Project Practitioners > Why project managers should volunteer

Why project managers should volunteer

By Nova Rose

Why should we volunteer? Of course it gives a warm fuzzy feeling inside, a certain level of contentment as we drift off to sleep knowing that we have spent time doing something for the greater good expecting nothing in return. Also, there are PMI professional development units to be gained for such noble, selfless efforts.

Believe it or not, there are some real advantages to spending your time and energy working for no pay.

  1. Volunteering looks great on a resume. No one can deny the fact that employers are usually impressed, and rightfully so, by acts of kindness prominently displayed on the one-pager of your life.
  2. People seeking to gain PMI credentials are allowed to use projects on which they have volunteered for experience hours.
  3. Volunteering gives the opportunity to show off your skills in managing and organizing huge efforts to a new set of eyes and this could easily translate into new career opportunities.
  4. The one you volunteer for might just be the one to get your name out there. You just never know!

The million dollar question of course is how do I find time to volunteer? There is so much work to do at the office, the family to care for and a blog to write. When can I really find time to give something else my all? It may not be so hard. If you go to church or if you are a member of a community group, find out if there is a need for a project manager for the new website or system upgrade then gather a team of other eager volunteers. Once a week, meet at the local coffee shop and work through project status updates and assign tasks for the upcoming week. If you work close to the place where you volunteer, pop in at lunchtime and see how things are going. Luckily, in today’s environment of telecommuting and virtual teams, we do not need to be on-site for all meetings.

So how do I choose the right project to undertake? The important thing to do when selecting a project is not to bite off more than you can chew. The project should fit your lifestyle and should be something that you believe in. One great advantage in volunteering is that you might be able to choose your role. If you are always leading the team at the office, it might be beneficial to be a team member on the volunteer project. This position could give some good insights into what this role entails and allow you to see things from a different perspective.

Regardless of where we volunteer, how long we do it for or its benefit to society, the one thing to always do, is give it your full and true commitment. Once your name is connected to a project it never gets removed and the truth is, you just never know where it will be mentioned!

Related Links
Whether you're volunteering now or planning to start in the future, make sure your priorities, goals, and actions are well aligned using this worksheet. It might pay to keep a personal time management log of all activities, not just work, so you can see where you could make room for a volunteer commitment.

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