Subscribe to PSTV 'Views and News'

Our monthly 'PSTV Views and News' gives extra tidbits on guest interviews and upcoming guests..

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
25 2012

The VICTORious VOLUNTEER: Making or Breaking Your Career

Syndicated from: Suzanne F. Stevens

Volunteerism: the principle of relying on voluntary action (according to Oxford).   Volunteerism according to Suzanne F. Stevens: Giving your intelligence, insight, and time to a cause. A social phenomenon that provides opportunities to rub shoulders with diverse individuals with similar interests. Exposing yourself to learning new skills, industries, or perspectives. An opportunity to expand your horizons, your community, and your network of influence. A selfless act that demonstrates your commitment to giving and will bolster your professional image! Volunteering is… well, what you make it. I have the pleasure of working with several volunteers for a number of initiatives and it prompted me to think about the reasons people volunteer.   There are several reasons one may choose to donate their time: Develop a new skill Expand their Network Feel part of a community Heighten their profile Demonstrate leadership Add to their resume Pure altruistic reasons The one sentence that we hear often about working with volunteers is “remember, they are volunteers”. What does that really mean? I assume it means that because they are volunteers we cannot expect much from them. However, when I look at the variety of reasons why someone would choose to volunteer, most of them will impact the impression people will have on you or your organization as a result of your participation. I think anyone who puts his or her hand in to volunteer should be commended. However, I also think that if you are going to put your hand in, you really should consider why you are volunteering. What do you hope to gain from the experience? Have a clear objective in your mind when volunteering; it will assist in making several decisions on your time allotment. For example, when something else that you perceive more important is scheduled at the same time as your volunteering time, your decisions will be easier. Another consideration is how you conduct yourself in a volunteering environment. Many people volunteer to enhance their professional careers, while interacting with other volunteers in ways that may jeopardize their professional impression. Points to consider as a volunteer: Am I on time for the meetings? Do I actively contribute? Am I being open to others’ perspectives? Am I just offering advice or am I offering to implement (remember everyone else is also a volunteer too!) Do I continuously demonstrate respect for other volunteers? Do I see my task through to completion? Am I treating the opportunity as a casual commitment or professional contribution…(there is only one answer). One of the best pieces of advice I can provide to a volunteer is to treat the opportunity as if it was your client, and each volunteer is a decision-maker. This will ensure that we continue to respect the process and not take anyone’s role or the opportunity for granted. Consequently if you don’t consider the above volunteer considerations, you may actually be breaking your reputation not making it – result sabotaging the actual objectives of why you chose to volunteer in the first place. Keep in mind, if you make the commitment to your job and you get too busy, you wouldn’t just quit. Action: When volunteering, have a clear objective in mind on what you hope to receive in exchange for your time, insights, and actions. Communicate your level of commitment. Finally, treat the opportunity like a client; this will guide every interaction.

Previous post:

Next post: