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What skills does volunteering give you?

What skills does volunteering give you?

One of the most cited reasons for volunteering is to gain knowledge and skills. In addition to contributing to a fairer and more humane society, volunteering helps develop a diverse array of ‘volunteer skills and qualities’, beneficial for both your personal and working life.


In the journey of volunteer work, organizations like One, Two, Tree! serve as a catalyst in your skill development process. Volunteering can turn into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially when you choose to lend your skills to noble causes. Let’s take a glimpse at the skills that you can learn and how to apply them!


What skills do you gain from volunteering?



Volunteering offers a valuable opportunity to collaborate with others towards a shared objective. Through volunteering, you will have the chance to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, fostering a greater understanding of diversity and inclusion. Engaging in volunteer work can also enhance your ability to function as an effective team player, a quality that is crucial for success in the workplace, wouldn’t you agree?


Relationship building


Volunteering provides a platform for building meaningful connections with individuals who possess varying backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This experience can help you cultivate skills such as developing empathy, establishing trust, demonstrating respect, and effectively managing conflicts. By fostering strong relationships with others, you can contribute more effectively within a team and community, and create a positive environment. These invaluable skills can be applied wherever your journey takes you, making a difference in any setting you find yourself in.

One, Two… Tree! dream team


Interpersonal skills


Developing your teamwork capacities leads to boosting your interpersonal skills. You’ll become better equipped to interact with people and handle various situations that may arise in the workplace. 




Participating in volunteer work allows you to develop vital interpersonal communication skills, such as active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution. Moreover, volunteering can provide opportunities for public speaking, enabling you to refine your articulation, tone, and overall confidence. Interpersonal communication and public speaking are highly regarded skills that will make you a more effective and influential worker. Be sure to highlight these strengths during job interviews!


Time management


As a volunteer, you often have to balance your volunteer work with other commitments, teaching you valuable skills in task prioritization and effective time management.


While working as a volunteer, unexpected events may arise, which may require modifying your agenda and plans. Being flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances is essential for efficient time management.


Additionally, volunteering often requires committing to a specific schedule, allowing you to hone your abilities in planning your activities and responsibilities effectively.




Punctuality skills demonstrate professionalism and respect. When you volunteer, you make a commitment to the organization, and arriving on time for your scheduled activities is crucial. Being late can have consequences, such as causing delays, overburdening other volunteers, or missing important tasks. Volunteering helps you cultivate accountability for everyone’s time. 


Commitment, awareness of consequences, and accountability are all valuable skills that make you an invaluable asset within any organization.




Volunteering offers an excellent opportunity to improve your organizational skills. Keeping up with changes in your role, ensuring preparedness with necessary materials, and effectively collaborating with a team all require you to be organized and proactive. In volunteer work, you may also need to manage resources like money or supplies, allowing you to develop skills in budgeting, forecasting, and efficient resource management. Depending on the nature of the volunteer work, you may need to juggle multiple tasks or projects concurrently. By learning to prioritize, delegate, and manage tasks, you can enhance your organization and efficiency. 


Goals and dates management


As you can see, these skills intertwine and form a powerful set. Volunteering can also foster skills in setting and achieving goals. For instance, in a teaching role, you may be tasked with completing a unit within a specific time frame, preparing you to establish specific, achievable, and time-bound objectives. Many volunteer organizations require progress reporting, allowing you to develop skills in taking responsibility for your work, meeting deadlines, and delivering on commitments. This is particularly valuable in objective-driven professions where effective goal management and meeting deadlines are highly regarded.


Leadership skills


Leadership, like any skill, can be cultivated, developed, and enhanced, and volunteering provides an excellent avenue to do so. Engaging in volunteer work can make you a more confident and adaptable individual, empowering you to take that step upwards. Moreover, when working within a team, you will often need to take  initiative, further honing your leadership abilities.


Gain self-confidence


Many volunteer organizations create a supportive environment that encourages learning, embracing mistakes, and personal growth, free from the fear of criticism. You are also likely to receive positive feedback from your peers, fellow volunteers, or the community you serve. Knowing that your efforts are making a difference can be a profound motivator and a source of self-esteem. Learning new skills, overcoming challenges, and contributing to positive change all lead to a sense of pride and accomplishment.

One of our volunteers leading an English class

Problems solving: Think smart = Smart Solutions


Volunteering inevitably presents challenges and obstacles along the way, making problem-solving skills invaluable. Facing adversity helps you develop the ability to come up with smart solutions under pressure.


Critical Thinking


As a volunteer, you may encounter situations that demand creative and analytical thinking. Being able to make informed decisions in critical moments without overthinking is truly a remarkable skill to possess. By nurturing these skills, you will become more effective and impactful in your work. 


Training and teaching


What other skills does volunteering give you? One of the most effective ways to learn how to teach or train others is by observing someone who is already skilled at it. Many organizations offer workshops to help volunteers develop their skills and you can take this opportunity to assimilate how it’s done.  Additionally, as projects progress, there is often a flow of volunteers coming and going. In such instances, you may actively participate in training newcomers on the essentials of the work. This hands-on involvement is an excellent way to foster your training and teaching capabilities.


Work ethics and Responsibility


Volunteering entails a significant level of responsibility that demands commitment and a strong work ethic. It involves being reliable, dependable, and accountable for your actions. By consistently showing up, completing tasks, and meeting deadlines, you can demonstrate a robust work ethic and build a reputation as a reliable and dedicated team member.




When you volunteer, you willingly devote your time and effort to support a project, often tackling challenging tasks such as working to address complex social, economic and political issues. Through your commitment, you showcase your willingness to take on difficult responsibilities and make a meaningful impact. Volunteering may require personal sacrifices, such as giving up your free time or financial resources.

Future employers will undoubtedly value your deep commitment to meaningful causes and recognize your belief in the importance of the work being done.




Volunteering can often involve working with limited resources, facing rejection to your ideas or facing unexpected obstacles. Perseverance can help you stay focused and motivated in the face of these challenges. Volunteering can also provide opportunities to learn from failure and setbacks. Perseverance will help you stay resilient and use these experiences as opportunities for growth and improvement.


What other soft skills can you gain by volunteering?

Well, what else can you gain from volunteering? Volunteering offers much more than meets the eye.


Creativity: The Sky’s the limit


Working as a volunteer will expose you to new experiences and diverse perspectives that can ignite your creativity. Working alongside people from different backgrounds and tackling new challenges can expand your horizons to find creative solutions to problems. Many volunteer organizations are dedicated to creating positive social change, often requiring out-of-the-box thinking.  Your creative ideas can contribute to finding new ways to achieve objectives. 


Creativity is of paramount importance in today’s world as it fuels innovation, problem-solving, and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape.




Compassion is a quality that can be cultivated through self-awareness, practice, and a genuine desire to connect with and support others. It involves being non-judgmental, accepting. This helps create a safe and supportive environment and promotes a sense of trust and respect, which is what compassionate leaders provide. They practice servant leadership, which is about prioritising the needs of their employees and organization above their own interests. They lead by example, fostering collaboration, innovation, and personal growth.


By cultivating compassion in your volunteer work, you can contribute to creating a positive and uplifting environment that your colleagues will certainly appreciate. And with time and experience, you will become a compassionate leader too!


Cultural competence 


Living and interacting with a different context or culture to the one you were raised in gives you  the opportunity to be exposed to an alternative way of life. This can help deepen your empathy, question your truths and foster adaptability towards others.


As volunteer teachers in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, we have to learn to read our students’ individual needs and with time we learn to tailor our approach in order to connect with them, which impacts their learning in a positive way. 

Welcome wall at one of the schools we teach in


How to apply your new volunteering skills in your daily life?

At this point of the article, you might be thinking, OK, fine, but… How do I apply these skills in my life? Let’s see!


Get out of your comfort zone


One way to apply all the skills learned from volunteering is by embracing new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone. Take on opportunities like delivering presentations at work, proving to yourself that you’ve truly developed these abilities. The sense of accomplishment will be immensely satisfying.


We have had volunteers leading music sessions in front of an audience or jumping into organising cultural events that turned into a brilliant way to connect and strengthen bonds within the community.


Try helping your family and friends


Extend your helping hand to family and friends in everyday life. Volunteering doesn’t have to be limited to formal organizations. You can utilize your skills at home by assisting your family with technical issues, planning meaningful activities together, or even providing guidance on subjects they find challenging. If you have expertise in crafting impressive CVs, offer your assistance to friends who may benefit from it. They will surely appreciate it! 


Collaboration holds immense importance at One, Two… Tree! as one of our core values. Our volunteers not only assist one another but also actively seek opportunities to collaborate within the local community. This spirit of collaboration extends both ways, as many of our students generously volunteer and contribute in various ways, such as organizing outings or sharing their expertise in skills like playing musical instruments, drawing, playing chess and many more!


Teach your family and friends about volunteering


Inspire your loved ones by sharing your enthusiasm and personal experiences as a volunteer. Encourage them to explore volunteering opportunities and reassure them that they don’t need special skills for volunteering to make a difference. Help them find local organizations where they can contribute their time and talents. Additionally, consider organizing a day of volunteering together, such as participating in a local clean-up project. By involving your family and friends, you can ignite their passion for volunteering and create meaningful experiences together.


Many of the volunteers we receive have heard about us by word of mouth. Do spread the word about your favourite volunteer opportunities!




What are the 5 core values of a volunteer?


According to the United Nations the 5 core values of volunteerism are:

  1. Solidarity
  2. Reciprocity
  3. Mutual trust
  4. Belonging
  5. Empowerment


What does volunteering teach you about yourself?


Volunteering can be a transformative experience that teaches you a great deal about yourself. It can foster a greater sense of appreciation, gratitude and belonging. Working towards something bigger than yourself can be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery as you learn more about yourself, your values and what truly matters to you. What a journey!


Is volunteering considered work experience?


Sure thing! You can add it as professional experience on your resume. While volunteering you are committing to an organization and to delivering outputs while putting all your professionality at it. As we have seen, volunteering helps you develop a wide range of abilities in any professional context while you absorb the expertise of the organization you volunteer for. 


Volunteering is a great way to collaborate within our society, working together to make the world more equitable, fair and humane. We have seen what volunteering teaches you and the skills gained from volunteering . It is now your turn to find the right volunteering for you!