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  • Writer's pictureCindy McGrath

Can you sum up why you volunteer with an organization? 3 considerations for why it’s important

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

Volunteering and creating connections
3 Reasons Why It's Important to be able to sum up why you volunteer with an organization

Last week I attended a Friends of League School Board meeting and each person was asked to tell their story about why they became involved with the school. It took me a minute, but I was able to articulate why I joined and why I continue to stay involved with the school and its mission of helping students with autism excel to their fullest potential.

Each person in attendance had a unique story to tell, and those stories helped us relate to one another. Through this experience, I realized three reasons why it’s important to be able to tell the story of why you volunteer with an organization:

1) People like to do business with professionals they know and respect

By telling your story, you are connecting with other people, which helps make you stand out in a crowded field of experts. As marketing extraordinaire Mark Schaefer says in his book, Marketing Rebellion, the most human company wins. Where you volunteer helps define your passions.

It’s easy for people to understand why I’ve been involved with the New England Employee Benefits Council for 18 years – 10 as a Board of Directors member. NEEBC’s mission is to advance knowledge and facilitate networking for employee benefits professionals. This fits in with my career, which has been devoted to providing quality healthcare benefits at affordable costs. I’m acutely aware that rising costs could mean more people don’t have access to health care. NEEBC provides forums to help industry professionals discuss and learn about innovative programs and tools to continue to provide that care.

Brand Ambassador
You're an ambassador to the organizations where you volunteer

2) The bottom line is that you’re an ambassador to these organizations

One of your responsibilities as a Board member or volunteer is to promote the organization. One of your duties is to be able to quickly communicate what the organization does, why it’s worthwhile, and what’s its unique selling proposition.

When I was asked to join the Friends of League School Board, my first thought was that the Board Chairman was asking the wrong family member. My husband has deep expertise in pre- and secondary-school education, including for those with disabilities. I, on the other hand, have dedicated a good portion of my career to the healthcare and employee benefits industry. I soon realized it was how my skills complemented those of other Board members that were most needed.

With each interaction with the school, I became an even bigger cheerleader of its innovative programs, committed staff, and strong management team. It’s a joy to support excellence in autism education and to learn about the unique challenges faced by families with children on the autism spectrum. It’s given me new perspectives for my work in the healthcare and benefits industry, and it’s been valuable to get out of my comfort zone.

Time is ticking
How do you want to spend your limited time on Earth?

3) How do you want to spend your limited time on Earth?

One of the universal lessons of the pandemic is that our time on Earth is limited. People are now choosier about how and where they work and spend their free time. Fewer people are willing to endure the time-suck of a long commute. More employees are saying “no” to round-the-clock access. Making time for family and friends is now at the top of most people’s schedules.

One of my other volunteer activities is delivering books to patrons who can’t get to the Morrill Memorial Library. The women I help are at the end of their lives. They aren’t fans of using or don’t have access to technology for reading, but they relish a good book.

I also love reading, and it’s a joy to share this passion with others. Visiting with these women gives me a new appreciation for my mobility and is a breath of sunshine. How do you choose to volunteer your time? I look forward to hearing from you.

Cynthia McGrath helps businesses connect with their employees and customers through strategic marketing communicatio


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