Volunteering for a Cause Makes One More Empathetic, CRY Survey Finds

New Delhi: What are the reasons why more and more young people are aspiring to volunteering for social causes over the past few years? What is it that attracts a generation, often perceived as being detached and self-centred, to donate their quality time and skill for social development? What is it that triggers their passion? What motivates them? And what are the takeaways for them from volunteering?

A recent survey, titled ‘The Impact of Volunteering’, conducted by CRY – Child Rights and You answers some of these intriguing questions. The finding of the survey has been made public on the occasion of International Volunteer Day which is observed on December 5 every year.

Going by the findings of the survey, 94% of the volunteers said that they grew more respectful of others, 91% started appreciating others’ views and values more, and 87% started appreciating other cultures more.

While being more empathetic and appreciative about others’ views seem to be the biggest take away for most of the respondents, 85% of them reported that they have gained a strong willingness to try creative and innovative things. 83% of the respondents felt that they have made a useful contribution to making the world a better place, while 79% felt a high sense of having things to look forward to in life.

63% respondents of the study said they were more aware of child rights issues in the country and 58% said they started keeping up with socio-political issues after becoming a volunteer.

Respondents reported a marked growth in their personal development as an impact of volunteering. 85% volunteers said that they learnt teamwork, 77% noted a major improvement in their communication skills and 77% saw a growth in their leadership skills.

That volunteering for a social cause could also be a great idea to keep one healthy and stress-free is also highlighted in the survey. A whopping 93% of the respondents reported neutral to very high positive impact of volunteering on their health, and 75% accorded low stress levels to volunteering.

The survey was conducted among 428 of active volunteers associated with CRY. However, the gender-balanced sample within the age-group of 18-25 years was a small section of the larger base of 2500 plus active volunteers that the organisation currently has across all five Metro cities.

Elaborating on the objective of the initiative, Trina Chakrabarti, Director of Volunteering Action at CRY said, “Over the years we have observed a noticeable increase in the numbers of people, especially youngsters who volunteer for various social causes. We undertook a study to delve deeper and find out the reasons that led to this upward trend. 428 active volunteers of CRY were asked to share the reasons that motivated them to volunteer and sustained their habit of volunteering.

The key finding of the survey, according to her, is that “Volunteering is a meaningful exercise that gives every individual an opportunity to acquire life skills. It helps boost ones sense of self-worth. It enhances our levels of empathy and thereby makes us work better in groups and in leading teams.”

“Volunteering is commonly seen as an act of ‘giving’ or doing for the ‘other’, but every volunteer we interviewed mentioned that what one gets in return is far more valuable and therefore it will be apt to say that volunteering as an act has transformative potential,” Trina Chakrabarti added.

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