Why should you Volunteer your Skills?

Our skills are one of our most important professional assets. They open up a world of opportunities for us, enabling us to get the jobs we want, helping us to excel at them and letting us advance our careers in our chosen directions. So, kudos to all our skills! We should all be thankful for them.

On a different note, let’s focus on the realm of charity, volunteering and helping others. It’s very common (and helpful) to donate valuable, physical items such as money, food and shelter as a way to help.

But, do you know that intangible assets are also a very important source of value? Intangible assets like your time and skills can be donated, allowing you to help others in a variety of ways!

Why should you volunteer your skills?

Volunteering is a greatly fulfilling activity that can offer a variety of rewards, both to the volunteers and those receiving your help.

Volunteering your skills has the following advantages:

  • It gives you an opportunity to practise and further enhance your skills.
  • Practising them outside of your usual work environment/comfort zone can help you become more confident in them.
  • You will expand your skillsets by practising your communication and interpersonal skills – you will have to use them while connecting with others and teaching them your trades.
  • You will expand your network and meet likeminded people!
  • You can become better known within your field of expertise.

And on top of these advantages, remember that you will positively impact the lives of others! This point in itself is more than enough, right? ⭐

What skills should be volunteered?

When we talk about skills, many of us tend to think about technical or “hard” skills. But interpersonal (or “soft”) skills are equally if not more important.

When talking about volunteering your skills, there really is no limit as to which ones you can donate to others. It’s just a matter of finding the right person for the skill that you have on offer.

Pedro gives free seminars to starting food truck owners, giving them advice on how to set up their businesses.

How can your skills help others?

I’m glad you asked 😉! I will use the following scenarios to give you an idea of how your skills can be put to their best volunteering use.

Example 1

You are: a digital marketer with experience in increasing traffic towards websites.

HOW and WHO can you help: You can offer free (or very cheap) consulting services to small/starting businesses who need to improve their website traffic (more traffic means more potential clients for them).

Your expertise and advice won’t cost you a thing (apart from your time), but will be extremely valuable to those you help.

Karen volunteers her web design expertise to help Mimi create a website for her small business.
Example 2:

You: an HR manager with extensive recruitment experience.

HOW and WHO can you help: You can provide interview practise sessions to people who are looking for jobs. You can advise them on how to improve their interviewing skills, helping them to navigate the job-hunting world in a more efficient way.

Just like the example above, this exercise wouldn’t cost you much, but it could certainly make a big impact on those job hunters who really need to land their next job.

How to find out which skills you can offer?

In order to answer this, I suggest you ask yourself what are your top skills. Once you know them, figure out how in demand and how profitable are they. How easy/difficult and how cheap/expensive are they to learn? Also, how transferable are they?

I recommend you to list them out in a way that will let you analyse them and decide who would benefit the most from having access to them.

For example, you can use a table like the one below to list out your skills and figure out who would be your best audience for them 🙌.

SkillHow in demand is this skill?Is the skill accessible and easy to learn?Who can benefit from this skill?
Website creation and managementVery in demand, specially in COVID times where lots of activities need to be done remotely/via internetDepends on the previous skills of the person. Small/starting businesses that need to improve (or create) a website to reach their customers

Now that you’ve focused on your top skills, what if I asked you to dig a little deeper and think of all your other skills (you can skip this part if you like).

Are there things you wouldn’t necessarily consider a skill? For example, being able to speak in your native language: while you might not think of this as a skill, there will be others who want to add your language to their skillset (for example, non-native speakers wanting to increase their job opportunities).

If you’ve found extra skills that you didn’t initially add to your list, why not add them now and think of all the people that could benefit from them?

Where to volunteer your skills? Who can benefit from them?

Now that you’ve narrowed down your skills and thought about who can benefit from them, it’s time to marry your offer with the demand that’s out there.

For example, did you decide you can provide free consulting hours on a specific subject? If so, you can start by advertising your free hours within your local community, on a related Facebook group or through your friends and colleagues. Put yourself out there letting people know that you are willing to help.

Katie offered her fashion design expertise through a Facebook group. Theresa and her colleagues took Katie’s consulting offer to improve their women’s clothing business.

Another option is to search for organizations that provide similar services to the ones you are willing to offer.

For example, if you want to use your native English speaking skills to help others practise theirs, you can search for organizations that are already aiming to provide such services, and ask them if you can volunteer with them.

An organization that offers such opportunities for women to improve their English conversation skills is ELBA in East London. Just like them, there must be many others that will be tailored to the skills that you have on offer!

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has helped you realise how wealthy you are in terms of skills! (Yes, you can give yourself a well deserved pat on the back now!).

And hopefully, it has also shown you that there are a variety of ways in which we can put our skills to the service of others.

I hope you found this to be a motivating article and that you use this motivation to positively impact the lives of others!

If you’d like to leave me a note, do so in the comments section below. Thank you!

Ana Milana

2 Comments

  1. Really good ideas! We all should aim to look after each other.

  2. Great article Ana! Never thought about donating skills but it got me thinking 🙂

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