Over the last couple of years Red Bridge has been active volunteering our WordPress web development services to a community organization; reflecting back this has been a positive experience. Here are some takeaways that apply to best approaches and benefits on why volunteering may be a good experience to consider.
Do volunteer work that you enjoy and are good at
Let’s face it if you are working independently or running a business you probably wear many hats and feel you have little time to spare. Having said that, it’s key to sign up for volunteer work that you enjoy and are good at. In doing so you will be working both effectively and efficiently. You’ll be able to pull from your own project experiences which enables you to provide guidance that is sound and constructive.
Set realistic expectations
Be upfront about your bandwidth and set realistic expectations for yourself and for those in your organization or group. At the start I was hesitant to admit that I could only commit to an hour or two on the weekends; once I was upfront about my time availability it eased up a lot of the internal anxiety that stemmed from having to juggle multiple deadlines (and guilt of not being able to do more). Most people are respective of time commitments and are appreciative of all levels of contributions when it pertains to volunteer work.
Be prepared to take the lead
You should navigate your volunteer work in the same fashion you would a client project; be prepared to take the lead and ready to offer your expertise. As with any organization there will be challenges and hurdles to overcome that apply to the website key objectives, functions, etc. and how they are managed by other volunteers. By taking the lead you will undoubtedly provide a positive impact on procedural flow and site management.
Great networking opportunity
Networking tends to happen pretty informally and organically in a volunteer group; it’s definitely low pressure which makes it a great avenue to meet new people. Volunteering in your community helps broaden your support network and exposes you to people with common interests.
Sharpen your skills and build confidence
Volunteering WordPress services is a great way to sharpen your skills. It’s a good opportunity to build upon your experience and essentially spread your wings to try or test new things. If you work independently/remotely in your current web development role it’s also a great way to develop/improve your leadership skills. This was a major incentive when we decided to get going on volunteer work. It’s invaluable and inevitably helps in the confidence department.