Friday, June 19, 2009

Volunteering for Profit

No, it is not about dollars, at least, not immediately, and it is about doing something for free. But it will be profitable.
I’ve recently joined a networking group, paid the annual fee, attended my first meeting, and waddyaknow? They were asking for volunteers.
Well in my experience volunteering is a great way to meet people, so since I joined the networking group to meet people, why not volunteer, right?
Bonus! The task at hand is to telephone a dozen or so members prior to each meeting, to remind them to come to the meeting.
I can be painfully shy on the telephone, but here is a good reason/excuse to call some people I don’t know, introduce myself by name, and perhaps strike up a short conversation with them.
Life just gets better.
I’m not sure whether I’ll be calling the same dozen people each month, or whether the grouping will change.
If the group remains the same, it is a chance to foster deeper relationships.
If the group changes it’s a chance to make contact with each member of the group.
I just can’t lose!
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
What about the case where a volunteer organization wants you to contribute the service that you charge your paying clients for (accounting, marketing, technology, etc.) With paying clients you can give them as much service as they are willing to pay for. With paying clients, I don't say no. I say, "It will cost this much," and let them decide yes or no. With volunteering, you run into, "If it's free, I'll take 10." Drew Mathers
If the AIC (a special-interest group of which I am a member) wants me to spend an hour a month doing what I do best ("Hitting the phones"), then I'll do that, even 'though it is something I could get paid for by client. If the AIC wants me to clean up a couple of dozen documents to a consistent format, I'll do that too, even 'though I can get paid big bucks for doing 80,000 documents at a time for a law firm (these are unashamed plugs for my business!).
Donating my time and/or services is by definition a give-away.
It is when the load on this "volunteer" exceeds some well-defined number of hours or dollars that I should dig in my heels.
In the article above I was trying to convey the impression that rolling up one's sleeves was a lot more fun that sitting in a chair, and I feel sure that you know that.
I have been approached by non-profit organizations who, on the basis of their non-profit status think that I should donate my services. I say no, because I reason that they have enough cash to rent a large office and pay a salaried staff of four. They have an operating budget. I have no separate office and no salaried staff. I feel that the money should flow towards me in these cases, not away from me.

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