Most high school students and those already in the workforce understand the importance
of volunteer experience on their resumes when interviewing for a job. In fact, a 2016 Deloitte Impact Survey found that 82% of over 2500+ hiring managers prefer candidates who have volunteering experience. After spending a week interviewing high school students for a summer internship position, I noticed one striking commonality among nearly all of their resumes: each candidate listed substantial volunteer experience, but it was hidden among seemingly less important extracurricular activities. When I started to dig deeper with each candidate during the interview, many had interesting experiences in their volunteer work that correlate well to the business world, but these experiences were not well conveyed simply through the formatting on their resumes. So how do those new to the work force effectively write about volunteering on their resume?
Oftentimes, people who are new to the work force think that volunteer experience should be separate from work experience on their resumes. They decide to list it generally within their extra-curricular activities, and it becomes perceived by the interviewer as something you might have participated in a couple of times along with your other clubs and hobbies. However, you should use your volunteer experience to highlight the skills that you have. Your volunteer experience can go in your experience section, or if your work experience section is lengthy, then you can list it in its own dedicated volunteer-work section. If you are going to list your volunteer experience in your experience section, try your best to not list every single volunteer experience you have in that section. Rather, chose to list those opportunities that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If your volunteer experiences aren’t relevant to the job you’re applying for, you should list them in a separate section labeled “volunteer experience”.
Once you have decided which section your volunteer work will go, you can use the general job description formatting that you would use in a work experience section. Here is an example:
While having volunteer experience is necessary for a resume, what is even more critical is displaying the work that you did as a volunteer in a way that shows the type of worker you are. This can be extremely beneficial for high school students as it is likely that they might have more volunteer experience than work experience. When you format your volunteer experiences the same way that you would your work experiences, it shows that you take every position seriously. This simple tip can separate you from the rest of your peers interviewing for the same position.
Most nonprofit organizations have come to understand the value of social media. These platforms enable you to share an inside look at what your nonprofit is doing and the mission you are serving. Social media is also a tool that can be utilized to increase your donor base and to connect with more volunteers. Many nonprofit organizations are increasing their engagement on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok, but they are missing out on arguably one of the most important ones: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world; there are over 690 million active members across the entire globe. The purpose of LinkedIn as a professional networking site is to help people make business connections, share their experiences and resumes, and learn from thought leaders across various industries in the business world. LinkedIn is similar to other popular social media platforms in the sense that it has a continuous feed of content, but LinkedIn’s content centers around business rather than personal matters. What also differentiates LinkedIn from other social media platforms is that less than 1% of users are posting content to their LinkedIn pages on a regular basis. This means that LinkedIn is not oversaturated with content like many platforms are. While most nonprofits maintain a social media strategy on Instagram and Facebook, their strategy undervalues the benefits of utilizing a professional networking platform that can help make connections with prospective partners while also communicating their mission to the greater business world.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for nonprofit organizations because your content is more likely to be seen, but it is also more likely to be seen by the right people. According to research on the platform’s users, LinkedIn members are 56% more likely than the average internet user to donate to charities. This means that being active on LinkedIn allows you to connect with people who likely have disposable income and are more inclined to contribute their time or money than the average user on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Because LinkedIn is underutilized by many nonprofits, now is the time to start prioritizing the platform in your social media strategy to give yourself an edge from the rest of the competition. Here are some tips for how to work LinkedIn in the best way to get visibility for your nonprofit.
Having spent the last year working at a non-profit organization, I know first hand the importance of donors and volunteers - these are the people that make it all happen. Not only do they provide the funding and resources to continue to drive the mission, but they bring a passion and energy that ignites my colleagues and I. In the midst of trying to grow an organization, many leaders of nonprofits get so busy with other things and they forget to prioritize their relationships with their donors and volunteers. A strong relationship with the people who donate their time and money to help your nonprofit is vital to the growth and longevity of your organization.
So how can you strengthen your relationship with your donors and volunteers? First, you need to understand what motivates your donors and volunteers and what does not. Why do these people spend their time or give a significant amount of money to your organization?
At large, people donate to or volunteer at nonprofit organizations because doing good makes them feel good. Scientific studies have actually proven that generosity stimulates dopamine, which creates similar brain activity in the regions connected to the experience of pleasure and reward. However, other things contribute to this want to donate time and money. Oftentimes, your donors and volunteers are mission-driven; they see the need for the work of your nonprofit in their community, and they feel compelled to help. Other times, donors and volunteers have a personal connection to your cause; For example, if your nonprofit organization supports cancer research, maybe a donor or volunteer has been touched personally by the devastating disease and that is why they feel compelled to help.
On the flip-side, it is important to determine the reasoning as to why donors and volunteers stop giving their time and money. The number one reason why donors stop giving is because they do not know how their money is being used. If someone decides to donate a significant amount of money to your organization, they want to know that it is being used to serve the mission. In fact, a study from the Millennial Impact Report claimed that 77% of donors would be likely to stop giving to a nonprofit if they did not feel like the donation was making an impact. Transparency is key, so make sure that your nonprofit organization is sharing where exactly the donor’s money is going.
So what are some ways you can build and maintain your relationship with your donor and volunteer base? Here are a few ideas:
1. Say THANK YOU - Write a handwritten thank you note to your donors and volunteers. While it may be a small gesture, a handwritten note can go a long way. Make sure your donors know that you appreciate their time and contributions.
2. Utilize Social Media - Social Media is a powerful tool that should be used by all nonprofit organizations. Use different platforms to showcase the awesome things your organization is doing. If donors and volunteers want transparency to where their money is going, then use the power of social media to show photos and videos of what your organization is up to.
3. Ask your donors and volunteers questions - Your donor and volunteer base obviously care about your organization, so give them the opportunity to provide their insight into what they think your organization could be doing better or ways that you could improve.
Most importantly though, remember that your donors and volunteers are more than just a name on a check and a participant in a charitable activity; they see the vision of your mission and they want your nonprofit organization to succeed. Author Tom Ahern said it best: “Donors are not ATM machines. I don't think successful fundraising is about keeping the staff paid and the lights burning. It’s far more about giving your donors a vivid sense that they’re changing the world.”
Corporate Social Responsibility has become an increasingly contentious debate throughout the business world. Should businesses focus solely on scaling to drive profits? Or do businesses have a moral obligation to better their communities?
If you are unfamiliar with the term, Corporate Social Responsibility is defined as a self-regulating business model that helps a company to be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. CSR ensures that a company is operating in a way that enhances society and the environment rather than contributing negatively to it. Businesses and corporations can engage in CSR by giving their employees opportunities to volunteer, implementing environmentally safe processes, or by sponsoring a nonprofit organization.
While this may seem surprising, there is a camp of people who do not think Corporate Social Responsibility is necessary for companies; most notably in this camp is Milton Friedman. Milton Friedman is a famous economist and staunch advocate of free market capitalism. Friedman’s view on Corporate Social Responsibility is most evident in his famous New York Times article titled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.” Milton was vehemently opposed to the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility as he believed that “there is one and only one social responsibility of business to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays in the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition, without deception or fraud.” Friedman argues that the sole focus of business owners and executives should be to provide their shareholders with an increasing return on investment - anything besides this is a waste of time and a detriment to the business. Ultimately, Friedman believed that companies who prioritize CPS will be negatively impacted as shareholders will tend to avoid investing in companies that act socially responsible.
Friedman’s views have received fierce opposition from many throughout the business world. Contrary to Friedman’s economic driven model of CSR, the socioeconomic model argues that corporations and businesses are morally obligated to contribute positively to society. The backbone of the socioeconomic school of thought comes from the Iron Law of Responsibility: “In the long run, those who do not use power in a manner that society considers responsible will tend to lose it.” Milton Friedman wildly undervalued the benefits of CSR as the socioeconomic camp is backed up by significant data that shows that corporations who participate and prioritize Corporate Social Responsibility excel over those who don't. For example, a survey of over 30,000 people from NielsenIQ states that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from socially responsible companies.
This approach to Corporate Social Responsibility has a number of positive implications for companies. First off, a commitment to CSR often leads to increased employee satisfaction. Prioritizing Corporate Social Responsibility shows your employees that you care about the greater community. Through volunteering or sponsoring a non-profit organization, a sense of camaraderie can be built among your employees in the sense that they are working toward something greater than the company and its profits. Secondarily, a byproduct of CSR is a favorable public image. Through social media and public relations, a company's public image can be either a positive or negative asset to a business. By committing to Corporate Social Responsibility, your company will develop a favorable public image that will only help build the brand. Third, CSR leads to increased customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to be loyal to your brand if your corporate values align with their personal ones.
There are a number of companies that have placed an emphasis on CSR and it has added tremendous value to their company. For example, the LEGO Group invested $400 million in September of 2020 to support their social responsibility and sustainability efforts. The company recently signed an agreement to set up its first-ever carbon neutral plant in Vietnam. Additionally, the LEGO Group announced that the LEGO Foundation has committed to a three-year partnership with UNICEF that will invest $2.5 million in providing resources to community based family support programs.
When a corporation makes an honest effort to better themselves and the surrounding community, it adds tremendous value to the company. Triangles Cares is a resource for businesses and corporations in the Triangle area to enhance their Corporate Social Responsibility. Triangle Cares offers opportunities for businesses to work with nonprofits, whether it be by physically mobilizing employees to volunteer throughout the community, or by donating to a specific nonprofit organization. If you think your company needs to step up your commitment to the community, check out our website for more information.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin