Volunteering - A Rewarding Way to Network


Sherry Knight is President of Dimension Eleven/Career Partners International - Regina, Saskatchewan

Do you volunteer? Sure you do - at home by helping out the family, the neighbours, etc. But do you volunteer in a business sense? There are many worthwhile organizations deserving of your time: Chilli for Children, The United Way, The Food Bank, The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, and many others.

It doesn't really matter where you volunteer, unless of course, you might be interested in moving to a new job, getting a job, or connecting with people to gather information. It takes time, it's true, but let me ask you this question - what else are you doing with your personal time? Most people are watching far too much TV, getting too much sleep or even working too much. So, decide where you might like to volunteer and contact them to see how you might be able to help them.
Imagine, you have joined a group to offer your services for free and you are attending your first meeting. This is your first chance to let them know your skills - what you can do for them.  As they get to know you, they realize your expertise (i.e. your skills) and they know how you get along with people (hopefully you have made a good first impression). Once this is accomplished, you can more confidently let these people know whether you are searching for a contact in an organization, looking for a new job or simply looking for a job.

  • What are you bringing? Perhaps an ability to:
  • Fundraise
  • Examine financials
  • Organize

These are simply initial thoughts you could use to examine what you have to offer. Connect with the organization you want to volunteer for and let them know what you can do to help them build their organization. And, if you connect and don't hear from them, keep at it - keep connecting until they ask you to be part of their volunteer group.

Remember, things today are done on networking - you need to be active in building your network and volunteering is one of those ways to network.

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