There was an interesting blog on the CIPR influence website about volunteering and what it means for those undertaking it in a specific sector such as communication. It made me think about the volunteering I have done throughout my working life, and before if you take a summer before starting college helping out in the local Oxfam shop into consideration.
I have always looked to get involved in volunteering because it has given me a further opportunity to share knowledge and experience about communication. This is something I love – talking about communication – and if it can benefit others, particularly charities and voluntary groups then everyone wins. There has been nothing for me to gain as the work has been done away from spotlight with no recognition but a thank you.
My frustration is that a lot of people don’t make the time to use skills and knowledge that they have to benefit others or the profession. I know we all live busy lives but there has to be a little bit of time available to spend helping others. We can give a little bit of time or a lot if it is something we get more deeply involved in.
In reading Ella Minty’s blog I do agree that if you perform well in volunteering in an area of specialism that it can boost your reputation. But I don’t agree that it is putting you on the stage and under inspection. Some of the best and most productive volunteering experiences I have had were done without any fuss or public recognition. Yes, I was still putting my professional reputation on the line but only if there was an issue would it have ever become public.
Volunteering is an essential part of life and has been throughout the years. If we go back in history the great philanthropists undertook charity work and support that could have been labelled as volunteering. They found the time, so as professional communicators why aren’t more of us getting involved to support the industry?
*If you want to read the article by Ella Minty check it out here http://influence.cipr.co.uk/2016/09/05/making-volunteering-count-not-free-ride/