Take Your Career To Another Level


Have you considered how managing volunteers can help you achieve your professional goals as a nonprofit leader or social entrepreneur? If you ever get the chance to manage a skills-based volunteer, you are presented with a huge growth opportunity.

Here are 3 ways managing a skills-based volunteer can take your career to another, more rewarding, level.

1. Develop and refine your skills

No matter what the stage of your career, there is always more room to grow! Identify a challenge that you are facing in your day to day work. Maybe you’d like to learn excel or how to pitch your organization or how to improve the content on your blog. Once you know what area you need support in, create a short term project out of it. Set a specific end goal or deliverable that you’d like to generate and outline steps that you’ll need to take with a volunteer to reach that goal. It can also be really helpful to outline a rough timeline. (If you need help outlining a project, check out these tips). Reach out to your current network to see if they are interested in volunteering or get support from an organization such as Catchafire, LinkedIn for Good, or Taproot.

Treat each project as a mini course and use each meeting with your volunteer accordingly. Ask questions to learn more about the professionals strategic process, take notice of how they structure meetings and test out new things to get feedback about how you are growing.

2. Gain leadership experience

Developing a relationship with a volunteer is a fun and rewarding experience that tests your management and leadership skills. Managing a skills-based volunteer is a great way to show your manager that you are ready to assume more responsibility.

Consider working on a project that is focused in an area that you would like to assume more responsibility in at your organization to prove that you’ve had some training in the area. Perhaps you are looking to take your marketing to the next level, diversify funding streams or assume a leadership position. You can work with a marketing expert or financial pro or even a leadership coach and at the end of your project, you’ll have a deliverable and experience to show to your manager.

3. Build your cadre of experts 

Who couldn’t use another advisor? When working with a skills-based volunteer, you have the chance to work with someone who is an expert in their subject matter. Approach the project with the mentality that you are building a relationship with a long term advisor and it will most likely end up that way.

At Catchafire, we find that when organizations prioritize giving the volunteer a great experience, they have professionals stay on past the initial project as advisors, donors and advocates. If this happens, use them resource when you need it!

This doesn’t take up much of the professional’s time and can be a total game changer for you. If you’ve ever needed a gut check or just to run an idea by someone, most professionals are more than happy to help you!

The Author

Hayley Samuelson is the Storytelling Officer at Catchafire. Catchafire is the nation’s leading skills-based volunteer platform, connecting skilled professionals who want to use their talents to make a difference with nonprofits who need their help. To find out more, visit www.catchafire.org