Volunteering is something people should do for multiple reasons, including the actual giving to charity, and the internal realization that you cannot get paid for everything you do in life. Making money isn’t the only way to create value for yourself or others! Volunteering ties closely to leadership.
An entrepreneur is not an entrepreneur until that person has risked everything. You aren’t ready to be a leader until you’ve given yourself completely. Until you have volunteered–either your time, your energy, your money, or whatever it takes–then you really aren’t extending yourself. That becomes part of the leadership journey, and it certainly has been a big part of mine.
If someone asks you to do something for free, do it. Be the person who says ‘yes.’ Offer your services for free. Eventually you will have the reputation and clout to charge for it because people will know you are worth it.
Also volunteer for humility. When you volunteer for an organization, it teaches you how to get over yourself and be among people who need help. Give beyond what you do and who you are. Give back to communities that need it – whatever that means to you.
Inhale what you exhale is the idea behind the Strategic HotBox. You get what you give. Learn more about weekly virtual coaching today!
Volunteering is an opportunity to gain needed experience. If there is a skill you want to improve, volunteer to do it. Start by identifying a community to which you want to give. It does not have to be based on tragedy or loss, it could be the hospital where you or your kids were born or perhaps a school. It might be something as simple as the school desperately needs paper. You can buy paper or you can organize a paper drive. We don’t know what is needed until we call.
Young leaders must develop an informed voice, and volunteering can provide that experience. There is nothing worse than for a young leader to make an uninformed claim that causes tenured executives to blow off anything they say. During my dissertation process, learning from more experienced people around you was heavily emphasized. Once you go through that, you respect the knowledge of other people. Do your research, then speak your mind with informed voice.
Finally, volunteering brings out love; it is a stress relief to help others. Reach out and make a difference in the lives of others.
Aid for AIDS of Nevada provides support and advocacy for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Southern Nevada. Antioco Carrillo, AFAN’s executive director, noted AFAN was founded in 1984, when many people were first learning about HIV and AIDS. The group has adapted with the times, in part thanks to volunteers who come to help and “refresh” the long-term volunteers.
Until you have volunteered–either your time, your energy, your money, or whatever it takes–then you really aren’t extending yourself.
“They come and tell you what is happening out there,” said Carrillo, who acknowledged many organizations might be resistant to change. “When a volunteer finishes an internship with us, I ask that person for feedback and suggestions.”
Carrillo advised others to ask their volunteers/interns how they perceive the company from the outside. “When you are inside an organization, you have the same perspective every day. The power of volunteering is enormous, and I recommend anyone volunteering at any level, in any field.”
Garrett Pattiani is the events director and manages major fundraising events for AFAN. Volunteers are needed long before an event happens, all through the planning stages. They also are needed at events to serve as helpers, and after events for breakdown and clean-up.
AFAN’s two biggest fundraising events are the AIDS Walk, which usually takes place in April, and the Black & White Party, which most recently was held in August 2016. Pattiani said the Black & White Party is the most-attended event. On the day of the party, he said volunteers are needed to take care of such tasks as checking in guests and handling the silent auction. “They are the backbone of the event itself,” he said.
Pattiani added that entertainers who are seen at Las Vegas Strip hotels volunteer their time and perform at the Black & White Party. “If you have a talent, whatever that talent might be, it is important to give that talent,” he said.
When it comes to leadership and volunteering, Pattiani explained, “When you surround yourself with people of a like mindset, it happens that those people want to lift you up. You are with caring, loving people, which is what brings you to the top.”
I firmly believe in building relationships with other leaders who are going after passionate things and building each other.
Carrillo chimed in, “Volunteers are there because they want to give an organization something for free. This is an opportunity for a business to cultivate and expand. The volunteers then become very surprised how far they can get. They begin to see their hidden leadership skills. The company then can empower the volunteers and shape their skills.”
Pattiani related the story of a client who was living in a bad situation, heard about AFAN, and soon became a significant part of the organization’s Mothers, Daughters, Sisters program. It gives women a chance to meet other women and connect on a level only women would know, such as what it means to be a mother who tests positive.
If you have a talent, whatever that talent might be, it is important to give that talent.
According to Carrillo, there is a general difference between males and females when they receive the diagnosis. He said males focus on how they need to proceed with their care. Women, on the other hand, think more about their relationships and how the disease might affect those they love.
“We saw a need to create a program for women to be together and share with each other the elements that make them unique,” said Carrillo.
Those who are interested in helping should visit www.AFANLV.org and look for volunteer opportunities, Carrillo said.