“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.”
United Way believes that volunteers are the backbone of our community. Many of our best moments have been inspired by citizens coming together for a few hours to ensure vital needs are met. From packing meal kits and cleaning up the community to events like Kickoff to Caring, where we packed backpacks to help prepare students for school, volunteers show that an hour or two of time can make an enormous difference in how we #LiveUnited.
There are, however, many ways to get involved and make a difference. Some volunteers find a more profound sense of meaning and purpose by joining a board or committee.
Learn more about an organization and help drive decisions that benefit the community.
Even though you may give to an organization regularly, follow them on social media or even have a relationship with staff, it is difficult to truly understand the day-to-day operations and the work that staff does in the community.
By increasing your involvement, you can gain a greater appreciation for what these folks are doing in the community and help influence decisions made by leadership that better address the needs of the people being served by that organization.
2. Use your skills to fill gaps and support organizational capacity.
Historically, nonprofits tend to be understaffed and experience high turnover (estimated to be around 19%) compared to other industries. This means that organizations often struggle to find and maintain staff with skill sets and time (i.e., capacity) to achieve their best work. A lot of skilled workers can be critical as nonprofit volunteers.
If you are an individual with a sales background, you can lend your skills to helping staff build connections and raise money for their organization. Writers, designers, and web developers can help save time and costs by contributing to brochures and promotional materials. Event planners and labor workers are often critical members of fundraising event teams. There are various skills that can be used to help nonprofit organizations be more effective and impact greater change within their communities
3. Develop leadership skills
You can grow in many different ways that will undoubtedly carry over into other aspects of your life. The new skills and experiences one can gain when volunteering with a nonprofit can build resumes and better prepare for the next career step.
4. Grow your network and expose your network to causes you care about
Serving on a board can help grow professional networks and create relationships with people involved throughout the community. When you volunteer with a nonprofit, the folks you meet can help expose you to a whole new world of experiences. This individual could serve as a mentor and help you grow personally and professionally or connect you to more opportunities.
Similarly, when you volunteer time based on causes you care about, it is a great way to introduce your family, friends, and colleagues to organizations that share your values. Nonprofits rely on volunteers and word of mouth to share the fantastic stories inherent to their work. You can be a vital part of bringing new awareness to issues that make our communities places where all may thrive.
United Way of Greater Toledo is fortunate to have community leaders who give their time, talent and treasure on our various boards and committees. We truly would not be able to unite the caring power of people to improve lives without their help. We encourage you to reach out to an organization you support and see how you can help them do more for the community.