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Volunteering in Our Community

One of the best ways of networking is volunteering for a chamber of commerce committee, a non-profit organization, or a networking group.  By volunteering we network to grow our businesses. Volunteering also exposes us and our businesses to many potential new clients.  Through our involvement in the community, we also expose ourselves to people who may very well turn into strategic alliances who will help us develop better-qualified prospects and more referrals.

What does it mean to be a volunteer?  Webster says, “Volunteer:  A person who enters or offers to enter into any service of his own free will.”  Does that say it all?  You bet it does!  At the same time this definition often causes a disconnect.  This definition says nothing about follow-through.  Follow-through tells us that when applied to volunteering, we must do what we say we will do.  The reason a business owner or business professional must follow through, as a volunteer, is that there is a transfer of identity from our position as a volunteer to our commitment in business.

When volunteering in a social setting, it is tacitly understood that a volunteer might not show up for an appointment.  A volunteer in a social setting may not do what he or she promised to do.  Surprisingly, this lack of commitment and follow-through is often accepted when volunteering in a social setting.  The old saying is, “We are only volunteers.  We are not being paid for our service.”  Agree or disagree, this is common place in our society today.  However, professionals must commit to volunteer responsibly, then reliably perform.  When a volunteer volunteers responsibly, the volunteer can then expect to receive a positive reputation in the community.

As business professionals, there is a huge difference in how we are perceived compared to our individual roles in our communities.  A business professional’s word is our bond.  When we say we will do something, we better do what it is we said we are going to do.  We, as professionals, must deliver because our business reputation is on the line.

For example, if we say we will hold a sub-committee meeting at a designated hour, we must be sure to be on time.  If there needs to be a change in meeting time or location, we give committee members advance warning.  Most professionals book appointments a week in advance.  Some professionals have bookings months in advance.   Be considerate.  Never change a meeting with less than 24 hours notice.  Once we, as leaders, get a reputation of being considerate of our committee members’ time, we will have an abundance of recruits.  This reputation will also transfer to our business dealings.

The reason we must deliver on our promises is that when we deliver, we are sending a message.  The message sent is, ” We will do business with clients and strategic alliances the same way we do volunteer work.”  The message is very clear:  “If a business professional chooses not to deliver as a volunteer, that professional probably will not deliver when giving a business promise.”

When volunteering, I often hear people ask the question, “Can they deliver on all that they promise?”  The surprising answer is that when the individual who takes on the greatest volunteer loads, and then delivers, that individual receives instant credibility.  The credibility goes directly to his or her business.  Please be clear, we never take on more than we can handle. We do not over load our to do list with commitments we will not complete.  However, if we want to be recognized quickly, we do the things that no one else will do and do them well.

Take the plunge.  Jump in and volunteer with both feet pumping.  Go out and find the organizations that hit your hot buttons.  Find the organizations that will put you in front of the most qualified prospects and you will get more referrals.  Join organizations to network.  Then volunteer, keeping your commitments.  Deliver on your promises and watch your business referrals and prospects soar.

 

Gerry Rose runs INTEGRITY Networking Solutions in Marana, AZ.  He works with people in business who want to attract the right prospects and generate more referrals.  More than 10,000 businesses have been presented the INTEGRITY Networking Solutions system in San Diego, Riverside, Orange Counties, California and now in Arizona.

Gerry’s stimulating presentation Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals is ideally suited for small business owners, home-based businesses, and independent professionals who want clearer direction and want to attract more prospects, develop dynamic systems, and strengthen their companies’ accountability.  Gerry does one on one consulting, conducts a range of keynote speeches from thirty minutes to full-day education workshops.

His book series, Unlimited Prospects, Unlimited Referrals, are available on the website, www.integritysd.com.

Gerry has more than 20 years’ experience directing business owners how to grow their businesses.  He is a networking dynamo.  Those who know him will assure you that he does a great job of bringing people together—which is why he started Integrity.

Involved with networking organizations since 1984, Gerry is a Distinguished Toastmaster, a member of Toastmaster International, and has chaired numerous chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.

To contact INTEGRITY Networking Solutions for availability and information, call/text 760-439-4623.  You can contact Gerry by mail at 5107 W. Wild Burro Spring Drive, Marana, AZ 85658,  e-mail to gerry@integritysd.com.  For more information, go to www.integritysd.com

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