Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Linking your year-end performance review to your volunteer strategy

As we head into the new year, many of us will experience some kind of performance review at work. When presented with the "opportunities for improvement" - what do you do? Obviously, one option is to request formal training, but budgets do not always cover your total need for professional development. This is an ideal opportunity to discuss potential strategic volunteering roles with your manager.

Map the skills you wish to hone to volunteer opportunities in your community. Bring back a plan including your role, how it enhances your development plan, and what (if any) time may need to be invested during work hours. Don't forget to include the added bonus of expanding your network!

Now you've got a plan to gain the skills you need to advance in your career - and you look like a superstar for taking ownership of your professional development.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Turning Your Volunteer Experience into a Nonprofit Career

I had the chance last week to lunch with a new friend interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector. We discussed strategies for organizing her resume/experience with a combination of professional and volunteer experience tailoring it to her desired role. (functional vs. chronological resume) I also had the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of moving from the corporate world to the nonprofit sector.

Ever considered the move? I highly recommend the book Change Your Career: Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector by Laura Gassner Otting. I was introduced to Laura when asked to serve as a case study for the book, and I think her final product is fantastic. It's a must read for those contemplating the move.

You can find the book here:

Laura's website:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quick Tip for Success - Get Recommended for Your Volunteer Jobs on LinkedIn

I've mentioned it before, but I think it's worth sure to post your significant volunteer roles on your LinkedIn profile. Not only does it build your positive online brand, but it also adds valuable experience to your overall career snapshot. Simply add your current and/or past volunteer roles to your online profile - then take the extra step of asking your volunteer managers and peers to recommend your work. As a nonprofit leader, this is something that I can give back to my volunteers and enjoy doing so.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Special Article: Reinventing Your Career

Thought not specifically focused on volunteering, I wanted to share this article created in collaboration with Amy Dawson of AmyMac PR and recently featured by Womenetics. Keep in mind if you desire to make a transition, strategic volunteering opportunities can be invaluable. These opportunities can keep your skills current and provide "experience" to fill any resume gaps.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chic Perspectives Radio Interview

Fela Strickland-Smith, Jamie Graham, Elizabeth Gordon (host), Heather Rocker, and Mary Lou Heastings
This week, I had the opportunity to join Elizabeth Gordon in the studio for her Chic Perspectives radio show. Joined by some of my favorite women in technology, I had the chance to talk my role at Women in Technology (WIT) and the power of strategic volunteering to build your network.

Take a listen to learn more - and get bonus career advice from the other WIT panelists. Good stuff!

Listen to the radio show here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wall Street Journal Promotes Strategic Volunteering for Job Search

I was pleasantly surprised to read an article in today's Wall Street Journal promoting the use of strategic volunteering for those in job search mode. As the author notes, this methodology of volunteering can provide valuable contacts and networking opportunities. If you or your friends are in job search or career transition - remember to utilize strategic volunteering as one of your avenues for success.

Link to article:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Importance of Volunteer Training Programs

I currently have the opportunity to serve as the lead volunteer trainer for the Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties. We call our program Junior League University, but the premise is not unlike many other volunteer training efforts - to teach our members/volunteers how to grow their leadership skills for the betterment of themselves and our organization. While many volunteer placements offer "on the job" training (which you know I advocate strongly), the concept of servant leadership and the intricacies of managing people that don't "have to" work for you can create a gap in skillsets for nonprofit volunteers.

Because I've managed volunteers for over 15 years, I know that the most important thing you can offer your volunteers are the tools to help them succeed in their role. In almost every case, volunteer leadership training is required for successful outcomes. And if you are in a volunteer leadership role, you should be proactive and ask if the organization offers any training to assist in your role.

As a volunteer, you reap multiple rewards for taking advantage of training opportunities offered to you as part of your role within a nonprofit organization.
  1. Gives you the tools to have a better/more effective volunteer experience
  2. Typically offers leadership lessons that translate easily to the workplace
  3. It's FREE training! Why not take advantage?
One of the training modules I've lead this year for both Junior League University and the Georgia Tech Young Alumni Council focused on "appreciative leadership" and "the art of delegation". While this combination of skills is crucial for successfully leading volunteer teams, it's also incredibly valuable to anyone leading teams in the workplace. Every lesson from those training sessions not only moves the organization forward, but it gives the volunteer leader tools to use in any leadership situation.

And don't forget - be sure to highlight the training you've received as part of your nonprofit service on your professional and volunteer resumes!