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Volunteering Is a Win-Win

Make a difference — for others and your own well-being

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Quick Win

Helping others is good for you! Take these steps to give back while strengthening your social network and sense of purpose.

Try this today
  • Think local. Volunteer at a nearby school, library, hospital, senior center or other institution that relies on community support. Just an hour or two a week can make a huge difference — and you may be surprised by how gratifying it can be.
  • Follow your interests. Draw on your skills and passions when considering where to volunteer. If you’re a math whiz, look into options for tutoring or assisting people with personal finance. Love plants and gardening? See if there are individuals or organizations that could use a green thumb.
  • Join a board. Nonprofit organizations often depend on local experts to serve on advisory boards, sharing their vision and resources. Contact organizations based on your interests and experience.
  • Be a good neighbor. Helping out neighbors is a great way to give back. Offer to lend a hand with errands, yard work or rides to medical appointments. Some communities have mutual aid organizations that offer opportunities to help with current needs.
  • Register with Create the Good, and check out AARP’s Volunteer Opportunity Board to find out ways to volunteer in your state.

Volunteering can make a big difference in other people’s lives, as well as your own. In a 2023 review published in Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, researchers analyzed decades of studies, mainly of older U.S. adults, on how volunteering affects health and well-being. They found evidence that volunteering is linked to greater psychological well-being, sense of purpose, self-esteem, social support, sense of community, life satisfaction and independence — as well as less depression and disability, and a lower risk of early death.

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