Volunteer and learn new things!

Posted on May 24, 2017


volunteer and career
I am winding down my non-profit volunteer consulting project. I am sad to see it end. I was on a team of Harvard alumni who created a strategic marketing plan for a local non-profit.  I really enjoyed my team mates and I just love the client. I did this work because I wanted to give back to the community. We all are blessed with certain talents and I feel it is important to make full use of these talents.

Not only did I help a worthy cause, but I gained so much in the process as well. I practiced some old skills and learned lots of new ones too!

Here are the skills that I used:

* Client management. I so love working with clients to help solve their business problems. I love listening to them and helping them formulate what needs to be done. It was fun and challenging to keep in mind that for non-profits, it’s not just about the revenue, but their mission is equally important. As an MBA, it’s hard to reconcile the two sometimes.

* Learning new things. It’s always fun to apply your brainpower to a new challenge.

* Presentation skills. There is nothing like giving a presentation, only to find out your PowerPoint slides are the wrong version. I’ve learned that I need to know my stuff backwards and forwards and not to rely on the slides. And to practice, practice and practice some more! Like most people, I dread standing up in front of people and talking. As they say, practice makes perfect. Or at least, makes it better.

* Teamwork. It is especially challenging to work with a team of volunteers. Even though we were all committed to the client and their mission, life can get in the way. I needed to be prepared to pick up the slack when a fellow team member couldn’t do their assigned tasks. And I needed to do this with a smile on my face. After all, they stepped up to help me in December after I had foot surgery.

* Negotiation.  It takes a lot of finesse to convince a client that doing marketing a different way than they are used to will create better results.

* Communication. My motto for the client is “no surprises.”  We kept the client informed at each stage of the project.

* Confidence. I am not working full-time right now and this can wreck havoc on my ego.  Doing volunteer work like this is great for my mind and my spirit.

* Real work with real results. I can proudly add this project to my resume.

I can’t wait until next September, when a new consulting project starts.

What about you? Do you do any volunteer work?