Harness the The Power of the Pro Bono

The last two months, we’ve discussed strategies for maximizing the impact of your ‘No Budget Marketing’ campaign – harnessing the ‘Power of the Pen’ and the ‘Power of the Platform’. Now, let’s turn our attention to a third – and much less obvious – set of strategies: Harnessing the ‘Power of the Pro Bono’. Said another way – Strategic Volunteering.

Why Volunteer at all?

Whether you’re marketing the products or services of your employer or your own business or just simply enhancing your image and value to the people you work for and with, the Power of the Pro Bono can be a simple, quick and no-cost self-marketing strategy. Effectively done, it can help accomplish several important goals for you:

  • Creating positive exposure for yourself as a caring and giving professional; very positive reflection on your employer.
  • Producing positive name recognition and credibility.
  • Creating tools that can showcase your skills if you produce a newsletter, brochure, video or event. You can even win an award for your work.
  • Helping you learn new skills or enhance existing skills in leadership, project management, writing or presenting.
  • Making you feel very good about yourself by doing the right thing and helping a worthy professional, civic or charitable group.
  • Stroking your creative ego and professional self-esteem by being involved with something worthwhile, creative and fun.

Where do you volunteer?

There are lots of effective platforms for strategic volunteer activity. Be creative and think outside of the usual box.

  • Start with you own industry and the professional associations that support it. Those groups can probably use the help and you can benefit from all you will gain from the experience.
  • Other professional or civic groups you may belong to or where you’d benefit from the exposure. Consider groups that relate to the business of your employer.
  • A charity or non-profit that has personal importance to you or your family.
  • Or, one that is important to your boss, your boss’s spouse, the big boss, the big boss’s spouse, or an important customer.
  • Your college alumni local chapter, veteran’s group, community or school system.

What volunteer activities should you consider?

Strategic volunteer activities are “win-win”: the organization benefits from what you contribute, but you also benefit from what you learn or gain. What special skills or talents can you contribute and showcase beyond simply giving of your time? What skills do you want to learn or enhance? What will give you the kind of exposure you need and want? If you want to enhance or showcase:

  • Leadership or management skills – manage an event or fund-raiser, chair a committee or task force, hold an office or sit on a board.
  • Writing skills – edit the group’s newsletter, write lots of articles for it or write promotional pieces.
  • Creative media skills – coordinate the advertising or PR for the group a major event.
  • Graphic design skills – design or improve their logo, letterhead, brochure or newsletter layout.
  • Web design skills – design or improve their web site.
  • Creative media skills – write or produce a video or media tool that helps them recruit members, raise money or train volunteers.
  • Presentation skills – deliver a presentation, MC an event or serve on their speakers bureau or improve their Power Point presentations.
  • Training or facilitation skills – teach or facilitate classes or workshops for members or leaders.
  • Financial skills – serve as treasurer or audit their books.

As you’ve seen, the Power of the Pro Bono involves simple, quick, no-cost and personally rewarding strategies to promote your image or the image of your employer. The organization wins because you give of your talent, not just your time or treasure. You win because you earn ‘Psychic Income’, gain positive exposure and learn or enhance career-related skills. Give it a try and see how it can add value to your ‘No Budget Marketing’ Tool Kits. It has worked for me for over 20 years.

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