Volunteer and Become Visible

One of the first steps toward networking your business is to become more visible in the community. Remember that people need to know you, like you and trust you in order to refer you. Volunteering can position you to meet key people in your community. It connects you with people who share your passion. It gives you opportunities to demonstrate your talents, skills and integrity, as well as your ability to follow up and do what you say you are going to do. It instantly expands the depth and breadth of your network.

People who volunteer demonstrate their commitment to a cause without concern for personal gain. Thus, you should be volunteering with organizations or causes for which you hold genuine interest and concern. If administrators or other volunteers perceive that you are in it primarily for your own gain, your visibility will work against you, and you will undermine your own goals.

Volunteering is not a recreational activity; it’s a serious commitment to help fulfill a need. To find an organization or cause that aligns with your interests, you need to approach volunteerism with a healthy level of thought and strategy.

Start by asking yourself the nine questions below.

1. What do you enjoy doing for yourself in your spare time?

2. What hobbies do you enjoy?

3. What sports do you know well enough to teach?

4. What brings you joy and satisfaction?

5. What social, political or health issue are you passionate about because it relates to you, your family or your friends?

6. Based on the answers to the first five questions, what are three organizations that you can identify that appeal to you? (Examples: youth leagues, libraries, clubs, activist groups, church groups, homeless shelters) Choose the one that most appeals to you, and research the group online and in the community.

7. Now that you’ve researched this group, will it give you an opportunity to meet one of your professional or personal goals? If so, visit the group to “try it on.”

8. Now that you’ve visited this group, do you still want to make a final commitment of your time?

9. Are other group members satisfied with the organization? (To learn this, identify three members of the group to interview in order to assess their satisfaction with the organization. Consider choosing a new member, a two- to three-year member, and a seasoned five- to six-year member to interview.)

Once you’ve done the research required to satisfactorily answer these nine questions, join a group and begin to volunteer for visibility’s sake. Look for leadership roles that will demonstrate your strengths, talents and skills. In other words, volunteer and become visible. It’s a great way to build your personal network.

6 thoughts on “Volunteer and Become Visible

  1. Dear Dr Ivan,

    I am the in-coming Membership Co-ordinator for our Laurus Chapter in Penang, Malaysiacome October and I could not help but agree with you that volunteering ourself to take on responsibility is the sure the great way to connect with people.

    How my chapter directors instantly felt the high energy my chapter emits as we embark on a single-minded focus and strategy to bring it to a higher level than we had previously. There’s no shortage of visibility on our chapter right now due to our high level of volunteerism, though.
    Gregory, BNI Laurus, Penang, Malaysia.

  2. Volunteering is a great way to get visibility. I recently participated in a summer project called “Operation Soldier Care” with emailourmilitary.com to send care packages to our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan. The rewards were incredible in the new contacts that I acquired and the credibility it created!

  3. Ivan is absolutely correct, as he usually is. I am a meeting and event planner, and an avid volunteer. I spent 12 years planning events for the local March of Dimes and various other random charitable events. While I still volunteer for great causes. I am also now recognized as an expert in Fundraising Events, and have a long standing contract to produce all fundraising events for our local Habitat for Humanity.

    I have also been able to demonstrate the value of networking to Non-profit organizations in building relationships in the community to garner support for their cause.

    Three contractors in my BNI region have volunteered their time and skills to helps ups build a Habitat House. They too are getting a lot of recognition in our community for giving back. It is a WIN-WIN relationship in all cases.

    Find your favorite charity and volunteer your services, to get connected, and give back to your community.

  4. I couldn’t agree more! I volunteer two days a week at Hospice. As a recently qualified psychotherapist – this means that I am able to pursue both my passion and my wish to be of service. It also provides a good balance between running BNI New Zealand and my volunteer work – it certainly puts day to day BIN issues into perspective!

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