Your people will volunteer freely …. Psalm 110:3
It is more blessed to give than to receive …. Acts 20:25
The church runs on volunteerism. If you have served before, you know that you often get far more than you give. It’s an inherently good and right thing to do for the sheer joy of giving to others. Serving is an expression of love, God’s love.
However, in the interest of full disclosure and to be of help to you, there’s also an upside to serving as a volunteer. That’s the subject of this post.
Specifically, it can be an advantage to volunteer at conferences or other events in your niche.
I’ve served as a volunteer at a few conferences and the fringe benefits were worth far more than the price of admission. You may want to use this strategy to accelerate progress towards your goals.
The risk is, you could be stuck with menial tasks that add no value to your mission, not enjoy the event, and end up wasting time & energy. On the other hand, you could gain invaluable insight you would otherwise never obtain in such a first hand manner.
This is a great strategy if you want an insider’s experience and (potentially) access to leaders in your niche. But you have to humble yourself and serve in the right spirit. Be a fly-on-the-wall, observe and learn all you can.
I’ve had some fun with this recently. Two quick stories.
Last summer I was a volunteer for a worship record label at the National Worship Leaders Conference in Kansas City, KS. One of my jobs was to drive people to and from the airport. Because of that I got to hang out with and have great conversations with some of the presenters at the event, members of their bands, and keynote speakers.
Important rule if you have the privilege of serving > DO NOT PROMOTE your self in any way.
Be cool, serve and mind your own business.
Second and most recent event was the Killer Tribes Conference. (No, it was not a gathering of ax murderers.)
I basically did whatever was asked – moved chairs, took out trash, drove a speaker from the hotel to the event.
I also got insider access, hung out with very cool people and even had a random lunch with Buzz Marketing guru Mark Hughes, one of the fabulous keynote speakers and author of the book “Sons Of Grace” .
By being willing to give freely, I received far more than the price of the event. And made some new relationships.
Results not typical.
If you volunteer at an event, you may not always have this positive of an experience. However, it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. Volunteering and serving is intrinsically rewarding for the joy it allows you to share.
For me, it’s a much more interesting and rewarding way to attend, and the fringe benefits can be priceless.