4 Keys to a Successful and Fruitful Volunteer Experience
Horace Mann said, "Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves."
I love giving back and my favorite way of doing so is by volunteering.
This morning I sat down and actually counted the number of times I have volunteered for both charitable organizations and for-profit events during the last 18 years (boy, was that a big task). I tell you this not to impress you, but to impress upon you (my favorite Les Brown quote) that I was amazed when I came up with the grand total: 117 volunteer experiences.
With that many volunteer experiences under my belt, I have a tip or two to help you make the most of your volunteer experiences and serve your way to the top.
Before you go any further, ask yourself this question: “What is the ‘top’ for me?”
By answering that question, you will more easily figure out the service path to take.
SERVE WITHOUT EXPECTATION
I recently spent 11 days volunteering at several events that got me into direct contact with movie stars, millionaires and billionaires who are fast becoming my friends. I am building real relationships with them by serving them without expectation of anything in return. My intention is simply to be in their sphere of influence so I can become a better person by learning from them. I don’t want anything more than that.
WHY ARE YOU VOLUNTEERING?
When volunteering at an event, think about why you are volunteering and what you hope to gain from your experience.
I love volunteering, so the vast majority of my volunteer experience has been simply to serve others. When I serve, I feel like I get more out of the experience than I am giving.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME?
Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door to that certain person you want to meet, that person who can help you get ahead in life, that person who can give you that one golden nugget that will change your life. But you need to know what your desired outcome is before you can receive it.
My primary mission when volunteering is to serve; however, sometimes my desire is to gain a little from the event. It might be learning from the speakers, making a direct connection with the organizer, meeting the talent, interviewing people for my show. The list goes on.
What is YOUR desired outcome? Only you can make it happen.
BE INTENTIONAL, BUT DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE
I have heard volunteers say things like, “I didn’t get anything from volunteering at this event,” “I don’t feel appreciated,” “I didn’t meet who I wanted to meet.”
Here’s the deal. It is up to you to know what you want and then to be intentional about getting it. I can honestly say that every time I have volunteered I have taken away something of value, be it a good feeling of knowing I did something great or making that connection that I wanted. But my intention from the outset is what gave me my desired result, then I took the action to make it happen.
If you find yourself not getting your desired result, talk to the organizer. They are grateful that you are there and will assume everything is great unless you talk to them. If you want to meet a specific person, ask them to make an introduction. Remember, your life path is directed by you and your actions, not anyone else’s. If you aren’t getting what you want out of the experience, you have not taken the proper steps to make it happen.
I heard this saying recently and it certainly applies to this situation: “If you aren’t willing to lose, then you don’t deserve to gain.” If you are too scared to approach someone to get what you want, then you don’t deserve to have the gains from it.
Go into every volunteer opportunity with an objective so you are not disappointed at the end of the event. It's up to you to make the most of your volunteer experience.
LYNDA M WEST
Being a woman who grew up in an abusive environment and having been previously married to an abusive man, I know the feeling to not have a voice. As I began my journey to find my voice, I realized I always had one. Through the discovery of my voice, I noticed how much of an impact I made. Utilizing all of my personal development experiences, I want to help people become influencers and leaders in their field to make an even greater impact on those they serve.
Living Live helps you find YOUR voice. Our course of empowerment can enhance your skills to help reach your fullest potential in a short period of time. Living Live offers one-on-one engagement and provides exercises to help you achieve your mission in life. You will receive additional support through our Facebook Group community and together we will make an even greater impact on the world.