December 10, 2015
If you’re like me, you generally think of yourself as a good person and would really like to give back and do good in the world. You may also think, “I would volunteer, but I’m a busy marketing executive; I need to use my time and energy to grow my business.”
Here’s some good news. Volunteering can actually help you grow your business. I know; it sounds counterintuitive. But there are many professional benefits to volunteering in addition to just feeling good that you should consider.
1. Volunteering provides opportunities to network.
Consider volunteering as a team. Our team here at BrandTuitive likes to take a break from branding and advertising from time to time to volunteer as a team. It gives us a chance to socialize with each other outside of work, and it feels great to do. According to Employee Volunteering, community-based team building events have a proven track record of developing team cohesion, staff morale and motivation while making a substantial contribution within the community. Better yet, it’s free!
2. Volunteering bonds teams.
Consider volunteering as a team. We like to take a break from branding and advertising from time to time to volunteer as a team. It gives us a chance to socialize with each other outside of work, and it feels great to do. According to Employee Volunteering, community-based team building events have a proven track record of developing team cohesion, staff morale and motivation while making a substantial contribution within the community. Better yet, it’s free!
3. Volunteering exercises the other side of your brain.
Many volunteer opportunities simply let you change gears for a little while. If you use your brain all day for work, try rolling up your sleeves to help build a house or clean a park. Giving your mind some time off will let it recharge and probably open up your creativity.
4. Volunteering gives perspective.
Business development can be a rollercoaster ride. Volunteering can give some perspective. Imagine how hard it would be to stay in a “poor me” rut when you’re volunteering at a soup kitchen or doing something to help kids with a life-threatening illness. Realizing how fortunate you are could be what it takes to push through a rough patch and get reenergized to make some new business phone calls.
5. Volunteering makes you healthier.
According to Harvard Health Publications, studies indicate that people who volunteer their time are rewarded with lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan. Doesn’t it make sense then that marketers who volunteer will be more successful because they are healthier, having more energy to devote to growing the business? Volunteering just a few hours per month might actually help generate more productive (and billable) hours than not volunteering. Totally counterintuitive, but it makes sense!
How to get started
There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations that would benefit from your or your team’s unique contribution. First, think about the types of things that move and inspire you. Here’s a list of general categories to get you thinking. Maybe you’re passionate about:
- Fighting hunger
- Finding a cure for a disease
- Helping the elderly
- Supporting children
- Reading to others
- Advocating for environmental issues
- Protecting animals
- Addressing community issues
- Supporting the arts
Once you find a category that inspires you, do a Google search for volunteer opportunities or browse Volunteer Match. They help match volunteers with opportunities. Charity Navigator is also a great resource to check out non-profit organizations. They supply detailed information about how well the organization is run and is easy to explore. For bonus points, conduct a quick fundraiser in the office for the charity you’re going to volunteer with and take the funds with you!
Muhammad Ali is quoted as saying, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Volunteering your time is a great way to “pay” that rent, but it also provides benefits that can potentially help build your business. So go ahead, be selfish – volunteer.