As an executive, you probably have quite a few demands on your time and you’re partially responsible for the success of an organization. However, taking time out of your busy schedule to volunteer can yield unexpected benefits.
Fill a Pressing Need
Many executives think of the “end user” when it comes to volunteering. For instance, if you build houses with Habitat for Humanity, your work directly benefits the family who will live in the home you helped construct. However, Stephen Hoare points out in The Guardian that volunteering in your community can also benefit the charitable organizations that bring all these moving parts together.
According to Hoare, EMBAs have risen in demand among charities and non-profit organizations whose proprietors want to structure their organizations like businesses. EMBAs can teach such organizations how to govern themselves more efficiently while staying true to the soul of the mission.
Expand Your Horizons
Of course, executives who volunteer can also gain personal benefits from their activities. PYXERA Global, the non-profit organization responsible for MBAs Without Borders, lists several benefits executives can derive from volunteering, including the opportunity to exercise your skills in an unfamiliar environment.
According to PYXERA Global, EMBAs can learn how to lead more diverse teams and hone their “entrepreneurial instincts” as they work on behalf of the volunteer organization. Essentially, it’s a chance to step outside the boardroom and put your skills to use in new and challenging ways.
Retain Your Unused Skill Sets
When executives perform the same job functions day after day, some of their unused skills can begin to atrophy. Writing for the Huffington Post, marketing expert Simon Tam suggests volunteering as a way to keep your skill sets sharp. A new organization might challenge your expertise in intriguing ways and allow you to update your skills if necessary.
Tam goes on to point out that volunteering can also serve as a prime networking opportunity. You might meet people you would never have encountered from your corner office and you might be able to use those connections down the road to solve a problem or reach a goal in the corporate world.
Even if you’re using every skill in your corporate toolbox, you can still benefit from volunteering your time and energy. Intel’s Revital Bitan suggests that volunteering challenges executives to prove themselves in new ways and to find fresh methods of describing their value.
According to Bitan, many NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and charities have strict interview processes for bringing on new board members or advisors. Since some executives thrive on challenges and competition, this opportunity might awaken some of the qualities that drove you to obtain your EMBA in the first place.
Whether you volunteer in your local community or on a global scale, you’ll find plenty of reasons to feel grateful for the opportunity. Charitable work puts you at the disposal of the people who need you most and allows you to stretch your metaphorical wings outside your typical office setting.
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