The G(irls)20 team is incredibly excited to be celebrating National Volunteer Week to acknowledge the work of our volunteers; past, present and future! As a grassroots organization, we rely on our engaged community to get the work done.
I want to introduce you to Allie. Allie has been volunteering with G(irls)20 for the past three months and we are grateful for her commitment to the cause and her drive to see the organization succeed. I sat down with Allie to chat about her experiences with volunteering:
Taylor: When you first thought about pursuing volunteering, where did you start? What goals did you create for yourself?
Allie: I first started thinking about where I wanted to work and who I wanted to work for when I graduated from university at the end of last year. I was prospecting for my dream job but instead of clicking apply to postings I was not yet qualified for, I read through staff bios and learned more about each organization’s mission and values. I knew that if I was going to volunteer my time, I not only wanted to develop professional experience but I wanted it align with my own set personal values.
Taylor: How did you first come across G(irls)20 and what made you want to volunteer with the organization?
Allie: I came across G(irls)20 online as I was looking for job opportunities and organizations of interest to me in Toronto. As I explored the website and scrolled down the Instagram page, I found myself feeling really inspired. I knew that if I chose to spend my time volunteering for an organization that promotes equality, supports diversity and empowers women, I would not only be pursuing my passions but, as a young woman entering the work force, I would be surrounded by people who want me to succeed and shatter ceilings.
I eagerly reached out to the G(irls)20 team via email and spoke with a team member about the opportunities available. After learning more about the type of support the team could benefit from, I decided this would be a great next step for me.
Taylor: How have you found value in your time with G(irls)20 so far?
Alli: There are SO MANY ways I have found value in volunteering with G(irls)20. I have been a community outreach and fundraising volunteer for 3 months now. At the beginning of this experience, I was a clean slate, starry-eyed and hungry to learn anything and everything the team could teach me. After a few weeks of getting my hands dirty that, I realized I was learning a lot about myself through the work I was doing. I decided I needed to set clear objectives for
myself and determine what exactly I wanted to get out of this experience.
- I wanted to develop my current skills and learn new ones
- I wanted to broaden my network
- I wanted to gain professional experience
- I wanted to see if this career path is indeed the path for me
- I wanted potential part-time or full-time work
I have started to meet some of these objectives and will continue to work hard to achieve my personal and professional goals. I think the thing I value most is the fact that through volunteering, I have figured out what I am good at, what I enjoy most and what motivates me. These are lessons I will take forward with me as I continue to navigate my career path and seek work that connects with my passions and values.
Taylor: What is your biggest takeaway from this volunteer experience? What do you want to share with others who are looking to volunteer?
Allie: In my time volunteering with G(irls)20, I have been exposed to a fast-paced work environment with multiple stakeholders. The inspiring women I am meeting, the connections I am making and the skills I am developing are invaluable. Here are some of my biggest takeaways so far:
- Take initiative.
- No one is going to hand you the perfect job opportunity
- Do your research, learn about the organizations out there and determine why certain ones grasp your interest
- Seek out your dream employer and make yourself available and indispensable
- To avoid burnout, make it matter.
- Pursuing your passions will help fuel your fire to keep you motivated
- If you are personally invested in what you are working on, you will try harder to make it the best it can be
- Know how to draw your own boundaries whether that is volunteering only on certain days or being in the office for shorter days. It’s important to stay balanced and to have time for yourself.
- Dive in head first.
- You have nothing to lose! Try new things and don’t be afraid to ask questions – but make sure you listen closely to the answers!
- Ask for new opportunities to challenge your current skill sets.
- It’s about who you know.
- Leverage the relationships that you’ve made while volunteering and maintain those connections.
- Keep in touch – follow the organization’s newsletter and media.
- Attend events to network yourself.