You have said it to yourself many times: I should volunteer! Well, what’s stopping you?
Sure volunteering is a great thing, but as busy students and young professionals, you may think that you don’t have enough free time to devote yourself to volunteering. However, volunteering is important. In addition to having a positive impact on communities and individuals, giving back and helping others creates a sense of accomplishment and can lead to a healthy, happy lifestyle. So maybe, you should volunteer.
What I have found to be the key to being a successful and sustainable volunteer is to find something that you truly care and are passionate about. It may sound simple, but not everyone does it. Being passionate about something is more than finding a quick event that you can add to the resume; it is personally believing in a cause and the impact that it can have.
So what are you passionate about? You can ask yourself – What do I want to see change? What do I find unfair? What do I do and appreciate in my free time? Where do I spend most of my time, and how can I improve that?
The last question can be a big one. People obviously spend so much time at work, and for the exception of those who really dislike their job, care about what they do and want to improve it. The marketing and communications field is certainly no different. Professionals in this field dedicate so much of themselves to this industry and work, that improving it is something that they can truly believe in.
In Minneapolis, we have found something that we are passionate about in this industry and want to see change – the lack of diversity. I work for The BrandLab, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit in the marketing and communications field that is working towards just that: a more diverse industry that thrives on the insights and creativity of all. At The BrandLab, one of the biggest reasons that we have had such success is because of our incredible community of volunteers. These volunteers are all busy professionals who always find time to come together and work towards this end goal. Because they work in the industry and see the disparities before their eyes, dedicating time and energy to improve it is not a chore, it’s something that they care about deep down. Seeing this has reinforced my belief that if you truly care about something and are passionate about it, great things can be accomplished no matter how busy you are. It becomes a part of your life.
Continue to question, what do I care about and what do I would like to see change? You may just find that it doesn’t feel like “volunteering” at all.
Ken Lawrence is the Connect Director at The BrandLab in Minneapolis, MN. Before The BrandLab, Ken was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa, where he trained entrepreneurs and consulted small business start-ups.