Last year, I wrote a post for Marketing Pilgrim about ways that marketers can use their skills to give back to the community. With the holiday season already upon us, many people are looking for volunteer opportunities, so this seems like a great time for a quick refresh of that post.
There are, of course, hundreds of opportunities to volunteer in our local communities, from organizations like Habitat for Humanity to the local animal shelter. What I’m focusing on here, however, are opportunities that relate to the field of marketing. That allows you to do good and potentially get the added benefit of a career boost. (More on that below.)
Here are a few options to consider if you want to do some ‘social good’ this season – or anytime:
Media Cause offers paid digital marketing services to larger non-profits, but it also is a community of 1,000+ online marketing volunteers who work with smaller organizations. Started by a former executive of Google, Media Cause matches nonprofits with search marketers who can assist them with SEO, Google Grants and social media.
Volunteer Match allows you to select either local or virtual opportunities. A quick search for marketing needs that can be completed virtually revealed dozens of opportunities.
Idealist has, at the time of this writing, over 2,000 volunteer opportunities in a search for ‘marketing’. The non-profits range from a young musicians’ guild to a fair trade startup.
Many non-profits in your own neighborhood probably sponsor fundraising events throughout the year. For many, these events are a primary source of funding but organizing them can be quite challenging, and ensuring a positive return on investment can be nerve-wracking. Many of these groups would be thrilled to have someone with marketing knowledge help out with their events. Try getinvolved.gov to find information about potential opportunities.
There are chapters of the American Marketing Association in many cities throughout the country that rely on the service of volunteers. Join the AMA and find an opportunity that fits your skills and interests.
Not Just Karma – Volunteering Can Also Be Good for the Career
In addition to the firsthand benefit of doing something good, volunteers who are strategic can also get a boost to their employability. An applicant who has volunteer experience is almost certainly going to be more appealing than one without (all else being equal, of course).
LinkedIn even recently added an option that allows you to list volunteer work. According to an article in the New York Times, that came after a survey showed that “41 percent of employers said they considered volunteer work as important as paid work.”
Media Cause takes the career-enhancing benefits even a bit further by publicly posting thank you messages to volunteers on Twitter and Facebook, and by writing LinkedIn reviews for volunteers who do an exceptional job.
Plenty of Opportunities
Take this opportunity to do some good in the world (and possibly get a resume boost in the process). There are thousands of ways you can help make the world a better place, just using your own unique marketing skills.
If you have any experiences to share or other suggestions for ways to find volunteer opportunities, please drop them in the comments for everyone to share.
Rob Croll is the Program Director for the Internet Marketing Bachelor’s and Master’s degree program at Full Sail University. He also owns Marlannah Digital Marketing, a consulting firm that works with small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Rob was named one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter and has had numerous articles published both online and in print on a variety of Internet marketing topics. You can follow Rob on Twitter @rcroll.