Quick Tips for Getting Involved Outside the Office
Taking on a leadership role in a community or professional organization can be rewarding in many ways. Whether it’s volunteering your time to a charitable cause that’s close to your heart, like a South Florida nonprofit, or networking with your peers in an industry group, it’s important to get out from behind your desk. Here are some quick tips for selecting the commitment that is best for you and your schedule.
1. Who is your target audience?
First you need to determine whether you are joining an organization for personal growth and fulfillment or if you’re targeting potential clients and referral sources. Everyone you meet could potentially send you new business, but naturally some groups will be more targeted than others. For example, if you’re an Orlando attorney and your goal is to meet other lawyers who might refer you business, consider joining a Florida Bar or Orange County Bar Association committee. If your goal is to meet clients themselves, consider an industry group where you may be the only lawyer who attends the meetings
2. What are your interests?
If you don’t have a specific target audience in mind, or if you’re simply more interested in community involvement, pick a cause that you are passionate about. Whether it be animals, the arts or athletics, you are more likely to attend meetings and events if it’s a cause you are personally passionate about
3. What location and times are best for you?
If you don’t have a preference on the first two questions, then consider which location and time of day would work best for your busy schedule. Maybe you prefer meetings and events that are close to your office or perhaps you prefer to go closer to home after work. For some, breakfast meetings will be more convenient than lunch or after work.
4. What do you do after you join?
Now that you’ve selected a group, consider taking on leadership roles within the organization. Joining a committee is a great first step and an excellent way to meet new people. If you’re not ready to take on a new role just yet, attend as many of the general meetings and events as you can. You don’t want to be known as that person who joined but never showed up and never participated. For this reason, it may be best to start with one group and not overextend yourself.