Part of the Please don’t Volunteer – 9 part series
How to evaluate your impact when volunteering
Professional contributing can be an efficient way to grow your network, to learn and gain a new perspective on an industry or an issue, and achieve a sense of belonging to the local or global community.
Professional Contributors by nature want to make a difference. So how do you go about evaluating that impact?
In a recent blog, I shared my goal in joining a board of a national speaking association. I believed our members could elevate the mental health conversations in our communities. We could host public events, share stories of our experiences, and then open the forum up for dialogue. Although many members were initially resistant, eventually a few of our chapter leaders spearheaded the initiative with impactful outcomes. One lead shared his experience: by implementing an event focused on healthy-minds and well-being, we achieved many benefits, which included:
- Impacted the community by increasing dialogue and reducing stigma.
- Garnered media attention
- Increasing association brand equity
- Getting to know other members’ expertise, which intern is increasing the likelihood of referring each other.
- Created more camaraderie.
The five objectives that I hoped it would achieve.
How to evaluate your contribution impact?
Evaluate impact will directly relate to what your objectives were in contributing in the first place. Some questions you may want to consider while evaluating are:
- Did you achieve what you intended? Why or why not?
- What do you still need to do to reach your objective?
- Did you overestimate the organization’s and/or your objectives, or values alignment?
- Did you underestimate the time required to reach the objective?
- Did you overestimate your skill to reach the objective?
- What skill would you need to acquire to reach the objective?
- Is the issue (people, animals, environment) better off because of your involvement?
- Was it the right time for your objective?
Who or what do you want to impact with your contribution?
Of course, evaluating your impact also relates to who or what you wanted to help, uplift, or advance by your participation. Many charities and non-profits, associations conduct surveys that can provide you with perspectives. Keep the lines of communication open with the organization and the beneficiary of your efforts will assist in the assessment. One of the most compelling measures of your impact can be by asking the receiver:
‘You,’ in this case could be a charity, non-profit, the beneficiary, an association, or a community group.
- Is this contribution helpful? How? “
- What difference did it make to you?
- What difference could it make for others?
- If the contribution didn’t happen, where would you be?
- What more do you need to reach your objective?
The answer to these questions can motivate you to continue as planned, to recalculate how you contribute, or look to the future on how to evolve your contributions. Either way, an evaluation will be instrumental in ensuring you continue to Professionally Contribute.
So PLEEEEEASE DON’T VOLUNTEER! Your Professional Contribution selection processes is counting on it.
Until next time, make your contribution count. #MyContributionCounts. #YouMeWeMovement
- What does success look like to me?
- What evaluation system do I use to assess my objectives?
- What are all the reasons why I would professionally contribute, rather than be a volunteer?
Until next time, make your contributions count. #YouMeWeMovement #MyContributionCounts
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Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contributor™ Cultivator
Certified Speaking Professional, (CSP)
Social entrepreneur |Professional Speaker | Host | Author | Philanthropist
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 65 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.