How should young professionals go about giving back through nonprofit volunteerism?
We all know the old adage: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Although trite, the phrase rings true. Volunteering with a Philadelphia nonprofit is an avenue in which the Young Professionals Council (YPC) members can bring Philadelphia to new heights.
Since moving to Philadelphia over three years ago, I have involved myself with numerous nonprofits – everything from homelessness to charter schools (and many others in between). Below are a few strategies you can use to find the right nonprofit for you.
Determine what you want to achieve through volunteerism.
What is your “why?” This question is the cornerstone to nonprofit involvement. Are you looking to develop your fundraising skills? Are you looking to get involved in their programming? Do you want to volunteer on a regular basis at a local neighborhood location? No matter the reason, answering this question will help you reach your desired volunteering effect.
Select an organization whose mission aligns with your personal interests.
People say that something does not feel like work if you truly enjoy it. Finding a nonprofit whose mission and/or services are of interest to you make the volunteerism more rewarding for you. Moreover, you can put your passion to work in solving a community problem.
Offer to contribute through unique skills you possess.
Nonprofits always need in-kind services. These can range from legal services to carpentry to consulting. Nonprofit budgets are stretched to the extreme – contributing through in-kind services is a way to offset significant costs for organizations.
Join a board committee or group.
Depending upon the organization, nonprofit Boards of Directors often have committees such as Finance, Governance, or Fundraising. These committees are crucial to an organization’s existence. They are a perfect opportunity to “pull back the curtain” on nonprofit operations and enhance your skill set in a different functional area.
Spread the word.
Once you find the right nonprofit for you, get others involved! Coworkers, friends, and family members are prime examples. Nonprofits are facing stagnant funding sources and aging donor bases. They are looking for help in “filling the bench” from a fundraising and volunteer perspective. Tapping into your network is immensely helpful for nonprofits.
The Young Professionals Council’s Connect for Community Impact: A Volunteer Fair & Networking Event will be held in October. Try deploying these strategies in your conversation with each organization. Help us lift up the Philadelphia community – we look forward to seeing you there.