Help the community and your firm
Most of us have a charity or other worthy cause that we support. This lets us help others and in turn gives us a genuine feeling of sharing with those less fortunate than ourselves.
By serving as volunteers we're able to make a contribution that is perhaps even more important and meaningful than a financial one. We can apply our education, skills and talents and really help to improve conditions for all those with whom we share a community.
Every community has a number of non-profit organizations that are always glad to have people donate their time and energy, together with their professional expertise. And when you work side-by-side with other volunteers you'll often meet people that are going to be helpful to your business as well.
It's a form of networking in many ways. We meet people informally who get to know us and what we can do. Our visibility increases and so does our circle of acquaintances – and it's all because we're helping to make the world a better place.
If you've just moved into a new city you can make all sorts of contacts very quickly through volunteering. It's a great way to meet people and the work you do encourages friendships to develop.
Here are some ways you might go about choosing a non-profit organization to which you can make a donation of your own talents:
1. Assess your own interests. What kind of charitable activities are you already supporting and why? What would you like to improve in your community?
2. Identify those organizations involved in this field and contact them for more information about their operations. Review the information you receive carefully and see which seems to have the best 'fit' with your own aims and feelings.
3. Contact the organization or organizations with the greatest appeal and arrange to meet with a senior person to discuss how you might contribute your own expertise; be prepared to find that your own professional area might already be covered, but your talents and time could be beneficially applied in other ways.
You'll probably find that you get involved with committees – in other words, you aren't running the organization and decision making becomes a shared activity. Things won't always go your way, but you have to do your utmost regardless. It's all part of volunteer work and everyone you're serving with will know about it.
You may have a chance to choose a committee that's directly related to some other interest of yours – producing a monthly newsletter, for example, or organizing a charity concert. It's best to be a bit selective about committees so you can really get involved in the work you're doing.
Understand that volunteer work isn't easy. You have to do your best, often in challenging conditions with inadequate resources and short project deadlines. It does mean that you're able to put your best efforts on show and prove how good you are at meeting these challenges.
Volunteering is something we all can do. It's certainly something you should consider and it could lead to surprising new opportunities for your firm that would otherwise have never developed.
Source: Adapted from RAN ONE International Network*