Volunteers are the heart of every charity shop with over 6,000 people volunteering in our members’ shops. Charity shops are often a valuable community hub, especially in small towns and villages nationwide. It is the sense of belonging and community that inspires many of our volunteers to show up at their local charity shop every week without fail.
Volunteers can help in many different ways in their local shop – preparing goods for sale behind the scenes, helping customers in the shop or helping at the till. They provide a friendly welcome to customers and help the shops to run smoothly. With Charity Retail Ireland member shops in every county there is bound to be one near you. Find a shop here or go to our Volunteer page for volunteering contact details of our members.
And there are many benefits of volunteering for the volunteer too.

10 Reasons to Volunteer

Indeed.com’s Career Guide has come up with a great list of the top 10 reasons for the social, career and personal benefits of volunteering that I can’t argue with! 

1. Provides you with a sense of purpose
You may be able to find your purpose through volunteering and becoming part of something greater than yourself. For instance, if you’re retired, unexpectedly unemployed or have lost a loved one, helping others can give your life new meaning and keep you mentally stimulated.

2. Provides a sense of community
Volunteering can help you feel connected to those you are helping in the community. This experience may make you want to get involved with other aspects of your community, such as local politics or advocating for programmes you believe are important.

3. Helps you meet new friends
Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends as well as strengthen existing connections with friends, family or coworkers. As a volunteer, you’ll typically interact with people from diverse backgrounds, which allows you to learn other perspectives. When you choose an organisation or cause to volunteer for, consider the people you’re volunteering alongside did as well. Sharing a common interest will help you build closer relationships with those around you.

4. Increases your social skills
Volunteering gives you a chance to talk to new people and sharpen your social skills. By spending a lot of time working with others and using social skills, like active listening and relationship management, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your future personal and business relationships.

5. Improves self-esteem
Volunteering may boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. When you do something you feel is worthwhile and valuable for your community, it gives you a sense of accomplishment that may help you feel more fulfilled about your life and any future goals.

6. Teaches you valuable skills
The training and hands-on experience you gain while volunteering can help you learn new skills as well as build upon ones you already have. You can then put these skills on your resume to show employers how you build relationships outside of work in addition to any personal interests that can set you apart from other candidates.

7. Provides job prospects
Along with acquiring valuable skills and experience, you may also meet people while volunteering who can become your mentors or at least a part of your professional social network. If you choose to pursue a career in the field you’re volunteering in, the connections you make also may help increase your job prospects.

8. Brings fun into your life
Volunteering for organisations or causes also may provide you with a renewed sense of creativity and motivation that carries over into your personal and professional life.

9. Can help you be happier
It often feels good to contribute to projects and organisations that mean something to you. These good feelings can help lessen the effects of stress, anger or anxiety in your life. Volunteering may provide you with the tools you need to be a happy and well-rounded individual. Building bonds and connections with people you volunteer with also may counteract any social isolation. 

10. Gets you out of your comfort zone
Through volunteer work, you may overcome the personal challenges of leaving your comfort zone and doing something new with people you may not know. You may be faced with various problems to solve as a volunteer that require you to exercise critical thinking skills that aid your own personal development.

Training and support

You will receive training and support to help you to gain skills, experience and confidence to help you in your volunteer role in your local charity shop. If you are unhappy in your role or it’s not what you expected then discuss this with your shop manager, who will try and work out where you can make your best contribution to the running of the shop. You will gain loads of new skills and also be helping to raise funds for a great cause.