However you look at it, bottom line is that you are working for free. When I started consistently volunteering 7 years ago, I was looking to give back. The best thing I had to offer at that time were consulting skills from an MBA perspective. So, I became a strategic planning pro bono consultant for arts organizations. As time went on, I broadened my client base and I noticed some changes in myself. I also noticed that I was becoming a recognized SME. My world continued to open up in unanticipated ways. Here are some unexpected benefits I experienced from giving my time.
1. I became a better stakeholder manager. Learning and understanding systems is valuable in any field. When you give your time, you learn how to manage stakeholders across entirely different industries. This learning can be broadly applied in both personal and professional situations.
2. I improved my patience and flexibility. I learned how to work with people on all different levels and with varying levels of experience. Many times, I was working in ambiguous situations and the answers could not be found on our team. I learned what moving at the speed of the organization meant and that some leaders are accustomed to moving faster than others.
3. I became a better leader. Not only was I was recognized as a leader and SME, but I was also able to lead others from all different backgrounds. This experience can be especially important for those that are not in a formal leadership role at work.
4. I broadened my network, made more friends, and became surrounded by positive, passionate energy. This was probably the most unexpected benefit! When I needed some benchmarking data or information on a local initiative, I had so many people to call. Positivity is contagious! Being around and perpetuating passionate energy had a positive effect on my entire life.
Category: Personal Branding