Volunteering is a fabulous way to share your gift of time and talents. It is not only an empowering way to convey an attitude of gratitude but can be especially beneficial to you if you are seeking new employment. Your opportunities to network with people outside of your circle of influence will expand greatly. Sounds like a win-win to me!
When coaching customers during their career journey I always ask, "Do you Volunteer?" The reply I hear most of the time is, "No I don't have time to volunteer. I need a job." My quick response, "You can't afford not to volunteer because you need a job!"
Everyone, whether you have a job or not, has a 40 hour work week. Spending tons of time on the computer searching job boards is not the strategy to use. It is a proven statistic that networking is the number one key to landing an interview and ultimately new employment. Companies with a good referral program discover 75% of their employees in this manner. Volunteering is the premiere networking venue.
Now here comes the win-win. 'Tis the season for giving. Start volunteering now during the holidays and continue into the New Year to ensure your 2019 new employment resolution will become a reality.
Here's two ways to decide where to volunteer:
1. Look for organizations that are similar to your desired field of employment or offer positions that can benefit from your knowledge, skills and abilities. Examples: Health Services positions, visit the Hospitals, Vet Technician call animal organizations such as PawMetto LifeLine or interested in being a Program Coordinator, meet with the American Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator.
2. What are your interests and passions? Look for organizations that can meet those desires. For example, if you enjoy working with youth, check-out EdVenture, Family Connections, Columbia Museum of Art or Boys & Girl's Club.
Here are the organizations and the representatives' contact information from our 2018 June Volunteer Fair:
- American Red Cross - Terrence Townsend, Volunteer Services; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.540.1242; 803.508.5251
- AmeriCorp (SBP) - Mike Sullivan, Program Manager; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, 816.360.9048; 803.281.2744
- Congaree National Park - Gregory Cunningham/Kellie Weidinger; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.776.4396
- Cooperative Ministry - Rhemie Gantz, email@example.com; 803.799.3857 ext. 650
- EdVenture - Margaret Dubose, Development and Volunteer Associate; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.400.1147
- Family Connections - Mila Conway/Padgett Mozingo; email@example.com
- Harvest Hope Food Bank - Sara Bouknight (Deloris Squirewlll attending); firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.254.4432 ext. 1112
- NAMI Mid-Carolina – Zenethia Brown, Executive Director; email@example.com; 803.206.2916
- Midlands Lutheran Hospice – Kendra Neely; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.513.7034
- PawMetto Lifeline - Magen Sier, Special Projects Manager; MSier@pawmettolifeline.org; 803.465.9173
- Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities - Kristy Caldwell; email@example.com; 803.782.0639
- Richland Library – Katy Watkins, Volunteer Coordinator; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.929.3436
- Richland District One – David L. Jackson, Volunteer Coordinator; email@example.com
- Senior Resources - Ann-Marie Polsley, Volunteer Coordinator; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sexual Trauma Services – Kelly Wuest, Volunteer Services Coordinator; email@example.com; 803.256.5824
- Transitions - Cathy Cobbs; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.708.4861
- USO – Anne Elise Goudelock, Center Operations Supervisor; email@example.com; Office; 803.822.7954; Cell 803.741.4367
- Work in Progress – Amy Jolly, Executive Director; firstname.lastname@example.org; 803.758.0066
ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEER RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS:
- VolunteerMatch is a top Internet recruiting tool for more than 65,000 nonprofits seeking volunteers. www.volunteermatch.org
- Create the Good AARP network is about individuals and organizations coming together in a positive way to improve lives through a variety of volunteer and charitable giving opportunities. http://createthegood.org/
- HandsOn Network has 250 centers nationally to help connect volunteers to meaningful service opportunities. http://www.handsonnetwork.org/
- The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, runs AmeriCorps and other federally sponsored service programs. The Serve America Act authorizes 10 new Encore Fellowships—paid internships for people 55 and older—at nonprofits in each state. http://www.nationalservice.gov/ and http://www.serve.gov/
- The United Way opportunities focus on changing systems since everyone is somehow connected and interdependent. It creates a win-win situation when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. http://www.unitedway.org/
Career Services Specialist