The impact of COVID-19 over the past year has many people looking for new ways to help their communities and neighbors. Volunteering is quickly becoming an interest for many people around the world, as they enjoy being able to help others. As volunteering continues to rise, it is helpful to understand some emerging trends that are likely to continue over the next few years.

Volunteering for Skills Development
With the expanding core of new volunteers, a trend is emerging that shows a segment of volunteers  are seeking opportunities to learn new skills. This may be the result of changes to their employment status or the result of changes in the economy over the past year. Many people seek out volunteer positions that provide specific skill development, such as construction, food service, marketing, and social media. volunteers working in these areas learn through experience and can build their resumes so they can  compete for positions  that requires these skills.

Company Volunteer Programs
Companies that have survived the past year thanks to their customers are deciding to give back to their communities. Business owners engage their employees in community-based volunteer programs that help neighborhoods regain a  sense of normalcy despite the challenges created by the pandemic. These types of programs not only help customers and neighbors but also give employees a sense of pride in their organizations.

Leaders of the Future
Leadership has always been a strong skill to have in just about any area, and volunteering is emerging as an opportunity to gain or strengthen leadership skills. Many volunteer organizations are looking for individuals who can manage large projects and other volunteers. This is a great opportunity to engage in leadership practice. Organizations can consider developing pathways for volunteers that demonstrate the skills and interest in leadership roles.

Maximizing Business Resources
Despite having survived the challenges brought on my COVID-19, some businesses  have found  themselves short on both  employees and cash flow. Tapping into a volunteer base for these companies is a win-win. The business can improve operations, and the volunteers have the chance to learn new skills. Employers may be able to use volunteers as resources for future hiring. Studies have shown that skilled volunteers can improve operations by almost 80%, yet less than 15% of these volunteers are put into assignments where they can thrive. Businesses that tap into this valuable, free, and eager workforce and create win-win situations. 

If you are an employee or volunteer, consider how you can adjust your approach with these trends in mind. Slight modifications to current approaches can yield benefits for individuals, communities and businesses. Take action today by sharing these trends in volunteerism with friends, colleagues, business owners and others in your community.