Why skilled volunteering may be the best way for you to contribute to our community, by Sarah Gregory, Apparo’s Volunteer Manager.
April is nationally recognized as Volunteer Month, and this year you want to join the thousands of people who donate their time to make an impact and become involved in your local community. You’ve volunteered in the past, but it was usually a one-off engagement because it was hard to consistently dedicate your Saturday mornings to volunteering; your kids had a soccer game, your family was in town, or you simply wanted the morning off to have some 1:1 time with yourself. This year, you want to make sure you stay committed to your goal but are still mindful of what hasn’t worked in the past. So, you start looking into other ways to give back that may not involve the travel or 3-4 hours out of your day to volunteer. That’s when you stumble upon skilled volunteering. Skilled volunteering allows you to use your professional skills to assist nonprofit organizations. Hm… A way to give back that allows me to utilize the skills that I have acquired throughout my career to benefit an organization. You dig deeper, and that is when you find yourself on Apparo’s homepage.
At Apparo, we provide individuals and companies with the opportunity to make a lasting impact on a nonprofit organization through technology and business solutions. We match the skillset of our volunteers to a nonprofit who is in need of their technology or business expertise through advice and guidance (Tech Therapy), team training (TechShops) or pro-bono projects (Community Impact Projects). We also offer a project management program, where we train interested volunteers on the Community Impact Project (CIP) process, then once they finish training, they are able to be the project manager on an upcoming CIP! In addition to making a lasting impact on a nonprofit organization, there are many other benefits to volunteering with Apparo:
- We work within your schedule, offering volunteer opportunities during the 9-5, or we can accommodate a morning or evening meeting.
- We offer remote volunteering! You have the ability to meet with your nonprofit virtually, eliminating the stress of travel.
- You gain personal satisfaction knowing that you are making a positive change in your community.
- You are able to boost your resume, increase your skills and career.
- 87% of our volunteers have increased their collaboration skills, 84% have increased their out-of-the-box thinking, 91% have increased their communication skills, and 83% have increased their leadership skills
Another benefit that we’re able to bring to our volunteer community is through our corporate connections. We are connected to hundreds of companies in the greater Charlotte area, through sponsorship or volunteering, and have leveraged these relationships to help our volunteers in various ways, including references for job positions. Jon Carter, who is one of Apparo’s Change Agent volunteers, was in the market for a new job when he joined our community in the fall of 2020. Through volunteering with us, he met someone from CapTech Consulting who encouraged him to apply for one of their scrum master roles. Equipped with his newfound confidence, a reference letter from Apparo’s Chief Program Office, Lavonne McLean, and his recent engagement with a local nonprofit through Apparo (which was part of his interview discussion), Jon interviewed for the position and ultimately landed the job! You can read more about Jon’s career journey in a blog post here.
Jon’s story is one of many, and we at Apparo are so honored to be able to help individuals improve their skills and experience in technology and business, as well as provide opportunities to leverage their experience when it comes to their career. In addition to Jon’s comments on how Apparo has impacted his journey, volunteers have said:
- “I choose to give my time and effort to Apparo because of those one-on-one interactions I may have with the nonprofits themselves; it’s exponential the outreach and impact they have on the community. We really feel strongly here at Service Express for donating and giving our time and being a part of this great organization that is Apparo. I encourage everyone to get out there. The impact is countless.” – Aaron Bock, Service Express
- “I encourage other companies to volunteer with Apparo to improve employee morale. At meetings, you get hugs and updates on the impact of the great work you’ve done. That’s something I have never witnessed in the corporate world.” – Detlef Dohmen, Polypore
- “I give my time and money to Apparo because they help me maximize my community impact by matching my skills to organizations in need. This creates a true multiplier effect in our community.” – Adam Boitnott, Hylaine
- “That feeling of accomplishing something that you’ve put your heart and soul into… and knowing it’s going to benefit people, that’s the best feeling.” – Markus Hill, Rodgers Builders
As I read these words from our volunteers, I am overcome with joy and gratitude. Our ability to create opportunities for individuals to connect with local nonprofits and use their skills to make a lasting impact on an organization and their community is truly humbling and rewarding.