There is always a surge in community spirit and giving around the holiday season, but having community presence year round can have a huge, and incredibly positive impact, in one’s personal AND professional life.

According to a recent survey, 37% (or nearly 4 out of 10) of Canadian professionals say they volunteer outside of work, and they do so for various reasons.

58% of these people stated that their philanthropic activities improve their sense of well-being and effectiveness at the office; 48% said they develop new skills: 47% do so to expand their network; and 14% said it enhances their company's visibility.

And yes…age and gender do come into play. Women were slightly more likely to volunteer than men (38% vs 35%) - and those 55 years of age and older were more likely to give of their free time (a resounding 47%) - than colleagues between the ages of 35-54 (39%), and those between the ages of 18-34 (30%).

Infographic courtesy of Robert Half Canada


"Giving your time to help make someone else's life a little easier is a powerful way to engage with your community. Not only does it inspire change and possibility for those you help, it allows you to cultivate a broader network as well as skillsets that can impact your own direction and growth, personally or professionally," said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations.

"Doing good makes people feel good," added Scileppi. "Companies shouldn't underestimate the positive impact workplace volunteer programs can have on their employees and their business, such as boosting internal morale and encouraging a shared commitment to reciprocal goals that go beyond the bottom line."

Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, the overwhelming majority of successful people have become successful because they worked their ass off. Long hours, hard decisions, wins, losses, setbacks, leaps forward…all part of the road to success. Giving back to the community, for many, is simply a way to “Thank you for your support!”.

You don’t have to wait until success knocks on your door, though. As mentioned above, volunteering can have a huge impact on a person’s career. It opens the doors to new opportunities; to meeting new people; and to discovering what, and engaging in on, the things that matter most in those communities. 

Want to begin volunteering, but don’t know where to start? Here are some tips:

  1. Find an organization in need. Search for organizations you care about in your community, and then contact them to see how they could use your help. Be sure to explain your particular skills and interests.

  2. Check with your employer. Many companies have ties to non—profit organizations or facilitate charitable activities. Other companies offer volunteer matching or grant programs for those employees who give their time.

  3. Invite your colleagues to join you. One person can make a big impact, but there could be power in numbers if your coworkers come, too.

  4. Look beyond the holidays. There are community service opportunities available throughout the year, such as park cleanups and exercising for a good cause.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Canada and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 440 workers employed at Canadian companies.