In a season of tricks and treats, I’m all about the treats. I love to give! It comes second nature to me and volunteering has always been a huge part of my life, both professionally and personally.
I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve been up to and some tips on getting started if you’d like to find a place to share your talents.
Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose, makes me feel great and ignites my passions, while taking me away from that day-to-day monotony of emails, calls, work, etc. I also get to spend time with people that aren’t in my regular business circle and meet folks from all different backgrounds and interests. The fact that none of these roles “pay me” is completely unimportant, because money is not the goal.
I’ve been a Rotarian with the Upper Main Line Rotary for five years and we just held our annual Okotberfest, in which we raised $28,000 to go into a foundation, which will go toward a deserving cause. Last year, we took $5,000 of what we netted and were able to turn it into $100,000 with matching contributions to bring clean water to Honduras. Amazing! I’m proud to serve as Treasurer of this organization, as well, and I have recently been asked to join the Finance Committee at the district level.
Every month, my club (Upper Main Line) does a service project with a local group, which can be anything from harvesting fruit and vegetables from local farms for the County wide food bank to making 15,000 meal kits made of rice, soy, a vitamin and spice packet, freeze-dried vegetables for Rise Against Hunger.
I’m also an ambassador for the Main Line Chamber of Commerce and this has truly helped me build my business by simply increasing awareness of who I am and what I do. Plus, I get to be involved in fantastic opportunities to give back, like a 5K race that the Chamber held recently to raise money for scholarships for local students who are EMTs and firefighters.
I’m also a part of the Beacon Membership Committee and have been asked to speak on accounting to a sub-group of this organization because of my work there and soon will be mentoring business owners because of a connection Beacon has with an innovation center called NextFab.
By volunteering, I’m giving back to my community, while also networking AND doing business development.
So, what can YOU volunteer?
If you are busy…(most of my team are moms and dads who need to work and bring in income, but also need the flexibility to be there for their children)
If you work in the corporate world and don’t want to use a vacation day…
Example: “Vanguard offers crew a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) day—a paid day off every year to help their communities in any way, at any time or place they’d like.”
Many businesses offer something like this, so simply ask! Or maybe get a policy like this started at your corporation.
If you aren’t sure what is reputable and what isn’t…
And one final tip…
Remember to always go through the proper channels to raise money for an existing organization. Using trademarked material could result in a lawsuit, even if your intentions were good ones.
If you aren’t sure where to start…
Volunteering isn’t just something I like to do; it’s something I NEED to do. It fulfills me and is part of what owning a business and being able to give back is all about.