Does volunteering make you happier?
Here at Join In, we often see the effect that volunteering has on people. We love hearing how rewarding our volunteers find it to help others, and make a difference in their communities. So we decided to look into the subject a little bit more with an independent online survey.
Carried out in April 2014 by Delta Value and Morar Research, we surveyed over 2,500 people from a controlled population of clubs and volunteers in the Join In database, as well as the general public.
What did we find?
Well, the research showed that, when compared to a group that had never volunteered in sport, those that had volunteered were less likely to feel unhappy or depressed. Interestingly, there was also a direct correlation between happiness and the longevity of volunteering – as those who had volunteered in sport for 10+ years gave the most positive responses. Here are some of the stats:
- 88% of people agreed they had a lot to be proud of
- 87% said their life has more meaning because of volunteering
- People who volunteer in sport have a 10% higher self-esteem, emotional wellbeing and resilience than those who have never volunteered
- Those who have never volunteered in sport are more likely to feel unhappy sad or depressed
- Sports volunteers are 15% less likely to worry, and less likely to feel anxious or cry a lot
- They are 28% more likely to feel what they do has importance
These results back up what we hear throughout the year from the thousands of people involved in Join In. Here are just a few of the messages we’ve received from them about the positive impact of volunteering:
“I want as many people as possible to experience the sense of pride and honour I feel to be a part of something so special. As a volunteer at a grassroots club, you are an integral part of creating childhood memories, friendships and experiences that will stay with these kids for their whole life.”
“I had panic attacks when I split up with my husband and couldn’t travel on trains anymore. Being accepted as a Games Maker for London 2012 made me tackle that fear.”
“Volunteering makes me feel lucky and privileged, proud and valued. I feel needed and like I make a difference by offering lots of brilliant kids a positive activity.”
– You can lend a hand near you by finding volunteering opportunities on our site.
– If you think that volunteering has changed the way you see life, or have any questions about our survey, we’d love to hear from you. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Read our full report “Hidden diamonds: Uncovering the true value of sport volunteers”.