- Find the right opportunity for you. A good fit is essential to an overall positive experience. Do you prefer to work in groups or independently? Are you best behind the scenes or in a more visible role? How much responsibility are you prepared to take on? What skills can you contribute? What causes are important to you? Asking yourself these questions can make it easier to find the perfect volunteer opportunity that fits your lifestyle.
- Are you going to volunteer alone or with a group? Make it a team building exercise! Volunteering together can create a tight bond with co-workers. Make team t-shirts and work together to better the community your business serves. Not only do you get to contribute to improving your community, but you will get to know your colleagues outside of work.
- Compare short-term versus long-term volunteer opportunities. Some volunteer positions require a six- to 12-month commitment and may entail a background check, drug screening and/or health screening and will provide you with mandatory training before you start. This is generally required with domestic violence services, suicide hotlines and teen pregnancy help lines. On the flip side, there are also great volunteer opportunities that will only require two hours and a great attitude. These are generally sponsored through community-based groups and information can be located at your town hall or through an Internet search.
- Volunteering is image building. Bear in mind, how you present yourself in your volunteer work should be the same way you present yourself at your place of employment. Being punctual, reliable and professional are
vital! Being in a service related sector you are always branding yourself and your business when you interact with the public. Be sure to make a great impression.
- Determine how many hours a week you can comfortably give to a cause before you speak to the event organizer. The list of volunteers may be short so it is not uncommon for more to be asked of you once you sign up. Do not commit to additional hours if you cannot comfortably fit it into your lifestyle. You are doing a great thing! Do not feel pressured to volunteer for more than your schedule can handle. Make sure you research the commitments that are expected of you in the given opportunity you are considering. Do not be afraid to ask questions!
- Volunteering increases your social skills. By personally connecting with others you are further practicing and refining your social skills. Working together to achieve a common goal requires effective communication and the ability to play well with others. These skills can easily translate into both your personal and professional life, bringing further personal enrichment.
- Volunteering builds relationships. By working next to others in your community you will build a network of local people. Volunteering in the area you live and work can heighten your presence in the community and bring awareness to your spa and your services. Conversations amongst strangers usually start with “So... what do you do for work?” I recommend taking business cards with you when working a large community group project.
- Volunteering increases self-esteem and fights depression. Feeling a little down? Volunteering can boost your feel good chemicals! Helping others is very self-fulfilling and getting out in your community and connecting with others is a great mood booster! Many skin care professionals are nurturing; it comes naturally to give of ourselves. With volunteering you get back a profound sense of purpose and well-being. These things
- Volunteering can be great for business! Aestheticians are natural healers! Once people hear what you do for work they will surely ask you all about it. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising you can never buy.
- Not sure where to start? The “Look Good… Feel Better” programs are a well known volunteer program for skin care professionals as they are able to use their existing skill set to help people suffering the effects of cancer and medications. Contact your local hospital for details on their program. Some additional places to look for opportunities are: senior centers, rotary clubs, places of worship, and your city’s town hall.
Volunteering is rewarding and fulfilling on many levels. You will come away from your experience with a broader understanding of your community, the people in it and yourself. No matter how big or small your contribution, your time is a precious gift and using it to help others is a great choice!
Kimberly Czelusniak is a licensed aesthetician, makeup artist, beauty blogger, business development consultant and entrepreneur. With over 20 years of experience as a business development consultant to spas and physicians Czelusniak has educated and mentored thousands of skin care specialist and has presented on medical aesthetics at regional and national conferences. She is the founder and author of the new to launch website www.skincareguruforyou.com an informational website for consumers to get real, honest, expert advice and vital information regarding their skin care choices.