Volunteering, over time, has transformed from leisure time community service into an effective tool in socially conscious professional networking. Whether you are a student, a newcomer to the town, or just a person looking for direction in your life, volunteering at a local non-profit organization is a fitting way to begin your pursuit. I have been volunteering at GiveTeens20® since March and during the course of time, I have come to know so many wonderful people who have given relevance to my search for a career fit (I am looking at you with gratitude, Kathy!). If you are on the wall about volunteering, this post might help you make the right decision. If you are already volunteering, it would help you reexamine your purpose at your non-profit organization. So why volunteer?
Know Your Community Better: As a recent transplant to the Bay Area, I have learned so much about communities and education from my short time at GT20. I learned of several thriving sub-communities around Fremont (Niles and Newark, for example) I was unaware of until a few months ago. As a part of an education-based non-profit, I also learned about the difficulties the schooling system in the bay faces and the measures that are being taken to address the shortcomings. I now have a different level of respect and appreciation for everything our teachers do to shape the students of our community.
Give Something Back to the Community: Did you know that as a volunteer, you have the power to strengthen so many aspects of your community? By working at the eldercare ward of your local hospital, you would be helping your community’s seniors. By taking up an after school mentoring program, you would be contributing towards the future of the youths. By taking that extra step, you would be contributing towards the development of your town, city and thus, the country!
Give Your Career Some Direction: It doesn’t matter whether you are fresh out of school or just taking a break to figure out a career change. Volunteering in a field that interests you and for an organization with a respectable cause significantly increase your chances of finding what lights you up! As a person who was fascinated by social media marketing, my time at GT20 has helped me research tools and ideas related to my field of interest. This has helped me make a considerable contribution towards improving GT20’s social media presence and improve the value of my resume. There really is nothing to beat the on-the-job knowledge volunteering offers!
Make Friends and Increase Your Network: If you take your volunteering seriously (well, not too seriously, of course!), it would improve your chances of networking with other professionals in your community. How, you ask me? Non-profits host or attend several events every month. Whether it is to raise funds or support other causes, an average non-profit organization sees at least one event a week. If you are an active member of your organization, you would get to attend several of these events and meet people from wide-ranging industries. In my opinion, there is nothing to beat that!
Finally, It is Good For You: Volunteering reduces stress. The shift in focus from your problems to something else would give a bigger and better meaning to your life. Nothing really beats that!!
Vaish is a Volunteer Social Media Strategist for GiveTeens20® and a Growth Hacking Consultant in the Technology industry. In her pass time, she likes to pretend she is reading just to get out of doing household chores!