Value Added for Volunteers

In addition to the many benefits that volunteers bring to literacy organizations, research has found that donating one's time also benefits the individual in a number of ways.

Health benefits - A study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health in 1991 found that volunteering can improve self-esteem, reduce blood pressure, combat social isolation, reduce the impact of stress and augment the body's immune system.

Learning benefits - The National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating found that 76% of volunteers reported an improvement in interpersonal skills. An additional 66% said that they had improved their communication skills, and 64% said they had increased their knowledge about issues relating to health, women, the environment and politics.

Some of the specific skills that volunteers can develop while volunteering with literacy agencies include:

  • Teaching
  • Board development
  • Financial management
  • Computer applications
  • Administrative skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Assessment skills

Job benefits - More than one million Canadians obtained employment through their volunteer experience. Forty-six percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 reported that volunteering had improved their job-related skills. Another 12% reported that volunteering had helped them obtain employment, and over 50% of unemployed volunteers believed that their volunteer experiences would improve their chances of finding work. One-third of employed volunteers believed that volunteering gave them new skills that could be applied to the workplace.

Helping Others - A Priceless Benefit! 
Of all the benefits that literacy volunteers gain, nothing is more valued than the reward of helping others. The single most important reason that volunteers become involved in literacy programs is to help others help themselves.