Part of the Please don’t Volunteer – 9 part series
How to assess volunteer opportunities
When looking to Professionally Contribute, you could take any opportunity without performing due diligence. That is what I would call volunteering. Professional Contributors and/or volunteers by nature want to make a difference. Professional contributors can add greater value and enjoy a greater experience. So how do you go about evaluating the volunteer opportunities?
Is a contribution opportunity right for you?
Let’s continue focusing on the other four elements of exploring if a contribution opportunity is right for you. In the last blog, we focused on: Is it a conscious organization?
Today will focus on:
- What is the mission and vision of the organization?
- What role do you want to play in the organization?
- Solicit references
- Get first-hand experience
What is the mission and vision of the organization?
Review the purpose, vision, mission, and strategic plan of the organization to ensure you understand it and feel your purpose is congruent with the mandate. If you’re not aligned, it may just mean a conversation for clarity instead of dismissing the opportunity altogether.
Review the purpose, vision, mission, and strategic plan of the organization to ensure you understand it and feel your purpose is congruent with the mandate. #YouMeWeMovement Click To Tweet
What role do I want to play in the organization?
- Do I have a passion for the mission?
- Can I add value?
- Are our values aligned?
- Are the non-profit’s expectations of time, talent, and financial commitments clearly spelt out? Can I afford them?
- Is the executive director / President a high-calibre leader
- Is the board leadership high-calibre?
- Do I have clear expectations?
Before embarking on a professional contribution, it is recommended to get references, particularly if you are thinking of a significant commitment of time and energy. For a board position, ask to speak with some present and past board members. Speaking to beneficiaries of your professional contribution will also add another dimension of understanding as to how the organization operates.
Approach your professional contribution role similar to how you would approach a career opportunity, particularly if you don’t want to jump from one contribution initiative to another. Contact people who have been, or still are in, the role you are considering. Gather several perspectives. Each person comes to a situation with different expectations and levels of commitment. Collecting several viewpoints will provide a more holistic assessment.
Get first-hand experience
Another way to assess if an opportunity and organization is the right fit is asking to shadow another Professional Contributor. Shadowing is the chance to work alongside someone more experienced, and the opportunity to ask questions, observe interactions and assess skills required. Taking this approach will demonstrate to the organization your intentions as well as provide you with a grass-roots perspective on the role and your potential colleagues. Of course, with international opportunities, this may be more of a challenge, however, watching YouTube videos or a documentary of contributions and beneficiaries may also provide an interesting perspective.
The more you know, the more you will feel confident in your professional contribution – and the increased likelihood to lead tomorrow’s legacy today.
Are you considering a board position? Download some questions to ask here: Joining a Board YMW
- What is the organization’s mission and vision?
- What role do I want to play?
- What experience have others had?
Until next time, make your contribution count. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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