Skills Based Volunteering- Using Your Personalized Skill Set to Make a Difference

Volunteer RNs at St. Andrew's AME Church Provide Blood Pressure Checks at Community Center

Volunteer RNs at St. Andrew’s AME Church Provide Blood Pressure Checks at Community Center

What are you looking for in a volunteer opportunity?  Are you maximizing your personal value in volunteerism?  Is your organization maximizing its impact on the community and return on investment in an employee volunteer program? YOU have the opportunity to personalize your volunteer efforts, provide a specialized needed service to those in need, and realize a return on your employee volunteer program through skills based volunteering.

Skills based volunteerism is a great opportunity to provide a specialized service to individuals or organizations.  Leveraging your expertise to provide value to others can be incredibly rewarding in a variety of ways.  Many non-profit organizations simply lack the budget to hire professionals to maximize their operations that provide much needed services in the community.  Skills based volunteers fill that gap by sharing their expertise and increasing the value organizations provide to those in need.

However, there is a fine-line in determining what services will be provided without charge, and those that will not.  International freelance writer and volunteer, Sue White, in The Art of Giving Away Your Expertise (Or Not)   recommends that volunteers identify what and understand why your services will be provided for free or charge.  Skills based volunteering does not require you to give away in part or entirety, your economic value.  In fact, there are a variety of ways that you can make a difference by sharing a small piece of your expertise with those who cannot afford to pay for your offering, or providing a service that is not available.

Once you start looking, skills based volunteer opportunities are widely available and in demand.  An earlier post, Find YOUR Passion and volunteer suggests how to search for a local cause that you or your organization is interested in.  Oftentimes, the organization lists in-kind services or volunteer opportunities on its website that it is in need of.

Skills based volunteers are making a difference in a variety of ways.  Employees of a local bank provide personal financial management presentations to a team of at-risk high school students.  Based on high risk for hypertension, a group of RNs from a local African American church provide regular blood pressure checks for fellow parishioners and at neighborhood events.  A colleague and I provided marketing and community outreach plans to a grassroots campaign.  A local CPA provides monthly tax preparation services to low income elderly at the Senior Center.  A retired attorney provides legal advice to the public library.  A talented retired Army veteran, who enjoys crafts, leads activities for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.  Band musicians provide free entertainment at a children’s fundraising event.  And the list goes on.

Do you have a skillset that could make a difference?  Are you leveraging your personal or organizational resources to maximize your efforts and employee volunteer program?  Engaging in skills based volunteerism is a great opportunity to make a difference and demonstrate how your organization is impacting your community.

How are you making a difference through skills based volunteerism?  Leave a comment.  Make YOUR difference in the world…Volunteer!