Findings Friday | Doing Good is Good for You

August 09, 2013
| by Editor |

Confirming what many already intuitively believe to be true, UnitedHealth Group has released a study demonstrating the positive health benefits of volunteering.

Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study was published in June by UnitedHealth Group and the Optum Institute for Sustainable Health.

According to the report, volunteering is the perfect win-win scenario. You give time and effort to build capacity in your community, and, in return, you gain both physical and mental health benefits. Of people who reported volunteering in the last 12 months:

96% feel an enriched sense of purpose
95% believe they have enhanced their community
94% have improved moods
78% feel less stressed
25% say volunteering has helped them manage a chronic illness

Not only does volunteering help the emotional health of volunteers, but the health benefits translate to their professional career as well. This happens as volunteers cultivate teamwork (87% of respondents) and time-management (75%) skills, develop work-related expertise (75%) and build networks (71%).

“The business community, the health sector, individuals and families all have a stake in building a healthier future for our nation, and that begins with improving our communities’ health in ways that are sustainable and affordable,” said Dr. Carol Simon, Senior Vice President and Director of the Optum Institute.

UnitedHealth Group suggests that organizations implement policies that encourage volunteer activities among employees, promoting health and saving on health-related expenses for everyone in the long-run.

Read the full report.

Tommy Pearce is Communications Coordinator at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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