Wednesday, October 4, 2017
By John A. Matelski, Fuel President
The very definition of volunteerism is a service act of one’s own free will – without financial compensation. Giving your time, talents and skills as a Fuel volunteer can be rewarding and daunting! While we all look for the appropriate work/life balance, volunteering actually helps promote that balance. As a leader volunteer for various user groups since 1997, I have had the pleasure of serving others, while leveraging this engagement for personal, professional and organizational growth. With that in mind, here are the top 10 outcomes based on the values of volunteerism.
10. It's good for you – Studies show that volunteering provides physical and mental rewards, including reducing stress. Experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts tension-producing patterns and can make you healthier.
9. It saves resources – Volunteering provides valuable services, with access to a broad range of knowledgeable thought leaders and solutions that can save you and your organization money. The lessons learned and best practices obtained through volunteerism and user group engagement will save you time and resources to be reinvested in other things.
8. Volunteers gain professional experience – People already working in your field are great sources for job openings, affinity organizations, and a means of expanding your network. Volunteering will help you develop new job skills and apply current skills in new ways. I have leveraged my various leader volunteer roles throughout the years to enhance my knowledge, add benefit to the organization that I am working for, and enhance my leadership skills to help grow into the CIO position.
7. It unites people with a common goal – As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to engage with people from diverse backgrounds, industries and geographies, all working toward a common goal. Active engagement in the Fuel community, specifically, promotes the common goal of security awareness and activism. The diverse Fuel volunteer community is comprised of security professionals across many job functions including, but not limited to system administrator, network engineer, systems analyst, DBA, system architect, Director, and C-Level.
6. It promotes personal growth and self-esteem – Understanding what your community needs helps foster empathy and self-efficacy, which leads to personal growth. When we consciously get involved, our knowledge and understanding of life expands, opportunities open up, and self-esteem is enhanced.
5. Volunteering strengthens your community – As a Fuel volunteer, it is important to find areas that ignite your passion. From there, you can contribute thought leadership and experiences for the betterment of the overall community.
4. You expand your knowledge – Through working with people in other industries, you learn about the functions and operation of other industries. By engaging with people from other regions and countries, you can expand your localized knowledge into a more global view. You have the opportunity to learn and enhance not only your technical skills, but also soft skills as well.
3. You get a chance to give back – People like to support community resources that impact themselves or others they care about. The beauty about volunteering is that you can share your knowledge with others, while learning from them. Volunteerism provides you with the opportunity to “Pay it Forward” – and to grow others within the user group or your company.
2. Volunteering encourages community responsibility – Community service and volunteerism are ultimately an investment in our communities, people and companies we represent. Helping break down the disconnect between the individual and the community is valuable to strengthening the community. Reciprocally, strengthening the community through engagement increases the amount of active participation within the community.
1. You will make a difference – Every person counts! Whether you volunteer behind the scenes or take on a leadership role YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. There are so many ways to get involved. Please look at the volunteer opportunities we have available and sign up today!
Cornelius Nepos, a Roman biographer and philosopher once stated, “sui cuique fingunt fortunam,” – which is Latin for “character fashions fate.” The character and strength of the Fuel user group is only as good as the leader volunteers that comprise it. I encourage you to join myself and other thought leaders as we grow and shape our community.