With lives full of career goals and personal commitments, many people talk about volunteering, but few actually take the time to seek out volunteer opportunities.
A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses, 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted. Volunteering and serving on committees and Boards of Directors can lead to new skill sets, new networking opportunities, and ultimately could lead to new opportunities, more money and fulfillment in your job and your life.
The trouble is often deciding which cause or causes you choose to align yourself with. For years, I’ve been the kind of person who supports a wide variety of causes. Since moving to Chicago, however, I’ve changed my tune a little. While I still love attending events for numerous nonprofits, I’ve personally decided to dedicate my time significantly to one organization. Recently, Twitter Husband has begun his search for a nonprofit to get involved with and we’ve had a number of conversations about how to choose organizations. Below are a few tips from Chicago Career Girl on finding the right organization for you:
- Make a list of the causes you’re most passionate about.
- What kind of impact do you hope to make? Local? National?
- How much time do you want to dedicate to an organization? Joining a Board of Directors may require 5-10 hours per week or more. Knowing how much time you want to put in will help you to find an organization with the right opportunity for you.
- Is the organization financially health? Check out Charities Review Council or Guidestar.org to learn more about the financial health of specific nonprofits.
- Finally, go to VolunteerMatch.com to search for volunteer opportunities and start communication with your potential organizations.
More than anything, take your time and examine the opportunities for their fit with you. Make sure your goals align with those of the organization, and take your time getting to know an organization before you jump in head first.
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.