Volunteering your time is a wonderful way to give back to your community and it can be the thing that helps your development. With so many companies offering paid volunteer hours to employees, it has never been easier to make a difference and expand your growth!
When I first moved to a new city for college, volunteering was an activity that helped me meet new people, grow my skills, and figure out what I am enthusiastic about. This was critical during this stage of life and continues to be important. Community organizations also benefit from the extra help and experience you bring. It can be a situation where everyone benefits both you and the organization.
As you seek out growth opportunities, consider adding a volunteer role to your schedule. You will have the opportunity to gain experience and valuable leadership skills. When you have practiced thinking and problem-solving in a variety of situations, future challenges will become easier.
After reading this post, you are going to know how to make the best of your volunteer experience and be able to spot ways to grow your skills at the same time.
Become a Dependable Volunteer
When I started volunteering, I engaged heavily with one organization and spent years there. I realized how important it is to a project to have volunteers consistently show up. Put your best foot forward by showing up and being ready to jump in and help where needed.
When I moved into the role of volunteer management, I realized how uncommon it is for others to consistently show up. When you show up, you are making an impact and are making the team work better. This will serve you well in community efforts and in the workplace.
I have always believed in creating development opportunities for dependable volunteers. This is how I grew my skills, and it is a terrific way to bring others up too. People who show dedication usually know their stuff and there are opportunities for growth for people who show initiative. If you have an interest in growing, show others that you are ready.
You are making a difference for your growth and for the organization every time you show up.
Use Volunteering to Make New Connections
Volunteering can help you get to know people in your community, especially if you are new to an area like I was! There will be many opportunities to collaborate with new people throughout your volunteer experience. Meeting people through this activity will make networking easier because you will instantly have a common interest to share. You will also be able to bond with others quickly because of all the opportunities to collaborate.
Making a connection with someone over a cause that you both value is a quick and effortless way to begin to get to know about them. Volunteers also tend to come from a variety of backgrounds so building connections in this area could be helpful for expanding your network.
Becoming involved with an organization and making valuable new connections can help you with future opportunities.
Build Your Skills Through Volunteering
Volunteering can help you grow and discover new interests. I have used volunteer opportunities to get out of my normal skillset and try something new and its had so many benefits. Because I am willing to do this, I have gained confidence to work on new challenges and I do not tend to have as many barriers anymore. You may get pressure from people to work on what you are already skilled at. I know I have! Use your judgement and make decisions that are a good fit for you.
My background is in finance but since I started volunteering, I have been able to build skills in the areas of volunteer management, curriculum development, fundraising, organizational assessments and more. None of this has to do with my current job but it could in the future. I would not have realized how much I love these other areas if I did not try.
You will begin to the gain confidence to reach higher in life when you get outside your comfort zone.
Volunteer to Land Future Opportunities
If you are looking to start or change your career path, volunteering could be a fantastic way to get the skills to do it.
Volunteering led me to my first real leadership opportunity and that eventually led to a paid job. If you are looking for opportunities, network with other volunteers and organization leaders to get wind of any open opportunities. Use volunteer opportunities to highlight your skills, growth mindset, problem solving abilities and your personality.
It is amazing how my volunteer experiences have been highlighted in professional job interviews. People really do enjoy hearing about your interests and getting to know more about how your passions can benefit their work.
Treat your volunteer opportunities as a job pathway and you will be able to utilize those opportunities to land future job prospects.
Volunteering is Worthwhile Experience
Volunteering is a worthwhile way to directly impact the community you live in. There is always work to be done and the more hands involved, the lighter the workload! You can make a major difference by showing up and being ready to get to work.
I hope you have also learned that you can also benefit from volunteering, and it is okay to do so. You can make valuable connections, build your skill set, and utilize everything you have learned to land future opportunities.
Now find a project that you are interested in and get to work!
What has been your best volunteering opportunity? Share with us below in the comments.