One of the big success stories happing today in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the advent of skill-based volunteerism; it allows workers in a company or organization to leverage their skills and experience to act to mitigate vexing societal problems. Some of the world’s largest brands are fully supporting skill-based volunteerism programs, including: TARGET and JPMorganChase. As for global consulting powerhouse Deloitte, their skill-based volunteerism programs deploy staff accountants and financial professionals into local communities for noble purpose. In San Francisco, Deloitte workers help homeless people in the Mission District to learn and develop financial literacy, master proven job interviewing techniques, and dress for success. In doing so, Deloitte’s highly skilled and experienced employees give back in a big way by supporting the actual neighborhoods where they operate, effecting better life outcomes for otherwise disadvantaged people.
But can doing skill-based volunteerism lead you to your own meaningful work? We say YES! Whether you work in a big company like Deloitte, or a small organization, employing your skill and experience towards a noble purpose allows you the time and freedom needed to explore and master work roles that are profound, protect the planet, help people, and are fun to do.
So, how might you do skill-based volunteerism? Consider these 5 immediately actionable steps:
- Identify a volunteerism opportunity in your community, like cleaning up abandoned lots or river basins or teaching financial literacy to young people in underprivileged schools.
- Reach out to the local governing body (city hall) or other non-profit groups (churches and local non-government organizations) to propose and gain approval for a skill-based volunteerism project of your choice.
- Recruit co-workers and friends outside of work to aid the effort. The more hands-on-deck, the better.
- Act to lead the skill-based volunteer project from start to finish. Capture the before-to-after “needle movement” to the successful outcomes. This is important and useful project management skill for you!
- Gauge how the work made you feel. Post experience, you may decide to incorporate skill-based volunteerism permanently in your current job spec; it may turn what is an otherwise dull or meaningless job into a meaningful one. Or, you may decide to shape a business-model around your skill-based volunteerism success doing a side-hustle (a gig that you perform outside of your current full-time assignment) or a full-time entrepreneurial role—your second or third act career opportunity.
Performing skill-based volunteerism may impact you with, at most, moderate out-of-pocket financial exposure; if done as part of a company sponsorship, there potentially could be minimal or no financial exposure to you or other meaningful work seekers. Either way, do try it out!
Image Credits: Act and Tree Planting Volunteers, iStock Photo.