Pearl #15: Volunteerism is Mutually Beneficial

Throughout the year, our blog series “Pearls: 30 Lessons Learned on Our 30 Year Journey” will be featuring lessons we’ve learned as an organization throughout the past three decades. These “pearls,” as we call them, illuminate how we’ve survived and thrived for 30 years.

Volunteerism is Mutually Beneficial

Our Volunteers are the Backbone of Our Work

Each year several hundred volunteers help Women’s Bean Project in a variety of ways. Volunteers lead many of our program activities, such as computer and financial literacy classes. They also provide job coaching and career search assistance, such as editing resumes and helping women navigate online job portals. Essentially, program volunteers allow us to deliver the myriad services that comprise a significant portion of the women’s paid time while they work at the Bean. They make our program possible. 

Volunteers also assist us in our business operations, donor relations, on the production floor and with marketing and communications. Nearly every part of the Bean Project is enhanced by volunteerism. It is vital to our organization by allowing us to conduct a tremendous number of activities while keeping our staff small and to direct more of our revenue to serving – and paying – the women in our transitional employment program. 

Volunteering Benefits Everyone, In Many Ways

When volunteers become a part of the Bean family, everyone benefits from it. It enhances the organizations’ contributions to a social solution that we know changes lives. When the women we serve move from chronic unemployment to long-term, career jobs, they are better employees, mothers and community members. We all win. 

And there many good reasons to volunteer beyond the help provided to the Bean Project. According to the Mayo Clinic, volunteering is mutually beneficial to the organization and the volunteer. Here are some ways volunteering benefits individuals:

  • Doing so decreases the risk of depression, especially for older adults because it increases the opportunities for social interactions 
  • It provides people a sense of purpose and can also teach valuable skills, especially for those earlier in their careers 
  • Volunteering helps people stay mentally active and benefit from greater life satisfaction 
  • Social interactions derived from volunteering can serve to reduce stress levels 
  • Volunteering can help you live longer 

Everyone Can Bring Something to the Table

When volunteers arrive without preconceived notions and with an open heart for helping where they are needed, the results are magical. At Women’s Bean Project we try to approach every new relationship from a place of abundance. Every person has the ability to bring something to the Bean and it is our job to work together to figure out what that is. We have learned that when we are willing to put in some energy at the outset to determine what that something is, everyone wins. 

Note: Are you over 18 and interested in volunteering at Women’s Bean Project? You are welcome to join us for a tour to learn more. First Friday of each month, noon to 1 pm and 4th Thursday at 5:30. RSVP and find more information here.  

Written by Tamra Ryan, CEO

Find the entire series of “Pearls: Lessons Learned on Our 30 Year Journey” here.


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