There are so many things I could say about Emily, but out of all of them, the best I can say is "giver", which she certainly exemplifies in this post. Emily was not only my saving grace - when she stepped in as my Vice Chair for a local Chamber Of Commerce program (she shares more later), but she has since become a good friend. I'm so honored that she chose to share her story here with The YoPro Know audience and think you will all enjoy learning about ways to get connected as a YoPro.
A worldwide pandemic and the fall out surrounding it has made involvement in the local community much more difficult. As a young professional myself, I have spent my entire career in the non-profit fundraising and marketing world, with the importance of giving back always at the forefront of my mind. While that is certainly not the case for everyone, it is always important to give back to the communities that make our enterprises possible. I’m here to provide some ways that may make it easier for young professionals and companies to get involved and stay involved.
While the responsibility to take initiative will fall on the individual, there are ways for employers to provide steppingstones for a young professional to get out and get involved. I've laid out a few of them below:
Part of my role where I work is to spread the organization’s mission through community outreach. I recently spoke at a large company in Greenville, South Carolina about our mission, and was pleased to hear that this company provides paid time off for all employees to give back to their community during their workday. This is a great way to encourage employees, especially young professionals, to become an integral part of their own community and to grow alongside it.
2. Service Day
Another option is having a service day once a quarter where the team completes various service projects at local nonprofits. Both options can take the pressure off a young professional to find extra time to give back and introduce them to local organizations on a regular basis.
3. Service Through Networking Groups
With or without the encouragement of an employer, it is important for all of us to take responsibility and find the many likeminded people who also want to pave a new way. Networking events through the local chamber of commerce are a great opportunity to find these individuals and share ideas. In Greenville, the Chamber works hard to engage young professionals in a meaningful way. The program I most advocate for is the Pacesetters year-long mentorship program for young professionals. Pacesetters connects you with local community leaders, allows you to form relationships with others, hone the skills that will improve your current and future professional life, and give back to the community. As someone who has been through this program and is now the current Chair of the program, I can’t think of a better way to help others while building your career through meaningful relationships.
4. Young Professional Groups
One final avenue is connecting directly to a non-profit through a local volunteer or young professionals group. These groups work to connect you with other young professionals to become ambassadors of their mission. These groups are extremely meaningful to nonprofits because no matter how many snazzy marketing campaigns or fundraising events are put on, word of mouth conversations will always be the best way to spread the impact of an organization’s mission. Hopefully this will show any young professional, whether you want to jump headfirst in to service of the community or just want to dip your toes in, that there are avenues for every one of us to make the future brighter. So take the next step to get involved and stay involved.
Connect with Emily here!