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5 Skills Volunteers Can Learn and Develop at Nonprofits

There are many skills volunteers can learn at nonprofits. We’ve always said, volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, meet new people, AND learn new things! By volunteering at a nonprofit, individuals can do more good and discover a wide range of skills that can benefit their personal and professional lives.

5 Skills Volunteers Can Learn and Develop at Nonprofits

Leadership Skills Volunteers Can Learn

One of the most important skills that volunteers can learn at nonprofits is leadership. Nonprofits are often run by a team of dedicated individuals who work together to achieve a common goal for the good of the community. Volunteers working at nonprofits can learn how to lead a team, delegate tasks, and communicate effectively. Often, local nonprofit leaders also seek to be an example of equitable and inclusive leadership. Volunteers can learn skills that are valuable in both personal and professional settings, including:

  1. Communication: Communication is a crucial component of effective leadership. Volunteers who work at nonprofits can learn how to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, including donors, volunteers, and the individuals they are serving.
  2. Decision-making: Nonprofits often face complex challenges, and volunteers who work at nonprofits can learn how to make difficult decisions in a thoughtful and strategic manner. Plus, since nonprofits often have to make do with fewer resources, they can teach volunteers to be creative and scrappy when it comes to solutions.
  3. Delegation: Delegation is an important leadership skill that involves assigning tasks to others and providing guidance and support as needed. Volunteers who work at nonprofits can learn how to delegate tasks effectively and ensure that everyone on the team has the resources and support they need to succeed.

Organization Skills Volunteers Can Learn

Another skill that volunteers can learn at nonprofits is organization. Nonprofits often have many moving parts, from fundraising events to community outreach programs. Volunteers who work at nonprofits can learn project management, effective time management, and prioritization. These skills can be applied to many different areas of life, from managing personal finances or running a business to using them on your resume.

Nonprofits rely heavily on fundraising to support their programs and initiatives, and volunteers can learn how to plan and execute successful fundraising campaigns, which can be valuable in many industries. In addition, fundraising requires organization and creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking, all of which can be developed through volunteering.

Empathy and Compassion through Volunteering

Volunteering at nonprofits also gives people opportunities to become more empathetic and compassionate. Many nonprofits focus on helping individuals who are in need, whether it’s the homeless, the elderly, or children living in poverty. This allows individuals to connect with others on a deeper level and develop a greater understanding of their struggles. These skills can be applied to personal relationships and professional settings where empathy and compassion are highly valued.

Volunteers Learn Adaptability

Nonprofits often face various challenges, from limited resources to unexpected obstacles. Volunteers must learn to be more resilient and adaptable. They will get practice in staying focused and motivated in the face of adversity and learn how to pivot and adapt when things don’t go as planned.

Volunteering Gives a Sense of Fulfillment

Finally, volunteering at a nonprofit can help individuals develop a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment. Nonprofits are dedicated to doing more good and improving the lives of others. Volunteering at a nonprofit can help people feel like they are making a meaningful contribution to their community and the world. This sense of purpose and fulfillment can be incredibly rewarding and positively impact mental health and well-being.

👉 Read more about volunteer engagement and retention

Bonus Skills Volunteers Can Learn

  • Collaboration: Nonprofits often require high collaboration, as volunteers work together to achieve a common goal.
  • Problem-solving: Nonprofits often face various challenges and obstacles. Volunteers can learn how to approach problems creatively and innovatively.
  • Time management: Nonprofits often have many moving parts. Volunteers can learn how to manage their time effectively to meet deadlines and achieve their goals.

Volunteers can develop many valuable skills from leadership and organization to empathy and resilience by getting involved with nonprofits.

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Photo Brandy Strand
Brandy Strand
Nonprofit Partnerships Account Executive

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.