As president of AIGA Richmond, Protozoa Design’s owner found herself constantly explaining the benefits of volunteering. Getting involved does yield tremendous results but over a period of time. The instant result comes from knowing you’re doing something to help your community.
Yet far too often, we get wrapped up in the here and now. The “what’s in it for me?” If you don’t see immediate results, it falls by the wayside.
Attending an event every now and then or volunteering once every six months simply doesn’t cut it. You’re not going to garner results from one days worth of time donation. Networking has shifted from the hard sell and business card handout. It’s about building relationships and thus cultivating confidence. Being regularly involved provides familiarity, reliability and illustrates dedication. These are all solid attributes in building sustainable professional contacts.
Aside from when you were 8 years old, did you ever make a best friend after one meeting? No. You got to know other kids and build friendships on a daily basis. That hasn’t changed.
Separating yourself from that immediate tangible is paramount to a long lasting investment. Sure you get involved hoping you’ll get something out of it—a new client or a new job. That’s fine. But don’t expect it to happen over night. Get involved and go in with the attitude to have fun and be a part of something greater than yourself. Take that as you’re immediate satisfaction. The other stuff will come in due time, perhaps as a trickle or maybe a flood. Genuine dedication and enthusiasm for the greater good is not only infectious, it’s inspiring. It makes you feel good and in turn others feel it too. That is what people will remember and take away from working with you and spread to others.
Before you know it, you’ll have friendships you can’t live without, a reputation that exceeds your known circle and a line of businesses wanting to work with you. In addition to a stronger and more vibrant community thanks in part to your hard work. What can be better than that?
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