“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” – Gordon Hinckle
One of my first exposures to ATD occurred while I was in the D.C. area for a business trip. “You’ll get a kick out of this organization,” my colleague told me while dragging me to a chapter event after a long day. He was right. The stories and experiences I heard during the networking hour made me want to join my local chapter; the speaker made me want to volunteer.
The speaker began by acknowledging that we all know that volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to your community. “But that’s not what I’m going to focus on tonight,” she said. Instead, our speaker addressed what is less often talked about: the benefits volunteers reap from volunteering. She inspired us to see what we could help to create in our community, how much our community could benefit from our contributions, and what we could learn from doing it. One reason I volunteer for ATD-RMC is so I can get the most out of my membership. And I have! These are the ways I’ve noticed you can benefit from volunteering with ATD-RMC:
You get to connect meaningfully with your community. As a result of my volunteer work with ATD-RMC, I have met friends, colleagues, advisors, mentees, clients, and vendors who could help me or help my connections. Volunteering with ATD gives you more consistent relationship building opportunities, so you really get to know people, ask questions, share ideas, learn each other’s strengths, and become resources for each other going forward. Volunteering introduces you to the greater ATD international community and provides the opportunity to attend leadership conferences. Additionally, staying up to date on the industry is much easier when you’re connected to so many people and ideas. There are benefits galore to plugging into your professional community by volunteering for ATD.
In lending your experience, you will build your experience. Our membership represents a wealth of experience. We all have excellent practices, strategies, and ideas to share. In sharing my own experience with ATD-RMC, I have gained even more experience. I’ve had potential employers point to my volunteer experience and say that it positively influenced their consideration of my candidacy. Now, I’m never one to encourage volunteering to bolster the resume alone because that doesn’t create the same valuable impact or learning; but you can’t deny that through giving of your efforts, you gain more experience and credibility.
By volunteering your skills, you will develop new skills. When I came to ATD-RMC I knew I had skills in facilitation and instructional design to contribute; as I volunteered, I discovered just how much I could do with those skills and how they were relatable to so much more. Through my involvement with ATD I’ve gained skills in learning event planning, resourcing speakers, leadership, program management, and strategy. Since joining, I’ve grown tremendously in my career and confidence to step into more leadership positions and take on greater responsibility in my work with the wider array of skills I have to offer. If you want to learn how to do something new, volunteering can offer a wonderful learning opportunity.
In his book, Engaging the Head Heart and Hands of a Volunteer, Orlando ATD chapter volunteer leader Barry Altland writes, “Volunteers get to give and give to get.” You will get these benefits from any type of volunteer work, so I encourage volunteering for an organization you’re passionate about. With that said, I know we’re all quite passionate about ATD-RMC! In volunteering for your local ATD chapter, you get the opportunity to work with a talented team to serve your professional community, which builds the chapter’s reach and resources to help you get more out of your professional community. Thank you to all of our volunteers who serve the growth of each other and the richness of our collective experience with ATD-RMC.
At Our Service,
2016 President, ATD-RMC
Are you interested in giving back to yourself by giving your time and talents to your chapter? Visit our Volunteer Page or contact our fabulous VP of Volunteers, Sue Fody, at firstname.lastname@example.org to find the most rewarding way to get involved.
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