Too few of us are spending time building better communities. By investing a little bit of our energy in creating a better home for future generations and simply extending a helping hand to those in need, you’ll not only have a better community, you’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll make new contacts which will help you professionally.
Let’s be honest. What do you do when you go home at the end of the day? If you’re like most people, you plop down in front of the TV and burn the rest of your evening there. I volunteer to the tune of several thousand hours per year. How? I have no kids and my significant other is very understanding. You may not be able to volunteer at the same level I do but everyone can donate some time. Do it and it’ll pay off.
First of all, volunteering is an extremely rewarding experience. It shows people that you’re dedicated to making the world better and in the process, you may even find that you really do have a passion for helping! It makes you feel good. It makes your community look good. If you’re stuck in a rut, going through the motions of the same old routine day in and day out, it’ll change that for the better. You’ll get an emotional boost (there’s tons of research to back that up) and you’ll change up that boring routine. Break free of the doldrums and find a new passion in helping people.
Since you’re reading this blog, you’re probably handy. Find an organization that needs your skills and donate them. Habitat for Humanity is a great place to start for remodelers, builders and handymen. That organization builds houses for people in need. They can’t do it without the help of people like you. There are also organizations throughout the country that donate necessary improvements and repairs on the homes of people in need. You’ll be making a massive impact on someone’s life for just a few hours of your time and expertise. Build a wheelchair ramp, fix a senior citizen’s roof or install safety bars for a disabled person. Those people are very often on fixed incomes that leave no room for any unexpected expenses. A few hours of your time will make someones’s life dramatically better.
It’ll help you professionally too. Would you believe that I’ve gotten 5 job offers since I started volunteering three years ago? That happened because, whether you know it or not, business owners are always looking for high quality people. Human resources are, without a doubt, the biggest problem that businesses typically have. By volunteering, you’re showing yourself to be a good person and you’re demonstrating some of your skills. Someone that’s willing to help out and be a team player is a person that you want on your side. By volunteering and getting to know new people, you’ll automatically move way higher on the list of candidates for a new job opening. Imagine looking for a new employee. You’ve got a stack of faceless applications replete with inflated titles and responsibilities of the applicants and then you’ve got a guy who volunteers at a local non-profit. If the business owner knows your skills are a match for the job, you’re gonna be at the top of the list to interview. They know that you can work with teams, that your skills are a a fit and that you have a good attitude about work. It’s worth noting that within the organization that I volunteer for, most of the team has moved up professionally as a direct result of their involvement.
If you own your own business, volunteering will get you more work. You’ll be talking to fellow volunteers and people within the organization you’re helping. Your business will always come up in the course of normal conversation and it’ll be in an extremely positive way. Advertising is easily forgettable and can’t touch the brand equity you can develop by telling a few fellow volunteers about what you do. They’ll remember it, they’ll remember you being a good person and then, when they need whatever you offer, you’ll be first on their list to call.
So, take 10 minutes, find an organization that you believe in and call them up to see if they need volunteers. The answer is almost always yes. Make a commitment to help out at their next event and go do it. If you don’t like it, you don’t need to do it again. If you’re like most people I know though, it’ll feel really good and you’ll want to do it again. It’s just that first step, making the first phone call, that’s hard. Take that step now and you will not regret it.