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Volunteering: What’s in it for You?

01 Apr 2022 6:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Volunteering: What’s in it for You?

There are hundreds of articles on the internet that will tell you the benefits of volunteering.  Many include numbered lists for why you should volunteer.  These are typically targeted towards physical labor volunteering or the kind that takes you overseas to some remote jungle location.  I thought I would give you my take on volunteering for a professional organization, what those benefits are, why I started, and why I’m still doing it.

Building Self-Esteem

I identify with this one.  Who doesn’t like to be thanked?  What about being thanked for something that seems really easy to you but is a big deal to someone else?  The types of tasks I perform for ATD are usually within my skillset. However, someone is always really grateful to receive assistance with the project.  Being helpful and using my skills feels good!

Moved by a Cause or Giving Back

Thank goodness for these folks!  There are those who feel that they were helped along the way by professionals in ATD or other professional organizations and they want to pay it forward.  Volunteering is a great way to do that.

Try out a New Skill or Leadership

Volunteering is the perfect place to attempt something new.  Maybe you are a software programmer, and you’d like to try project management.  Or you’d like to showcase your leadership skills but don’t have the opportunity in your current position.  These items will look great on your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Employers do notice!

Get out of Your Comfort Zone and Increase Social Skills

I have to admit this was me.  I didn’t want to volunteer, and I was intimidated by the people.  I started taking minutes at Board meetings and would barely make a sound.  Now I’m very knowledgeable about past processes and the bylaws.  You’ll be amazed by how little time It takes to become accustomed to a new role.  You weren’t comfortable driving a car the first time you tried it, were you?

Sense of Community and Networking

Sure, you can build community and network by just coming to meetings (in-person according to your comfort level).  This community-building works better and sticks if you volunteer.  When people work together toward a common goal, you develop a bond.  These are the people who will recommend you for a job or help you with your resume.  I’ve been recommended for jobs and helped and been helped with resumes and portfolios. These types of connections will build a community that you can call on in an emergency.

Job Prospects and Mentorship

I believe this is one of the more common reasons people even join ATD. That’s ok.  The sad part is that as soon as a job is found, they leave.  If you expect to find a mentor or someone who might be willing to give you a job at ATD, then shouldn’t you also want to be a mentor or someone who might give someone a job?  Volunteering as a mentor is a great way to volunteer.  Mentorship allows you to bond really well with one person and influence their life and career.

Volunteering is Good for the Community

Everyone benefits in a community when the volunteer pool is healthy.  At Greater Atlanta ATD, there are programs and initiatives in place to draw us together and help us work together.  We work with businesses, universities, and other philanthropic organizations.  All these connections make a stronger, healthier Atlanta.  Similarly, some are motivated by helping people and knowing they are making a difference for individuals.  ATD hosts programming to develop skill sets among all levels of learners. 

Enjoy the Work and Have Fun

Enjoy doing work for free?  Am I serious?  Yes, there are those out there who enjoy what they do so much that they will do it in their free time and donate to the common good.  I’m thinking of computer programmers who program and post free software on the internet for anyone to use.  They do it for the joy of figuring it out and making it work.  You should have fun at whatever volunteer work you choose.  The best volunteers find the most joy in what they are doing.

     Nora has been volunteering with the Greater Atlanta chapter of ATD since 2016. She believes everyone should volunteer if only to gain the knowledge of what it takes to provide the programming and services the chapter provides. It has been a wonderful and beneficial experience for Nora and she'd love to tell you more about it during one of her Volunteer Engagement calls.

 Chapter ChIP Code CH9047

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