Why should you volunteer? After all, who has the time in this busy world to take on one more responsibility? But before you think about volunteer as a time-draining activity with little benefit, check out these 20 reasons why volunteering for your professional association may be just what you do need to do.
Volunteering will help you …
1. Acquire new skills. Volunteering can teach you hard skills that you may not be getting at your day job, putting you on a path to a promotion or even a new career opportunity. Hint: share what skill you’re looking to learn so you can be matched to the right opportunity!
2. Hone your soft skills. Skills-based volunteering (Experteering is the word MovingWorlds uses) offers an opportunity to build leadership skills as you apply your skills to a new environment.
3. Build confidence. You can try new things under less pressure than might be present while on the job. In turn, you’ll take what you’ve learned back to your organization. Hint: volunteering also lets you shadow so you can “try on” new experiences.
4. Learn how to be a leader. Volunteering can start you on your journey towards leadership either in your association or in your career.
5. Deepen your understanding about your profession/industry. Hint: I wanted to learn more about future trends for associations, so I joined a foundation advisory board on foresight and learned tons!
6. Be inspired and inspire in return. You’ll be able to tap into vitality, experience and knowledge of other volunteers. Likewise, you can share your vitality, experience and knowledge with others.
7. Build your network. You can connect with people who can connect you to new experiences and maybe even that dream job.
8. Enhance your resume. Volunteer looks great on a job resume. A LinkedIn survey reported that 41% consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience of the professionals surveyed and 20% made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work experience.
9. Add credibility as a professional. Volunteering shows you have the energy and interest in continually learning and developing your skills.
10. Build your brand and/or business. You’ll gain exposure for your brand and gain accessibility to potential business opportunities. Hint: personal referral is the number one way we gain opportunity for the next job or next business deal!
11. Make a difference in your association’s mission. As you become more involved in your association, you’ll become an important voice and an advocate for your association’s mission.
12. Reduce stress. You heard right … being involved with your professional community can actually reduce your stress.
13. Build personal relationships which in turn boost happiness and wellbeing. Working together with people who share your passions often leads to lifetime friendships.
*Don’t believe us on the last 2? Check out 15 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering that will Inspire You and Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits.
14. Experience the joy of being needed. Volunteers are extremely valuable for associations – they are about 20-25% of any association’s workforce and they need their members’ expertise.
15. Have fun. When you’re with the right people, you can’t help but have a good time.
For the last five … Gain what’s missing in your job – Tips from past interviews with awesome volunteers:
16. “I felt I was working in a vacuum, and I really needed to reach out to a professional community where I could get ideas, bounce ideas off people, and stay abreast of what was going on in communications, technology and such.” Chris Carbone
17. “With all association involvement, people gain exposure to knowledge that they wouldn’t get in their insular job area. It adds vitality to the person who then transfers that vitality back to the organization,” Jim DeArmey
18. “For me, as it’s often said, I get as much out of it as I put into it. … There is a fair amount of karma because I’m learning constantly and finding ways to take from one thing and apply it to another … It keeps building upon itself. The more I do, the more I get out of it, and the more it helps me and others.” Davida Breier
19. “It is exciting and gratifying to help PRSA achieve its goal on the local level and their goal is advancing the profession and the professional. I’m honored to help do that at the local level.” Claudia Ciolfi
20. “My fortune has been to have wonderful mentors throughout my life and to be part of an industry that is trusted with preserving our past, renovating the present, and building the future. Being an active member of my trade association is the best way to contribute to this mission.” Jean Maisel
Bonus tip: “If you really care about your industry and you want things to happen that are positive, you have to devote some of your life and give back for those positive things to happen … Make the time, make the commitment, do it.” Don Boucher, Sr.
This list is part of our “Top 20” where we share 20 tips/ideas/resources as part of our 20th Anniversary! Check out what we’ve shared so far. Hope you enjoy!