Over the summer I attended the National Volunteer Leadership Retreat hosted by Delta Sigma Pi, the professional business fraternity that I joined as a business student at Kent State University. I’m currently serving in my second year as District Director (a volunteer leader) for the chapter at Kent State, acting in an advisory role suggesting ways to improve chapter operations.
Led by incredibly successful entrepreneurs Adam Carroll and Tim Augustine, the retreat provided an opportunity for more than 60 volunteer leaders to network and build relationships, but most importantly gave us an opportunity to enhance current leadership skills and grow through the development of new skills.
I’m incredibly excited to share that I’ve been asked to present at a Delta Sigma Pi conference this November on the topic of volunteer leadership. I’ll share with collegiate members the importance of serving the fraternity as a volunteer, as well as the many benefits that come with volunteering.
So what comes to mind when you hear the words “volunteer leader?” Volunteer is obvious, but I think the definition of “leader” in this case falls into a bit of a gray area. Many times it’s assumed that you must be in a position of power to be a leader. That’s just not true. If you’re serving people, in small or large amounts, with integrity, honesty and authentically, then you’re a leader in my book.
One of the topics we covered at the retreat over the summer was that volunteering tends to be misconstrued and people think that only the organization receiving the services sees any sort of benefit. That’s also not true.
The Corporation for National & Community Service provides plenty of benefits associated with volunteering, including:
- Pride, satisfaction, accomplishment, etc.
- Connecting with other volunteers.
- Improving and strengthening your community.
- Health benefits.
Volunteering is also a great way to develop many different leadership skills. Depending on the type of organization and role you’re in, you can interact with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, you can learn how to communicate with different types of audiences, and you just might find a new passion or career path.
A simple search will show you that there are PLENTY of organizations looking for volunteers, especially volunteers with leadership skills. Non-profits in industries such as healthcare, animal care/adoption, community development, and even organizations with more focused missions, such as chronic illnesses or child advocacy.
If you’re currently serving as a volunteer for an organization and want to share, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any leadership skills you’ve offered others, or skills you’ve developed through volunteering! Please comment below!