Amid the ambitious agendas of Chapters, Student-run Firms and committees, the scales of time tip and downtime becomes a distant memory. Throughout the course of the year, the need to re-energize, refocus and reconnect becomes essential to success. What is the best way to motivate members and make a significant impact? Volunteer.
Volunteering epitomizes the PRSSA mission of enhancing education, broadening networks and launching careers. Nonprofit organizations are always in need of volunteers in a variety of areas, and the opportunities and experience volunteering provides are beneficial to both the Chapter and the individual member.
Lindan Noel, a former PRSSA member and current communications and marketing coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Louis Chapter, discovered her passion and found a career through her Chapter’s volunteer work. Noel now uses her passion for philanthropic organizations to show current PRSSA members how volunteering can help increase member engagement, maximize local opportunities and strengthen Chapters.
When it comes to increasing member engagement, she says to match the skill to the person. “Look at their skill set and see where they can have an impact,” said Noel. “Most volunteers are looking to make a difference.” As with any team initiative, if members feel valued, appreciated and useful, they are more likely to be engaged.
Volunteer opportunities are also a great way to partner with other student organizations. Take advantage of diverse skill sets and give each volunteer respect.
“Volunteers give their time and energy and can do more than stuff envelopes,” said Noel. “Most organizations are begging for skilled volunteers in a variety of areas.”
Don’t be afraid to reach out to nonprofit organizations in your community. A simple search will yield numerous results.
“Even if they don’t have a need that directly reflects your skills/major you should still volunteer,” said Noel. “[Volunteering] could build a relationship that could lead to you using your skill set at a later date.”
PRSSA is much larger than any individual goal or aspiration. Each Chapter is full of talented individuals whose skills can benefit not only the Chapter, but an organization in need. Volunteering provides the opportunity build awareness, develop skills and as Noel says, “Be a light to the world.”
David Gallaher is a senior studying corporate and institutional media and public relations at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Follow him on Twitter @dsg25 or connect on LinkedIn.