Part of the Please don’t Volunteer – 9 part series
How to build your brand through volunteering or professional-contribution
The reasons you choose to contribute will influence the impression people form of you, so make your professional contributions count. People make decisions about whether they respect you, trust you, or will refer you. This judgment is made, consciously or subconsciously. Everything you do helps to form someone else’s perception of you.
In one organization where I contribute, I work closely with a volunteer whose objective is to expand her network to build her business. Although she has been successful at making the appropriate connections when I needed her services I hesitated to reach out. In her volunteer efforts, she was tardy when it came to responding to emails; she was passive with bringing forth solutions; and provided incomplete analysis. I didn’t see this person as a potential service provider because of her adjectives: tardy, passive, and incomplete. When you contribute, what adjectives are impacting your brand?
Consider how you conduct yourself as a Professional Contributor. Many people volunteer to enhance their professional careers, while their interactions with other volunteers may jeopardize the professional impression they wish to create.
Branding considerations as a Professional Contributor:
- Am I on time for meetings?
- Do I actively participate and contribute?
- Am I open to others’ perspectives?
- Am I just offering advice or am I offering to implement?
- Do I continuously demonstrate respect for other Professional Contributors?
- Do I see my task(s) through to completion?
- Do I bring up ideas and execute?
- Do I take things personally, or in the context of the overarching association objectives?
- Do I communicate to fellow members like they are family or my professional colleagues? [People often take liberties with family; aggressive, or uninterested tone is an example of being too familiar]
- Do I always need my voice to be heard or my way to be had, or can I move past some issues to move forward on others?
The best advice I can provide to becoming a Professional Contributor is to treat the opportunity, at least at the beginning, as if you were dealing with a client, and that each fellow contributor is an influencer. This approach will put your best foot forward, promote respecting the process, and not become overly familiar with anyone. As you build trust and rapport with your fellow contributors, moving to more a respectful colleague relationship will allow for camaraderie and connection that will promote continued engagement.
The danger becomes when we treat our fellow contributors like family: too direct, too honest, too often. Ask yourself, would I treat my client or a colleague like that?
People will refer you, (don’t expect it), if they like you, trust you and can count on you professionally.People will refer you, if they like you, trust you and can count on you professionally. Consider your brand and professionally contribute, instead of volunteering. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement Click To Tweet
Imagine if everyone on your board or in your professional association was a Professional Contributor. Don’t you think you would be able to move the association and the industry forward more efficiently as you are all respecting others’ time, insights, and objectives?
Also, it’s easier to be a Professional Contributor when there are limited demands on your time and energy, but when it becomes tough, would you just quit? Remember, that decision will create an impression of you, whether you want it to or not.
Until next time, make your contributions count. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
- Are my contributions enhancing my personal brand?
- Is how I communicate well-aligned with my brand?
- Is my participation perceived as a value to the overall organization’s objectives?
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.