As a writer, a sole proprietor of a business communications company I need to know where my time goes. It isn’t all spent staring out the window looking for inspiration for a catchy phrase for a subject line of an e-newsletter. Sometimes I need to take a hard look at how I spend my time and re-focus on activities that are productive. You may say, define productive. Can you measure the results of the time you spend doing volunteer work?
Expectations of volunteering
Do you simply compare the time spent to the rewards achieved? Remember what Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted. And not everything that can be counted, counts.”
What are your expectations of volunteer activities? Are you looking for business, personal enrichment, knowledge, social interaction, recognition, work experience?
Do you want to share knowledge, help others, promote a good cause, nurture other businesses, give back to your community, raise funds for a charity, enrich your spiritual life?
Volunteers are the critical core of success of many organizations. Putting a dollar value on volunteer activities takes away the real meaning. Motivated volunteers hold our community together and allow useful organizations to exist and continue to provide useful services.
Where do you volunteer?
I do most of my work in my office, by myself, as I try to create content for websites and newsletters. When a volunteer activity comes up, I usually jump at the chance to get out of my office and I cherish the opportunity to talk to people face to face.
As a volunteer ambassador with the Brampton Board of Trade I can help businesses make connections with each other at After Hours Events. My principle has always been to give. Many years ago when I started my first business, I found that other business owners provided me with helpful advice and connections. I hope I can do the same as an ambassador. It’s not about selling my business services it’s about helping others make connections.
Since the early or mid 1990s I have been a member of HPCA (the Halton Peel Communications Association.) For this past year I have been on the 5-person executive serving as the Meeting Coordinator. My job is to organize monthly events with speakers or activities that provide professional development for a group of sole proprietors who are writers, editors, podcasters, videographers, PR professionals, photographers, graphic designers and web developers.
HPCA is such a friendly group of talented people. The members are an endless source of information and help. The time commitment is insignificant when compared to what this group gives back in knowledge, collaboration, and camaraderie. In the course of conversations with other board members, I pick up all sorts of helpful information on the latest tools and technology and strategies to handle this ever-changing world of communication.
In addition to these business-related volunteer contributions, I spend a similar amount of time on church committees and activities. This deep commitment is a very personal one that brings me satisfaction because I feel I am helping where I can. All I have, (and that is GREAT deal) comes from God above, and I am committed to giving back as best I can.
I still do have time to run my business and my household. Sometimes it is hard to keep a proper balance and I force myself to make tough choices. In a volunteer context, the old phrase, “many hands make light work” holds true.
It’s my hope that more business owners would step up and volunteer when a need is expressed. If you are like me, by volunteering, you’ll uncover talents that you have not yet allowed yourself to exercise. You’ll have fun, you’ll laugh and yes, sometimes you’ll cry. You’ll meet new and inspiring people. You’ll experience a sense of accomplishment that cannot be measured and cannot be evaluated with price tag.