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If you’ve ever wondered how you can put your skills to work for more than just your pay check read this

I recently had lunch with a journalist. It was a general catch up with no particular agenda. As a Comms Pro it pays to maintain good relationships with influencers of course, so I do this kind of thing a lot. What was different on this occasion was how I left the lunch; in a word – inspired.

I won’t name the journo for fear of embarrassing a man who strikes me as being remarkably humble, but suffice to say, a few of you will probably join the dots. If you do and at the end of this Blog post you feel like I did – whereby you are encouraged in your ability to direct your energy and time to causes that make a difference to more than just the bottom line, then I won’t feel too bad about it.

You see, I think I fall into the bracket of most who question how much value they could add to people in need because we don’t have any practical skills like medicine or construction. I was amazed to hear over this lunch however agencies all over the world are in fact clamouring for talent from those of us working in professional services. This revelation was even in spite of me having done quite a bit of research a few years ago when I did some volunteer work in India.

What impressed me most about this was the fact that it seemed to bode so well to short-term contributions online. When I did my research originally, I found it a challenge to find organisations that could offer you opportunities that still fit in with your current skills and life. The program I refer to is the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.

UNV is the UN organisation that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide and is increasingly using tools like crowd-sourcing to connect agencies with volunteers. The idea is to transform the pace and nature of development and it has remarkable benefits to the individual and the broader community. Although UN Volunteers from diverse professional and technical backgrounds are always in demand, there are particular areas of expertise where potential volunteers with relevant backgrounds and skills are more frequently requested. This is the good bit!

You plug into an online network which seeks to utilise your experience and willingness by tasks, development opportunity and region. What I found compelling was the fact the kinds of things they are after are:

  • Writing and editing
  • Design
  • Project development and management
  • Training and coaching
  • Translation
  • Research
  • Consulting
  • IT development
  • Coordination and facilitation

So, if you are a Comms Pro like me, I guess I’d encourage you to consider it. Such a cool concept and while we can’t all be Doctors without borders, we can contribute. And often, it doesn’t even mean leaving your living room. So if this does seem interesting to you, why not register? I just did and there’s nothing particularly special about me. Have to love an inspiring lunch!

– My name is Aaron Crowther. Follow me on Twitter @ascommstweeter

One thought on “The age of the e-volunteer

  1. Pingback: Where to look when you need inspiration |

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