When it comes to fundraising, people can be pretty sceptical. Raising money for a good cause seems like a lot of effort when you're busy with family commitments or a demanding career – and anyway, what affect will it have?
Then you're hit by a personal crisis, and find yourself calling on the help of the charity you once thought about helping, but didn't have time to. You're asking why they can't offer a solution to your problem, and the answer is, because they're still working on it. With every donation they receive, they're steadily making progress; getting one step closer to providing you with the help you need.
But that's the bigger picture. Here and now…
You test your comfort zones
The great thing about charity work is that it's always testing the boundaries. No challenge is too hard, if it means helping those in need. You'll see yourself signing up to bungee jumps and half-marathons, as family and friends look on in disbelief. The greater the challenge, the greater the journey, the greater the reward – both in donations and from a personal standpoint!
Many turn to international development to escape their comfort zones. They live and breathe the cause that they're fundraising for, in a bid to gain greater perspective/a new sense of drive to promote positive change. That's not to say that you have to travel overseas to truly help your cause. Every challenge is personal to those completing it, and equally appreciated.
But are the benefits short lived? Not in the slightest. If you're career orientated, being 'comfortable' is one of the worst things you can be. ‘Settling’ in a situation suggests that you're not striving to better yourself or reach higher; you're allowing others to take the lead.
In his book "Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be," Walmart’s Senior Director of International Human Resources Strategy and Operations, David Van Rooy discusses how surviving in the moment and clinging to security only limits your opportunities in the future. To create a career path that's fulfilling and creative, you need break the norm and develop your skillset beyond the 4 walls of your office. Fundraising can help you get there.
You develop key skills
Likewise, if you're looking to stand out to a potential employee, fundraising is the way to do it. If you've never had the desire to volunteer before, but the prospect of enhancing your career appeals to you, go for it. It not only sparks conversation between you and your soon-to-be boss, but it speaks volumes about your character too.
Employers appreciate a person who fundraises. It suggests that they're a well-rounded person: selfless, dedicated and prepared to go the extra mile. Charity work also provides transferable skills that are relevant to the workplace. For example, if you've experience in face-to-face fundraising and had amazing results off the back of it; this tells employees that you're resilient, a people person and good at pitching ideas to a tough crowd.
According to Timebank, "73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without." Time to step up to the plate and let fundraising shape you into the perfect employee.
You learn what you like, and what you don’t
Many drift in and out of different jobs, disappointed. You had big dreams of changing the world, and now you're crunching numbers.
Fundraising enables you to discover what your strengths are and what you're truly passionate about. According to a 'Work/Life Survey' conducted by Philips, boredom is one of the leading causes of job dissatisfaction in the workplace, and that "68% of working Americans would be willing to take a salary cut to work in a job that better allowed them to apply personal interests to the workplace."
If you aren't motivated by money, there's nothing more fulfilling than charity work. It brings purpose and direction to your life, both professionally and personally. You'll learn what causes inspire you, drive you and encourage you to speak out. You'll network with likeminded people and thrive in a sector that truly appreciates you. And after this, everything else will fall into place.
Your health improves
They say no good deed goes unpunished, but this simply isn't true. Whilst you may not receive compensation for your charitable doing, the health benefits alone make fundraising worthwhile.
Harvard Medical School agrees that charitable work is 'good for the body and soul.' It gets you talking about your cause, your goals and what you want to achieve, which in turn, helps to ward off loneliness and conditions like depression.
What's more, as you speak to different people of all ages/backgrounds and hear their stories, you gain perspective. It makes you grateful for what you have, and more determined to improve the lives of those who aren't as fortunate.
Then there are the physical benefits. If you're preparing for a particular fundraising challenge, those hours spent training at the gym will speak for themselves. In addition to this, research from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that volunteering can also promote excellent cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure and increase your lifespan. Fundraising may be just what the doctor ordered.
'Helpers high' is a real thing. Knowing that you're making a difference to someone else's life, no matter how big or small, is incredibly rewarding. It makes you empathetic to the plight of others and creates friendships that you'll treasure for life.
In the study 'Feeling Good About Giving,' Harvard Medical School explains why charitable work and happiness come as a package. "Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more)."
To be happy, you need to give back. Let fundraising be your perfect start.