Sunday, January 24, 2010

Volunteering until your ship comes in! by Patty DeDominic

Waiting for your Ship to Come in?

Don't just sit there in the shore watching the skyline..... you've got to launch ships in order to get a return!     Try volunteering as a great way to cultivate connections and get your career sailing again.

Mrs. Fields did it......

Barak Obama did it.....

Patty DeDominic still does it and it never fails.....   that's giving people a chance to get to know you by volunteering.   In Mrs. Field's case the story goes that she sampled her wonderful tasting and smelling cookies and people just got hooked.     President Obama, no stranger to campaigning, worked on several campaigns and helped build a number of important not for profit organizations and waited "patiently on standby" to learn if he would be invited to speak  (for free) at the Democratic National Convention years ago.

Just this week we have referred two fabulous interns and volunteers out to others for paying work!   Why wouldn't we?  We have already had a chance to get "free samples" of the skills, attitude and work ethic of some great people because of our community involvement.

Can volunteering suck up a lot of time with no payoff?   Well, yes, you will need to carefully share yourself on causes you are passionate about and work to be strategic about where you volunteer your time.   If you focus on skill and network building and sharing your passions and gifts the this is where you will have the best leverage for future work.      You will want to craft your messaging.    It is OK to tell people that you are volunteering right now to keep your skills strong and fresh and to meet new people to generate job offers.    Not all organizations will help you get a new job....but many will and you can taylor how you spend your time to the ones which seem to have the most likely connections for yourself.

Seek mentors in the workplace...and at the places you volunteers.   People love to help winners and those who give of their time and treasure and their talents are usually viewed as real winners.
Let your mentor know what your next job goals are desired introductions are.  When you let people know, it is like sending out your ships!  If you don't send out any ships... it is going to be hard for your "ship to come in".

Volunteers of America,     can help you find the right opportunities for yourself if you don't already "work" at your local favorite charity or organization.

Here's what they say about Why people volunteer:

Beside the fact that more and more Americans are being drawn to community service in response to our President’s call to action, people inherently unite in times of real need―especially when we share a common struggle. The financial crisis in the fall of 2008 hit our country hard, resulting in a disastrous housing market, thousands of lost jobs and the closing of many businesses. This turn of events had grave impact on so many, and yet Americans still pulled together to find a way to help each other―through volunteerism.

How Do We Know This?

As a 113-year-old human service organization that offers volunteer opportunities through thousands of programs, Volunteers of America helps more than 2 million people in over 400 communities in 44 states. Through our ministry of service, we support and empower America’s most vulnerable groups. And although the concept of volunteering is not unique to Volunteers of America, it has had dramatic ties to the roots of our organization. Last year alone, more than 70,000 volunteers sought to serve their fellow Americans through both episodic and long-term community engagement with Volunteers of America.

Consider investing in yourself.... with    Volunteers of America  

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