Build your business skills and serve your community

Joining a community service organization can be a great way to sharpen and build new business skills. Should you join one just to add some items to your resume? Probably not, but I bet you if take the time to engage in service projects that help out your community, you’ll get something in return too. So here are some skills that I picked up or improved through some of the organizations I’ve belonged to.

Email marketing and managing online shared documents: I’m the Membership VP of my local property owners’ association. We have around 1,000 active membership accounts to keep track of in a database of over 8,000 potential members. We had previously sent spreadsheets back and forth with new changes and edits, but I got the Board “on board” with using Google Drive to store the master list. It took some getting used to by some (I’ll just say it – older) members of the Board, but now that it’s there, everyone is much happier than having to keep track of which spreadsheet is which. We also needed to keep in touch with all of these members, so I used the Constant Contact email campaign platform to manage all of those emails (I’ve ended using Mail Chimp for my business, but it’s pretty similar). From these services, I learned about email tracking and analytics, which I’ve used in my business to determine what kind of emails get read and which don’t. A nice resume line for this might be “Created an online membership management database and improved the newsletter email read rate through use of analytics”

Social Media: For my Lion’s Club, I manage our Facebook page and website. I got drafted to do this since I’m the youngest member of the club, and the rest of the members decided I must “just know” how to set this stuff up. As far as the website went, I really didn’t, but it was easy enough to search for and pick out a website online service. What I did really have to learn was the analytics – who was looking at our website and from what source. That helped us figure out how to best advertise our events. Our club also authorized some advertising funds for some of our events on FB and I learned a lot about “like” farms and how to target a good ad campaign there (bottom line, unless you really target your audience, you get a lot of fake responses to your ad). Again, good stuff for your resume, i.e. “I created a successful social media campaign for my non-profit group on a limited budget”

Proposal (grant) writing: I’ve done some proposal writing for grants for all of the organizations I’ve been involved with. Just like the jobs I mentioned above, if volunteer to do something in a service organization, it’s pretty likely no one is going to dissuade you, and it’s especially the case if you’re trying to get free money. I don’t know if there are lots of lessons I’ve learned from writing proposals and grant requests, except for make a checklist or required items and check it twice. Otherwise it seems like some luck and hoping that lots of other organizations don’t submit proposals, too. But it’s worth it to try – I’d say that authoring a couple of winning proposals is one of the better things you can put on a resume from this list.

So, aside from the benefits to your community and the people you’re helping, volunteering can be good for your resume and business, too! Make it a win-win and find a worthy cause to help out with today!

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