Students always find new ways to surprise their instructors. More and more high school and college students are participating in charity work these days for a variety of reasons–primarily because they enjoy it! If your students haven’t caught the charitable bug yet, they may just need a few hints and a nudge to get things started.

To begin with, we asked our community of educators if college students at their school have opportunities to participate in volunteer work. Discover how the opportunities at your school compare to those of your peers, and find some tips to share with your students on the many benefits of volunteering.

Charitable efforts at school

We’re happy to learn that the vast majority, 80% of instructors, say that there are ways for their students to participate in charity work. For the 20% that say there are none, there might just be opportunities to volunteer in the community that are simply waiting to be uncovered.

Further, we asked in what ways could students volunteer. According to instructors:

  • 66% said students can volunteer “in the surrounding community”
  • 61% said students can volunteer “through campus initiatives”
  • 41% said students can volunteer “through travel/mission trips”

The majority of schools seem to have a number of ways for students to volunteer and the first step is teaching students the many benefits and opportunities to participate.

Discover new interests

Do you remember how and when you first discovered your calling? Trying new things is always an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your passions. This is why it’s a great idea to recommend as many varied opportunities for charity work as possible to your students — and the many rewards that come with trying more than one.

For example, volunteering with youths in the community may just spark a previously undiscovered interest in working with children or in education. Spending time in an animal shelter my help students see a future in the non-profit business. Or a project calling volunteers to construct and repair homes may unveil an interest in project management or city planning. The possibilities are truly endless.

Improve the community

Participating in charity work allows students to see the impact that their hard work has on their own community or the under-served communities near and far. Many students may not feel as though they can make a significant impact, but seeing the underprivileged children that will enjoy the buildings students construct or the resources students provide, for example, is a million-dollar feeling.

Even something as simple as tutoring a classmate or cleaning up a public space is a rewarding chance to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Resume boost

Particularly for college students with limited work experience, volunteer work on a resume can help them stand out from the crowd. A lot of charity work does, indeed, involve manual labor, which may not directly correlate to a students’ desired career path.

However, students might be surprised to find that relevant volunteer work might also be an available if they’re willing to ask. For example, if students are interested in marketing, they can reach out to a few charities to see if they need any help contributing to their social media pages or getting the word out on events around town.

The benefits to volunteer work are endless for anyone. It can help build soft skills such as leadership, public speaking, and group work, which can be applied in the classroom as well as in the workforce. Encourage your students to get involved by showing them all it can offer them and all they can offer those in need. In some special cases, you may even find it makes sense to offer extra credit for completing volunteer hours in the community.

Have you uncovered any unique opportunities for volunteer work in your community or school? Share your suggestions and ideas below.