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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Seven ways volunteering can pay you back

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It’s well known that volunteering can do good for the community as well as your mental state. One little-known fact is that it can also be good for your business. Don’t believe us? Read on for seven ways volunteering can pay you, and your business, back.

1. Adds experience to your resume. Volunteering within the market that you serve is an excellent way to add on reputable, and recognizable, experience to your career. When talking to a potential client later, you may be surprised to find common ground in a previous volunteer activity and thus, an immediate personal connection.

2. Builds professional contacts. Reaching out can also mean gaining more back than you expected. Working with and around potential clients can undoubtedly open up new business opportunities and expand your next seminar contact list.

3. Develops your communication skills. Interacting face-to-face, or phone-to-phone, is an important part of the advisor-client relationship. Sharpen your people skills by spending time with them and learning to talk about things other than business. In many cases, appearing multi-dimensional is as important as appearing professional.

4. Advertizes you. The people, and potential clients, who see you working as hard as they, will have a good sense what type of person you are. That free advertisement can pay off: turn what they liked about you as a volunteer into what they’ll love about you as an advisor.

5. Encourages recommendations. Remember the advice peddled to those on their first job? Arrive early and be the last to leave. Dedication sticks out to people, and when they encounter someone extraordinary, that person generally gets a lot of good press to anyone who’ll listen.

6. Provides good tips. Volunteering is an excellent way to listen to your target audience and gain a deeper understanding of their wants and needs, without the stuffy pretense of an office. Ask them: What do they look for in an advisor? What are they currently not getting? Spending time with the people you’d like to represent can only result in a better understanding of how to get there.

7. Keeps you ahead of the game. One of the biggest challenges advisors face is integrating innovative techniques with trusted strategies to entice a traditional market. Volunteering is one more way you can approach the idea from a new angle with the anticipation of getting an unprecedented result. Why volunteer? Why follow the leader when you could set the trend?

The next time you pass a flyer for an upcoming soup kitchen, think twice before walking away. Volunteering can mean long hours, no pay, and often being in need of a shower. It can also mean creating a generous civic and professional impact — something your image as a responsible, ethical advisor can always use.