LinkedIn & Volunteering: Celebrating National Volunteer Month

Volunteering Witeboard

April is National Volunteer Month. Did you know that there is an intersection between volunteering and your career that you can display on LinkedIn?

This week, I decided to interview a subject matter expert on the topic of volunteering. Meridian Swift started her first volunteer manager job in 1995 “because she was nice.”

A decade later, she earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA) and won several awards for her volunteer programs.

Also, she has presented workshops on volunteering at both the state and national levels.

Meridian is a blogger, a podcaster, and an author of two books: The Volunteer Shelf Life and The Disruptive Volunteer Manager.

She also has a Pinterest Board, a Flipboard, and a Youtube Channel as well as other social media channels.

Meridian noted that “volunteer management is about coaching and mentoring.” This also applies to students who are interning at companies or organizations.

QUESTION: Are there some different categories of volunteers?

ANSWER: Yes, there a few basic categories of volunteers:

  • Transitioning volunteers
  • Student volunteers
  • Displaced workers (laid off)
  • Visa volunteers
  • Interns
  • Community service volunteers
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

QUESTION: What are some benefits of volunteering?

ANSWER: Volunteering can enhance a resume, it can be something you talk about, you can match your skills to company values, and you can engage to create impact.

  • For enhancing a resume, you can provide a wow factor, according to Forbes. You can provide a summary of what you learned, as well as describe the hard and soft skills you utilized.
  • When you are passionate about something, you can easily talk about it and exude your enthusiasm which leads to storytelling.
  • When volunteering, you can either match your expertise fulfilling a need for the company or you can enhance your skills by having a purpose and mission of what is important to you.
  • When you engage as a volunteer to generate impact,  you create your own ROI and can provide testimonials as well as statistics for the organization.

QUESTION: Is it true that volunteering can build leadership skills?

ANSWER: Volunteering absolutely builds leaders and here are some quotes from Choose901.

  • “80% of recruiters agree: employers who are active volunteers move into leadership roles at the company more easily, and move up a lot quicker.”
  • “Employee volunteering creates authentic experiences at work for developing self-awareness, empathy, and motivation.”
  • “Employee volunteering creates authentic experiences ay work for developing self-awareness, empathy, and motivation.”
  • “A recent study on workplace volunteering by Deloitte found the company-sponsored volunteer programs give big boosts to company morale and productivity. According to this study, 89% of employees think companies with these programs offer a more desirable working environment and culture. 75% said that volunteering was essential to their sense of well-being.”

QUESTION: What do volunteer coordinators expect of volunteers?

ANSWER: Volunteer coordinators are looking for individuals who are sincere, willing to learn about the mission and organizations’ goals, and that the organization is not being played or used.

QUESTION: What can individuals include on their resume or LinkedIn profile?

ANSWER: Volunteers can share what they learned, experiences they had, how they changed, gained new skills, and more.

QUESTION: What are some resources where an individual can find places to volunteer?

ANSWER: Several places include, but are not limited to Catchafire, Volunteer Match, your local United Way, sometimes chambers of commerce. Look up websites.

As an Executive Director of a 501(c)3 career education nonprofit, we run a networking meeting every third Thursday of the month from 9-11 AM for people who have an interest in nonprofit careers or want to serve on a Board of Directors or as a volunteer, etc.

We come together and learn and network and share resources and ideas under our chapter called, Nonprofit Career Network (NCN), which is run by three volunteer chapter leaders.

Matt Hugg, one of the chapter leaders, runs where you will find a plethora of resources.

Matt noted that a man by the name of Herman Schneider, while at Lehigh University, was seeking opportunities for students to have technical work experiences. His efforts became the start of co-operative education (co-op) around 1906, where students got to learn in real-world experiences.

Universities like Drexel, Waterloo, Northeastern, Cincinnati, and more around the world now have co-op work-study programs and this might also be considered another form of volunteering.

Nonetheless, your health is improved by volunteering, according to Christine Carter, Ph.D., and author of Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. She notes the following:

“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”

If you are inspired to know more about volunteering, I highly recommend this timeless book called the Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea.

If you want to volunteer at the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group to help people land jobs, advance in their career, or brand themselves for their business, we would be delighted to provide you with an opportunity to help pay it forward. Here is the link on our website.

You can add this volunteer work to your LinkedIn profile either in the volunteer section or even as a work experience. That would help fill any gaps for job seekers if they are currently not working.

By including the work experience opportunity on your LinkedIn profile, you can get the company logo if the organization has created a company page.

For more information about LinkedIn and nonprofits, read more here and here.

Missed the previous article on “LinkedIn and Neurodiversity Hiring: Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month?” Click here.

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