Volunteering allows you to give back and be of service to others. And when you get involved with a cause you care about, it helps to give your life meaning. Besides the obvious benefit of helping a non-profit by donating your time and giving back, it also allows you to do a lot of personal development, acquire new skills, and grow relationships with newfound mentors or even find clients through referrals from your growing network of contributors.
Usually nonprofits or groups that rely on volunteers have limited resources to help achieve lofty goals or even operate. To be successful, you need to have an empowered group with a lot of autonomy to complete tasks with limited resources. Creativity and innovation are as important in non-profits as they are in startups. These groups are open to change and new ideas which leaves lots of room for contribution and growth. If you are a “doer” and want to make an impact for a cause of organization with a lot of autonomy, perhaps you should get involved with a nonprofit in a leadership role.
Nonprofits rely on the enthusiasm and energy invested into the cause by the volunteers. I was on a board that wanted younger members specifically for that reason. I figured it would be good practice to sit on one for my future. Being on the board and volunteering my time helped me gain credibility in the community, develop myself as a leader and hone new skills that would not have happened as early (chairing board meetings, lead committees for local chamber business awards etc).
Though it was never my intention, volunteering has always opened doors for me to develop skills and forge relationships that would serve me in the future. Whether it is the inspiring leader that works a million hours for the cause and doesn’t mind or the hidden mentor that you can bounce your goals and challenges off of, there are many innate benefits to volunteering that spring up as you go that help develop you as a professional or grow your business.
People respect others that volunteer and growing your network through being involved in nonprofits is a great way to find yourself getting referrals or opportunities that may not spring up otherwise unsuspectingly. When people know who you are in the community they will remember you as a contributor to the community and you may find yourself getting invited to lots of events and having good substance to add into your professional biography.