12. To sample a new career
Have you been thinking about making a career transition? Because of the recession that began in 2008, I have been receiving more and more calls from people like you who are re-evaluating their life’s goals. I find people really want a job with a purpose or, as Tim Sanders writes in his book Saving the World at Work, “a purpose with a paycheck.” One of the best ways to test the waters, to see if a career in nonprofits is the right match for you, is to volunteer in your new field of interest. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both the number of volunteers and the volunteer rate rose after the economic downturn. About 63.4 million people, or 26.8 percent of the population, volunteered for an organization at least once between September 2008 and September 2009. My educated guess is that with more and more people volunteering for nonprofit organizations, the natural progression will be that more people will be hired who have made a contribution to the nonprofit as volunteers.
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6. To strengthen existing friendships
When you help with a fundraiser, the first resource you are likely to tap is your personal network, and that is usually your friends and family. I now live in Boston area, but I still have some close friends in New York City. We don’t get to see enough of each other, but we know that once a year we will get together at the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. My friend Marc Steir and his growing family have become even closer friends to my wife and me because of our shared passion for fighting Parkinson’s Disease. My sister Heather has a similar story. She was a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Mali, West Africa. The friends she had then, she still has now, and I can call them friends of mine as well. We all know that travel with good friends strengthens relationships at a deep level, and I believe the same to be true for shared volunteer work. The new term “friendraiser” could apply to a dinner party or similar event for your favorite cause. For example, you might invite a group of friends to your house that will donate to a nonprofit instead of reimbursing you for the food.
Every month I will post 2 ingredients or career tips from my new book Strategic Volunteering: 50 Ingredients to Transform Your Life and Career until the book hits stores in November 2010. Enjoy the tips and please leave your feedback below.
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