When I was in University I would longingly read through events happening in the city that I wanted to attend, but could not afford. I wanted to learn from the speakers and to start meeting like-minded folks outside of my school bubble. By total fluke, a friend one day asked me to volunteer at an event with her and I ended up having the best experience! From there I started to proactively reach out to event organizers to offer to volunteer. Here are a few tips + tricks for what made it work for me.
What I got out of volunteering
– Learning from the speakers: usually during the speaking portion of the event there isn’t anything to “do” (unless you are live video-ing or tweeting, in which case this still applies!) so you get to be in the room and absorb the learning – so valuable!
– Networking: many of the roles involve greeting or chatting with other attendees. Of course, you need to be mindful of fulfilling your duties and not just diving into deep, long conversations, however every guest appreciates a thoughtful interaction. Come prepared to ask guests a few questions and get to know who they are. If it’s someone you’d like to connect with further, find them on LinkedIn or Twitter later and follow up asking them out for coffee, with the context of having met with them at the event and wanting to connect with them about something specific.
– Building community equity: giving back and being an active participant in one’s community is both really important for your own personal + professional development. It’s also great for starting to be recognized in the community as someone who can be counted on and who contributes. You never know where that will take you!
As an example, I used to volunteer at the FWE Gala over a decade ago and today, I am its new CEO! I have also volunteered for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards for years, and currently sit on their Board of Directors. It’s a great way to get to know an organization and its leaders and to test out whether their values + vision align with yours.
Ways you can volunteer
– Offer to be the front desk or as a registration or greeter
– Coat check service, anyone?
– If you have the skills for it, live tweeting / instagram story-ing
– Writing up a blog post about the event with some interviews from attendees as testimonials
Looking for an event to volunteer at? Join us this Weds + Thurs in Vancouver to support the FWE Odlum Brown Gala and get to know the #FWEmagic
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can join us.