Do you find yourself happy with your job, yet wanting to get a little more out of what you do as an event planner? That is how I felt many years ago. Volunteering helped me to contribute to this industry in ways that I couldn’t imagine. Along the way I’ve gathered a wealth of friendships and business peers that will last a lifetime. It all didn’t happen overnight, but was a gradual process that started with me taking the first step and helping a friend.
There are many ways to volunteer, and many organizations to volunteer for. And no, it doesn’t have to be with a “event planning” organization. Your volunteer experience should reflect your passions. If you are wondering whether or not volunteering is right for you, here are a few benefits that I’ve experienced that might help persuade you to give it a try.
Closer to the cause
When you volunteer, you put yourself in a unique situation that you can obtain the inside view to what goes on in the organization. You’ll find yourself in conversations with key people that can make a difference, and that means you can always speak to what is important to you.
There is nothing like working towards a common cause with people that have your same interests at heart. I’ve been fortunate to experience this while on the Board of Directors with MPI Wisconsin Chapter. As you volunteer you automatically have a foundation for a relationship – all you have to do is nurture it.
For some professional organizations, networking is a very key factor into how they can grow their organization. What a better way to network, than to volunteer. You can find yourself close to others, and networking in a different way – networking through a common bond. Volunteering can put you in a networking advantage with some individuals that you would have found hard to connect with otherwise.
Show your value
When you are volunteering, you basically are working without pay. However, you are still working. Other members will look and observe the manner in which you work and how you interact with them. Sometimes this is a good thing and a bad thing – so be careful! If you represent yourself well, then others will respect you and the work that you do.
The Voice (Take it to the Board)
You can always take things a step further and apply to be on a board position. Being on the board will increase your professional visibility, and also provide you with a seat at the table for all topics of conversation in the organization.
When you volunteer you are able to contribute to a purpose. A way to give back to an industry or cause that has done so much for them. A way to be part of an increasing issue or concern, and be part of the resolution. Volunteering gives you purpose, and for some that is better than anything.
It just feels good
It feels good to volunteer. You meet new people, gain friendships, business prospects, and even increased visibility – what a better way to feel good about yourself!
So, have you volunteered before? What were some of the benefits that you received from doing so? We would like to hear from you in the comments below!
Photo credit: Happy Volunteer by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire via Flickr