Better than a Paycheck: Why Volunteering and Giving is Worth it!

My experience with volunteering is relatively new in my life. It has given me much pleasure not only working with different kinds of people and organizations, but also using my journalism skills to help out awesome causes and spread their mission around. Many people asked me if I get paid or get anything out of it, and I always smile a bit and say of course there’s no pay, but I DO get something out of it: the experience, and the joyful feeling of completing a project or heightening the organization’s vision.

If you haven’t notice, I am a stress-loving, fast-paced and energetic individual who has a reputation for taking on as many projects and tasks as is physically and mentally possible. I learned more about multi-tasking and the glory of email communication as well as how passionate each organization is with their goals! In turn, in makes you passionate for their goals and see it as a just cause to help out.

Here is a list of my volunteer experiences that are ongoing:

Citiwide Vocational Center

Citiwide Vocational Center logo designed by Katie Corder in 2013.
Citiwide Vocational Center was the first volunteer experience I did using my journalism skills. So many people asked me how I got involved, and, to spread the word, I got involved with Volunteer Match. Citiwide was in need of a massive website clean-up and social media management. What’s nifty about volunteering for Citiwide is that they are located in Washington, D.C., and I am located in the Raleigh area, so I had to rely on email and phone communication with the founder. Citiwide Vocational Center offers computer training (hardware and software), GED completion, and other training related to career prep for technical jobs; it prepares residents for the computer workforce by offering them classes, skills and other educational opportunities.

My actions involved creating a new logo and name change, cleaning up a TON of HTML and CSS code on their WordPress site, organizing links and content, and revamping their social media accounts. I plan on continuing to volunteer for this amazing group whenever they ask for my services and hope to meet them face-to-face whenever I make it up to the D.C. area!

Health 2.0 NC Triangle

Health 2.0 NC RTP logo.Health 2.0 NC Triangle is my most recent and growing volunteer experience. I became involved with this chapter of Health 2.0 by attending a Sapient networking event in Morrisville, NC. I met Brent Anthony at the event, and he explained his idea of starting a Health 2.0 chapter in the RTP area. What place in North Carolina would be better than the Triangle for such an organization? It was a brilliant plan, and it continues to grow by attracting healthcare professionals, medical doctors, health data analysts, health communicators, students and anyone else interested in health, health IT news and ideas.

Since becoming part of the CORE group of Health 2.0 NC Triangle, I witnessed the group growing from four people to well over 200! My role involved reaching out to the community using social media—mainly Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Google+, yet no website is available yet for our chapter (it’s in the works though!) As of now, I assist in communicating events, news and other topics on social media as well as photograph and live Tweet at events. We had our introductory event, “Blazing the Trail,” as the ‘launch’ of our organization, and it had a shocking turnout of over 110 people! As the group grows along with the upcoming website, I expect to play a more central role in helping this group take off in the fast-paced RTP health community!

All-N’ Together Services

All-N' Together Services logoAll-N’ Together Services was my first non-profit that I became involved with after college. With this organization, I helped lead donation drives for new and used school supplies for low-income, rural N.C. public school students. I’ve been working with them for over a year now and love to collect and buy school supplies knowing they’re going to such an amazing cause. North Carolina’s public schools were recently ranked the lowest in the country for public education, and because of this, students, families and educators need any help they can get more than ever! I learned, and continue to learn, how to motivate and lead people to donate and spread the word, which is great leadership, outreach, and non-profit experience.

Whenever I give donations to the main organizers of this non-profit, I feel an enormous feeling of warmth; however, I always find myself thinking: “I could’ve done more … I could’ve collected more supplies or reached out to more people!” But I tell myself afterwards—every little bit helps. I plan on helping them out once or twice a year for as long as I am able to, which reminds me since you are so lucky to be reading this post … if you are living anywhere in N.C. and would love to donate your used or new school supplies or backpacks PLEASE contact this amazing organization for more information. Any support would be much appreciated!

That about sums up my current volunteering experiences! I donate food as well as clothes to various organizations and groups whenever I get a chance and am looking into volunteering for Habitat-for-Humanity for the first time (I’ve always be curious about it). It just shows that you don’t need a 9–5 job to use your journalistic or communication skills as you can also learn and gain experience with non-profits. There was a study that found that helping out others and volunteering emits greater happiness within you than other things in life ,like materialism or money, and I am not only a believer of that, but am now living it.

Thanks for your interest! 🙂