How skill-sharing can change the way you think about volunteering
VTeamer Victoria Lai explains how volunteering her skills and expertise helps solve business challenges for nonprofit organizations.
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For Victoria Lai, skill-share volunteering is a passion. Having the chance to use her professional abilities to help a nonprofit organization makes this type of volunteering different from other opportunities, she says. “It was kind of similar to consulting, where you had a business problem, and you had to really work with the business and your team to come up with solutions and recommendations for that issue,” she explains. Lai, a financial planning and analysis consultant in Denver, Colorado, has volunteered more than 70 hours during her five years at Verizon through the Citizen Verizon Volunteers program, devoting much of her service to the program’s human prosperity pillar.
Skill-share volunteers work with nonprofits and other organizations to help them navigate business challenges in areas such as technology, marketing, strategy, human resources, finance, and more. Lai, for example, coordinated with a team of skill-sharing volunteers to develop a digital strategy plan designed to improve the nonprofit’s social media presence. She helped another organization with its member recruitment strategy.
Lai and other VTeamers connected with these skill-sharing opportunities thanks to Verizon strategic volunteer partner Common Impact. The organization links corporate employees to organizations with proven methods for tackling societal issues. As Lai discovered, these unique opportunities to create meaningful change benefit not only the nonprofit, but also the volunteer. “I gained a lot of interpersonal and leadership skills by doing skill-share volunteering work,” Lai says. “I’m applying my mind to different challenges in ways I don't get to in my day-to-day job.”
Skill-share volunteering also provides the opportunity to meet peers from other companies—and even other parts of the world—and to work with colleagues in a new way. "You’re using your business skills to solve a problem and work through it together,” Lai says. “And that’s a huge benefit, knowing you’re leaving a nonprofit with something they can use to further their mission.”
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"You’re using your business skills to solve a problem and work through it together.”
Victoria Lai, VTeamer