation as you donate your time and energy to social change initiatives.
  • Discovering hidden talents as you engage in various volunteer opportunities, especially in activities that are new to you.
  • A noticeable rise in your self-esteem and sense of achievement as you receive positive feedback and see that you’re valued.
  • Meeting like-minded, motivated people who share your priorities, values, and dedication to social change.

If you’re looking for a way to fit volunteer opportunities into your busy schedule while also continuing your education, consider enrolling in one of Walden University’s online degree programs. Walden’s mission to effect positive social change includes our annual Global Days of Service. Becoming a Walden student is an ideal way to pursue your passion, continue your education, and advance your career goals as you earn your degree in a convenient format that fits your busy life.

*U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Volunteering in the United States, 2014,” on the Internet at www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm.

†U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Volunteering in the United States, 2014: Table 5,” on the Internet at www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.t05.htm.

‡Positive Force Consulting, “12 Reasons Why People Volunteer,” on the Internet at www.positiveforce.com/12-reasons-people-volunteer.