What one volunteer learned from her volunteer experience

Last week, I was chatting with a client’s communications chair about the chapter’s monthly e-letter. The last two weeks had been horrendous for her at work so the e-letter had been delayed. I offered my help and told her that if it was getting too much, please let us know. The last thing we want is for our volunteers to get too overwhelmed trying to juggle between volunteer duties and their day jobs. She, however, while appreciative of the flexibility, was determined to get it done.

I admire her resolve, but what’s more important here is that she also expressed her gratitude at having the opportunity to serve as managing editor for the e-letter because she has gained so much. She was already a great writer and editor, but in her words, managing the chapter e-letter has taught her about the intricacies of working with a committee, pulling the content together, and handling the tech-side of things (i.e., arranging the layout, using the email service, etc.). Now, with several months under her belt, she has the confidence to offer help with—maybe even take over—her organization’s newsletter.

Our conversation then led to how volunteering with an association is not just about the member helping the association; it’s also about the member’s personal experience as a volunteer. After all, volunteering often acts as great training ground for honing any skillset, especially when the volunteer willingly takes on unfamiliar tasks. In her case, by taking on the e-letter, she was able to take the time to learn while under less pressure than having done so while on the job. This, in turn, is an advantage for her organization because those same skills she obtained via her volunteer experience can now be transferred back to the organization, thus proving her membership fees as a great investment.

By the end of our conversation, her enthusiasm to continue as an active association member and volunteer was strengthened even more.  And what does the chapter get from this? A dedicated member and volunteer who is engaged and eager to keep learning.

A win all the way around.