Sheila A. Anderson

By Sheila A. Anderson

5 Ways Volunteering Builds Your Personal Brand

5 Ways Volunteering Builds Your Personal Brand 150 150 Sheila Anderson

It’s absolutely true that we are all busier than we used to be. There are many things vying for our attention – from kids and family to our business commitments. In fact, many times it feels down right exhausting. And you are thinking to yourself right this very moment, “so now you are telling me to carve out time to volunteer?” The number one excuse I hear all of the time when I advise people to get involved in their community by volunteering at events or joining a nonprofit board or a service club is “I don’t have time.” As with anything in life, the benefits of how you spend your time must be worth it. Because there are two things the world doesn’t make more of and that is land and time.

How Volunteering Shaped Me

Volunteering was not something I grew up doing much of, nor did I see members of my family doing it. Sure there were the occasional baseball games of my brother’s where we had to work the concession stand, but that was basically it. Other than a few instances like this, I wasn’t exposed to much volunteering.

So when I decided to join a service club in 1995, I was not only busy in both my personal and business lives, but I was about to embark on something that was, quite frankly, way out of my comfort zone. And that’s exactly why I did it.

You see I used to be very shy. I was uncomfortable being in a room full of people I did not know. What would I say to them? How did I go about starting a conversation with someone I knew nothing about? It was paralyzing. Those that know me well always find this fact a bit unbelievable. But that’s the whole point. Being involved with a service club helped me overcome shyness and increase my self-esteem. It was the number one way I was able to grow personally and professionally.

Here are five ways volunteering can help you build your personal brand:

Enhance Skills.

Volunteering can help with many aspects of sharpening your skills or discovering a hidden talent. There might be instances when you will take the lead on a project or lead a committee or board. I do not care how great of a leader anyone is, managing a nonprofit board is always a personal growth opportunity. Besides honing people skills, other skills you may learn include developing a strategic plan, preparing a budget, learning to fund raise, mastering decision making, or marketing an event. The more unique skills you have, the more you differentiate yourself.

Improve Speaking.

It may be as simple as learning not to be afraid to speak up with your ideas in a small group setting, or it may be as big as being the president of a service club and having to speak to a room full of members regularly. There are opportunities at both ends of the spectrum.

For the most part, we are all comfortable talking about what we know very well, but when it comes to speaking about something new to us, this provides an opportunity for growth. As mentioned earlier, I was extremely shy and the thought of standing up in front of others was not something I even saw myself doing.

Now with over 20 years of volunteer and nonprofit board experience – which included serving as the International President for a service club – I have overcome this to the point that I do keynote speeches. If I can do it, you certainly can!

Build Confidence.

Building confidence goes hand-in-hand with learning new skills and becoming more comfortable speaking in front of others. Your confidence will grow when you become better at anything you do.

Develop Empathy.

Empathy is about putting the needs of others before your own. That is what you do when you volunteer. Volunteering demonstrates you care and that you can be sensitive to the needs of others. Giving back teaches you to nurture relationships and take your eyes off of yourself. The atmosphere of volunteering allows you to be open to different views and gain real connections with people, which builds trust. Trust is at the core of every successful business and personal interaction.

Gain Visibility.

When you put yourself out in the community, you will meet new people, thus strengthening your network. Many movers and shakers in your field or community are already volunteering and looking to connect with others. Building relationships is vital to anyone’s success. You may gain new clients or it may lead to new career opportunities. The more you are seen, the more people will think about you for various business, or even personal, interactions.

Building your personal brand by giving back to your community is a powerful win-win. These five areas develop who you are as a person and the value you provide to others. Because in the end, personal branding is about what you bring to others.

I help executives create a powerful image and brand so they look and feel confident wherever they are. Contact me at to schedule a 20-minute call to discuss how we can work together to grow your visibility through my return on image® services.




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