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Volunteering is the new work

Think volunteering is all about stuffing envelopes and packing lunches? Think again.

There has never been a more energized call to volunteer service than what we are experiencing today. Fueled by The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, as well as the work of phenomenal groups like America First, Be The Change, Civic Ventures, and others, the profile of volunteerism has been raised.

A few of the factors impacting the professionalism of volunteering include:

  • A dramatic increase of opportunities, including a tripling of Americorps opportunities beginning in 2010 and the creation of a $10 million Volunteer Generation Fund, as part of the Serve America Act.
  • The trend of Baby Boomer aged adults looking to lend their professional skills on a volunteer basis to nonprofits, as well as the formation of Senior Corps, a $220.9 million project to support nearly 500,000 Senior Corps volunteers.
  • The existence of volunteer programs, such as the Taproot Foundation, connecting nonprofit with in-demand professionals with backgrounds in corporate marketing, communications, and strategic management.

What does this mean for jobseekers? There are now tens of thousands of opportunities for those with professional and in-demand skills available in the nonprofit sector, with even more to become available in the near future. For many, these opportunities not only allow you to gain more experience in the nonprofit sector, but also lay the groundwork for employment opportunities.

Professional volunteering is an especially compelling option for sector switchers, or those new to the nonprofit sector. According to Robert Rosenthal of VolunteerMatch, “A challenging volunteer gig can be an important career move. Workers from a broad array of industries are being challenged to rethink how they contribute to society, and more and more of these folks are finding that volunteering is a great way to stay sharp, develop new expertise, and demonstrate the leadership that will carry them to their next professional challenge.”

We couldn’t agree more.


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