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What Can Strategic Volunteering Do for Your Career?

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by Impactpool

Impactpool's career coach Chibesa Angela Mwape writes about the benefits of volunteering, what it takes to find suitable opportunities and what to consider before committing to volunteering.

Do not miss the opportunity to join the next Webinar "Strategic volunteering" on October 9, where Chibesa Angela Mwape will moderate the session together with Ursula Makowski, HR expert from United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and Thandie Mwape, former UNV volunteer.

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There comes a time in our professional lives when we begin to question our professional journey and aspirations. We come head to head with taking stock of where we are professionally and contemplate where we are headed

One way that we can become proactive about our efforts is through strategic volunteering. This means being able to find opportunities that are a good fit for our technical capabilities and match for the causes that we care about.  Strategic volunteering happens to be a double-edged sword which can both (1) help us with an upward career trajectory and (2) become a campus to contributing to a greater good working in areas that mean the most to us.

According to Mark McCurdy, a career coach, expert in Non-profits & Social Enterprise and author of Strategic Volunteering - 50 ingredients to transform your life and career, strategic volunteering ingredients range from developing decision making skills to building one’s aptitude for commitment plus 48 more. 

Whether you are a senior level or an entry level professional, it is important to determine where you can make the most impact using your skills and executing an action plan that will bring you gratification. Through the 50 ingredients that have the ability to transform our lives and careers, we can unearth bespoke opportunities that can bring about change and make the most impact. The 50 ingredients demonstrate that strategic volunteering can result in an assortment of results including developing one’s confidence, practicing a new routine, building partnerships with a business or enhance leadership development.

The benefits of volunteering cannot be emphasized enough irrespective of your level of professional seniority. Based on a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, professionals who volunteer have had a 27% increase in odds of finding employment. Additionally, a study in the UK commissioned by Department for Education and Employment indicates that 54% of volunteers believe that their volunteering experience will or has led to employment opportunities while 41% of those who are now employed believe that they were successful in their job search because of volunteering. Strategic volunteering is a powerful networking activity. 

But what does it take to find suitable strategic volunteering opportunity? How can we become engaged using our natural talents and technical competencies? Where can we open up our hearts to strategic volunteering using our professional skills to impact and empower the lives of others. One top resource among many others that we can begin with is probably the largest bank of professional volunteering opportunities. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV). UNV contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. They work with partners to integrate qualified, highly motivated and well supported UN Volunteers into development programming and promote the value and global recognition of volunteerism. 

To learn more on how you can become a UN Volunteer, read Impactpool's guide to becoming an international UN volunteer.

An additional article that you should read from Impactpool is Online Volunteers and Home-Based Consultancies are alternative ways to serve a greater good. In this article you will learn about how you can become an online UN volunteer.

Finally, you can join us for an upcoming webinar on Wednesday, 9th September 2019 to hear from UNV and a successful professional who turned her volunteering experience into a lucrative international development career. 

- By Chibesa Angela Mwape

Register for the webinar

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