PLANNING BY COMMITTEE
Work with fun people, find your strength.
As I was starting my business, I was told not to give away your services; your time is valuable. If you give away your time and expertise, people will expect that down the road and won't take you or the business seriously.
This makes sense, but there is a balance. Especially in the beginning when you are trying to cultivate relationships and make contacts, when you are trying to get your name out there.
Over the past two years, I have been approached about projects and volunteer opportunities in our area. I learned when not to get involved, and when to say yes, hoping they lead to business. But more importantly, I have learned to say yes to volunteering only for things that mean something to me, that I want to give my time toward.
Most recently, I participated in a planning committee for an annual event in our town - our school districts annual fundraiser, a themed Casino Night! It is at times a rather larger group of people - each with their own special jobs, areas of expertise, that over the years have made them quite the experts in planning this event. Being a part of a committee is quite different, rather than being the lead or being hired for a particular job. This experience made me think about these different roles and how to leverage my experiences to make the most of this opportunity planning via committee.
1: Work with fun people. I had an old boss that used to say this. It is so true. Any time you are going to spend numerous hours in your day around people, you want to hire and work with fun people. (Obviously there is more on that list like smart, respectful, etc, but you cannot underestimate FUN!). Most people are busy juggling family, friends, and work - so if you are going to give up a few hours a week or month for a special project or cause, you want to enjoy the time doing it. Bringing friends to participate in your cause is not only a great way to increase your volunteers and spread the word about the event, but you are more likely to show up and put in the work too! Surround yourself with fun people!
2: Delegate. People are volunteering for a reason - they want to be engaged and a part of something. Make sure you give them something to do. Find your volunteer's strengths and delegate jobs and tasks that keep them involved. Check in with the committee as the event approaches. Stay on top of the to do list, and help keep the event on track. It isn't always easy to relinquish control at times, but trust in the people you have around you - if they feel needed and useful, most likely they will come through for the group.
3: Know when to say no. Just because you have said yes to help out with an event or project, doesn't mean it should become a full time job. Remember, you don't have to be in charge of every aspect, or take over the event. Like delegating, finding your own strength in the group is important. Don't let someone take advantage of your expertise just because it might be something you do for a living - graphic design work, event planning, bar tending, banking/financial work. Your skills and time are valuable, but not to be taken advantage of at the expense of your full time job and family.
In the end, the goal of any event is for the client to be happy and satisfied with your result. Whether it is volunteering for a cause, planning by committee, or leading a group on a project, remember your time and expertise are valuable, but balance is important. And above all, find fun people to experience things with - it makes work and life that much better!
*Photo credit by Rachel Raden