Volunteering | Why do it? What’s the benefit?

Volunteerism. Yes!Indulge me just a moment. I come from a long line of volunteers. My Mom was the PTA mom during elementary, middle, and high school. Sometimes she was at school more than me. I was even called by her name in my sixth grade math class. Now, maybe that’s because we actually do look alike, and maybe that’s because my teacher saw her at lunch that day, who knows? All I know is that my Mom volunteered because her mother volunteered at school.

I seem to have inherited that trait from my Mom and Grandmother. While I don’t have children, I find other ways to give of my time. In college, I found various student government boards to get involved on campus. I was even the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Cal State Fullerton.

Since graduating from college, I have given time to the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I served on the Orange County chapter board, and now serve on the Silicon Valley chapter board. This is where my volunteering really pays off.

IABC is one of the professional associations for communicators, and it has served me well. I can attribute almost every job I have held to my network, which has strong roots in IABC. So, why do I give my time?

I give to learn. There is no better way to learn than to do something new. I often will take on a new role to stretch my skills, and add to my resume.

I give to meet people. Some of the smartest people in your industry in your area will join professional associations. Use your involvement as a way to increase your network and add to your friends list.

I give to share my expertise. We all have something to share. A great place to do that is by networking at events, joining a board, and/or being a speaker.

I give to contribute to my profession. Communications has given me so much. It’s taught me to believe in myself, and to expand my horizons. It’s important to me to give something back to my community.

No matter where you give your time, how much and when, remember that you only get from an organization what you put into it. If you go to pay your dues to a professional association and wonder, why you send them your money each year, it may be time to evaluate what you gave to the organization.

It’s easy to get involved, go to an event, sponsor an event, take on a small volunteer role. Volunteer-run organizations will ALWAYS find something for you to do that fits with your skills and availability.

Volunteer! Join! Participate!
Share your favorite charity, non-profit, or professional association and how you give back below!


  1. Lovely about your mom and Grandma. Good for you following their lead. I am currently putting a lot of volunteer time in as co- president of http://www.sfpsf.com a food professionals group in San Francisco and couldn’t agree more about getting back what you put in. Everyone can find different ways to be involved, a lot or a little, and attending events counts too! My first boss told me that if he was going to be a member of a group, he’d attend the meetings no matter if it was a favorite topic or not. Yes– Volunteer! Join! Participate.

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