By Rhonda Campbell
Volunteer smart to add positive strength to the neighborhood and community that you live in. By volunteering smart, you can also connect your business to the community. Do this and your business may become known as a socially responsible company.
Benefits of being a socially responsible company include:
- Attracting skilled workers to fill open positions
- Growing media relationships
- Strong branding opportunities
Finding Volunteer Needs
Volunteers of America, United Way, Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers / Big Sisters are nationally known charities that you can volunteer with. Local chambers of commerce and city commissioner offices may list local charities. They may also publish upcoming volunteer events that you can participate in.
Neighbor to Nation, Charity Watch and Charity Navigator list more charities. A good thing about Charity Watch and Charity Navigator is that these organizations rank charities. Charity Navigator even list fake charities.
Similar to how you research a company before you start working for the firm or buying the company’s products, research charities that you’re thinking about volunteering with. Volunteer smart. After all, some charities only exist to make their founders rich.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
Don’t take on too much, after you choose a charity to volunteer locally or to volunteer abroad with. Try to work with charities that have talented teams in place. This way, you can avoid being tempted to serve as administrative assistant, public relations manager, social media marketer and event organizer.
This single factor is what gets many people in trouble when it comes to volunteering. When you volunteer smart, you know that the work you’re doing matters. You know that the work you’re doing may have a powerful, positive impact on a person’s (or an entire family’s) life. You also steer clear of burdening yourself.
A good way to avoid taking on too much is to identify in advance how much time you’ll volunteer. For example, you may decide to volunteer an hour a week or an hour a month. You might also volunteer smart by volunteering with a team. Large corporations do this throughout the year. It keeps people from taking on too much and feeling burned out. Next, get ready for branding.
Build volunteering into your brand. Send out a press release days prior to charity events that you’ll attend. Follow up with another press release after the event ends, spotlighting special ways that you connected with other event attendees. Empower press releases with event photos.
Add these press releases, pictures and thoughts about the event to your company’s social media pages. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or if you employ a team of contractors, freelancers or traditional employees.
Get the word out about the socially responsible work that you’re doing. Encourage your team members to give back. Track the results of your work. For example, as you continue to volunteer smart, you could ask charities that you volunteer with to send you a list of local, regional, national and international organizations that they donated funds to.
Top charities track how their funds are being used and the results of those efforts. If you work with charities that raise money for school book bags. Find out how many schools and students received book bags. Volunteer smart. Help to keep charities honest. Give back and be socially responsible.