8 ways in which virtual volunteering accelerates your career growth
Have you volunteered before? If you have, here’s an interesting exercise for you. In your mind, make a list of all the different ways in which you think volunteering helped you professionally. As you scroll further down the article, we’d like you to see how many of the ones you’ve listed match the ones we’ve written. Let’s revisit this exercise towards the end of the article.
Skillsets and causes galore, it is safe to say that virtual volunteering opens a world of possibilities to volunteers. When at first physical volunteering practices came to an abrupt halt, now virtual volunteering is thriving. Corporates have taken the new way of working in stride, enabling employees to contribute to causes they care about, virtually.
Interestingly, the remote working norms have brought the best out of corporate goodness programs. Businesses that have successfully switched from physical to virtual volunteering have been able to observe:
- Better access to causes located across the globe,
- Better traction of volunteering hours and other performance metrics, and
- Improved employee morale.
Are you an artist or a language fanatic? A fitness enthusiast or an outstanding cook? Perhaps you have really good presentation skills. Whatever your talents may be, virtual volunteering offers you a sure-fire way to make your skills count – by connecting you with a world of beneficiaries that could benefit hugely from your talents. With virtual volunteering, at the end of the day, lives are improved, causes are served, spirits are uplifted, and goals are met.
Virtual volunteering and career growth in the same sentence? Never thought of it!
If you’ve ever said that out loud (or in your head), you are in for a big surprise. You’ve probably not thought too much into how the few hours you set aside to help someone comes back to you, amplified in its power to nurture.
It is impressive how a single act of volunteering can enable a volunteer in multiple different ways. Being around people, interacting with them, and sharing skills – all these directly play into boosting your confidence, improving communication skills, enhancing teamwork capabilities, and fostering empathy.
Virtual volunteering offers employees an improvement path through curated upskilling. This will improve workforce capabilities and adaptability to a great extend.
In virtual volunteering, there is no direct KPI for volunteers, just an inherent drive to do good. Learning is the biggest and the best by-product of any virtual volunteering activity. Virtual volunteering equals happy, motivated employees. And motivated employees mean a powerful workforce.
Without further ado, let’s see the 8 ways in which virtual volunteering will help you improve your professional reputation.
Here are 8 ways virtual volunteering helps you build your career
1. Virtual volunteering is a great way to network with people
Networking is extremely important for professionals. Communities like LinkedIn exist mainly to serve as a networking channel for those who are searching for the perfect job and the best talent. Traditionally, we see that a lot of networking normally happens over formal conversations and business meetings. But when the primary intent is, well, “networking,” the chances of making meaningful connections dwindle. Networking for the sake of networking will not yield a lot of benefits.
But virtual volunteering makes the process much easier. Networking comes much more naturally to you when you are engaging in conversations over ideas and stories much different from that of your job turf. Not to mention, the diversity of people virtual volunteering introduces you to. Between the non-profits, volunteers, and beneficiaries, chances are that you will meet many new people. What can you say? Your next potential business opportunity might lie just there!
Say goodbye to forced conversations and awkward pauses
2. Your virtual volunteering expertise looks great on your resume
You might have impressive titles, work experience, and educational qualifications that can floor anyone who might be looking at your profile. But the truth of the matter is, the job landscape is hyper-competitive in terms of talented individuals. In a world of similar degrees, work experience, and certifications, how can you stand out?
Virtual volunteering can be the one thing that sets you far apart from your competition. Your skills look impressive on your resume. But do you know what looks even better? Proof that you have used those skills to help someone out – for free. Virtual volunteering on your resume speaks volumes about the depth of your character and the commitment you are likely to show at work. Nothing beats good intent.
Stop blending into a sea of resumes
3. Virtual volunteering helps you understand your career goals better
Virtual volunteering opens the door to a variety of different experiences and working styles. Through constant interaction with people working on other verticals, you might be able to answer some of the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve through my career? Perhaps you are an amazing programmer with stellar team management skills who has never taken a stab at leadership because you never thought of it. Virtual volunteering opportunities might just be the eye-opener you need.
- How do I like to work? Do you work better as an individual contributor, or do you love being around people as you work?
- What kind of work makes me feel inspired to do more?
Volunteering helps you answer all of these questions. It gives you a beta environment to try out different working/collaboration styles. At the end of your volunteering experience, you will be in a much better position to make educated decisions about how you want to progress on your career trajectory.
Be aware of your full potential and the way forward.
4. Through virtual volunteering, you get to nurture your skills
We can’t stress enough how important this point is. Be it in your professional or personal life, learning new skills or talents is something that is guaranteed to keep you up on your toes. Perhaps you are an excellent writer who does not write much anymore due to…hectic work schedules. A virtual volunteering activity that requires your writing skills might be just the key needed to revive your dormant writing skills.
Or, you might never have taught anybody before. Maybe you even believe that you are bad at it. But undertaking volunteering activities that involve mentoring or teaching somebody who can benefit from your experience might show you the potential you hold to become a fantastic mentor.
The best part? All of these skills play directly or indirectly into how well you can perform at work.
Become the most interesting person in the room.
“Working with my mentee as a part of the volunteering program strengthened my coaching and leadership skills. I am now more confident about taking on tough projects at work. The best part? I’m also getting recognized for my efforts!” – A Goodera Volunteer
5. Virtual volunteering helps you experience industries/workstreams
Think about it. What better way to learn how another industry/role works than through volunteering? Whatever your role at work maybe, virtual volunteering opportunities that cover diverse cause areas and geographies are aplenty. And involving yourself in virtual volunteering means that you learn about different industry verticals and how they work.
You might volunteer for nonprofits that work in the fields of education, environment, sustainability, inclusion, etc. Besides becoming more aware of the particular cause area, you also learn what kind of causes/opportunities resonate with you the most.
You could be a business analyst working on complex business strategies at work and at the same time, be an amazing orator recording podcasts for children after work. Talk about diversity!
Get to the vantage point of realization.
6. Virtual volunteering helps you improve your soft skills.
Physical or virtual, it is irrefutable that volunteering improves your soft skills drastically. Throughout your volunteering journey, you will meet many new people from diverse backgrounds, with different stories and journeys. Through constant interaction with them, you learn how to interlace your words with empathy, respect, and positivity.
Especially in a virtual set-up, when you are not directly facing the person you are speaking to, your words must convey the right emotions. Communicating with people over calls requires a lot of intuition from one’s side – in that you cannot gauge the mood of a person perfectly. All of these are challenging situations that equip you with the knowledge of what to speak, how, and when.
Got an innovative idea that could change your business for the better? Communicate it efficiently.
7. Virtual volunteering can help boost self-confidence
Aside from positive feelings, virtual volunteering also equips you with a renewed sense of self-esteem. After volunteering, you emerge with fruitful experiences, increased knowledge, sharper skills, and the support of a network of people. What else would you need to keep your head held high before a panel of interviewers?
Your volunteering experiences can help pitch you as a well-rounded professional to potential employers. It gives you much more material to talk about, as you explain your professional journey and how you’re a valuable asset to any organization. Companies look for individuals who have a proven record of taking initiatives, driving changes, and are ready to support the growth of the company with vigor.
The next time someone asks you, “tell me about yourself,” get ready to unleash your virtual volunteering expertise.
8. Your virtual volunteering expertise will empower you to champion sustainability practices at your organization
Perhaps you learned how to reuse plastic at your last volunteering drive. Or maybe you learned how you can optimize the use of resources such as paper, water, and electricity. Whatever your learnings are, do not forget to bring them back to your office space.
Organizations all over the globe are rethinking sustainability and are establishing Environmental, Sustainable, and Governance (ESG) goals as targets. With renewed knowledge around how you can contribute positively, you could be one of the change leaders in your organization, driving efforts to champion sustainability initiatives. Taking on such roles boosts your visibility and is sure to position you as an indispensable part of the organization.
Be the change-driver your organization needs.
A quick note to corporates
It is surprising how well virtual volunteering amalgamates a host of necessary talents and skills into a volunteer. And when that volunteer is an employee, the effects are sure to be felt across the entire organization. Employees are the biggest asset to any organization. Innovation, change, and growth ripples through them.
According to recent surveys, millennials are projected to constitute about 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Millennials and Gen-Zs, who signify the up-and-coming generation are:
- Socially conscious and very sensitive to the current issues in the world
- Increasingly interested in being part of organizations that do significant work to create a positive impact on communities.
- Change-makers who are well-aware of the transformation that they want to see in the world.
Investment and interest in virtual volunteering are only going up. With the millennial workforce at hand, it is high time that organizations support this rising level of responsibility among our future workforce and pave the way for a green future. As an employer, you have the power to make this happen.
Millennial employees will donate to causes they feel passionate about, whether their company is involved with those causes or not. Actions such as matching employee donations, offering incentives, and generating competition may successfully boost involvement in company-sponsored giving, but a passion for the cause and an understanding of its impact is what consistently motivates employee giving.
Bringing it all together
Your career depends on a lot of different things. Besides being able to do your job well, many external factors play into how well your career grows. When was the last time you felt inspired enough to change the world? When was the last time that you believed in your power to drive change?
Whoever you are and whatever the job is that you do, virtual volunteering is one activity that we recommend you take up. Pitch in a few hours over the week or on weekends and observe how fast it turns into something you look forward to doing every time. Volunteer individually, with a team, or with your family and see what model works best for you.
Now, let’s come back to the exercise that we mentioned at the beginning of the blog. How many of the benefits that you thought of while starting the article, did you see in this blog?
If you have experiences or learnings to share that you think will help fellow volunteers, please feel free to share this article along with learnings/experiences you treasure. We’ll be compiling all of these learnings together for you to peruse later, so don’t forget to tag us.
All the best for your volunteering journey, from team Goodera.