After working in the nonprofit sector for many years, during which time I volunteered in the United States as an AmeriCorps member and overseas with WorldTeach China, I wanted to find a new way to get involved in the social impact space. My past experiences volunteering were exclusively in-person and often required me to sign up for a specific shift or attend meetings late at night.
However, my work had become more intense, and while I still wanted to give back to the global community, I just couldn’t find anything in my city that inspired me to commit what little free time I had. So I looked around to take stock of my options and decided to try something entirely different.
That something different turned out to be a volunteer opportunity with GIVN Water, a B corporation that sells premium still and sparkling water throughout the USA.
What convinced me to sign up for GIVN’s “goodness” team – made up of those like-minded folks that believe that everyday people can be superheroes – was in its business model. For every bottle of water sold, GIVN provides a day of clean drinking water to someone in need.
GIVN partners with NGOs doing amazing work in the clean water movement and currently finances development projects in Ghana, South Sudan, Haiti, and India. This is all possible because the team spends time building partnerships and helping change the way consumers think about their everyday choices. I’ve spent time working with their co-founders, learning the ins and outs of a social impact start-up, exploring potential partnership opportunities with organizations and retailers, and collaborating with other members of the “Goodness Team.” It’s helped me think differently because it’s still all new to me, and I’ve grown because I’m trying new things and having big discussions with very thoughtful people.
From this experience, I’ve realized there’s more than one way to make a difference. During my time as a GIVN volunteer, I’ve been able to build professional skills, learning, for instance, how to talk to people about how the everyday choices that consumers make, have a lasting impact on others. More importantly, I’ve learned how to build partnerships with retailers who want to build their own brands and see GIVN as a vital partner in this process. Plus, it fits into my busy schedule easily. In fact, all of my time giving back with GIVN has been done remotely.
So for anyone who wants to give back but isn’t sure they can commit the time, you’d be surprised at the wide variety of opportunities out there! My advice: find an issue you care about and seek out a role that supports that cause. Look for a position that will help you develop and hone your skills. And finally, find something that works with your schedule– whether that’s remote or in-person.
And when you find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you, you can take pleasure in the fact that what you’re doing is benefiting the community, either locally or abroad, and perhaps even directly saving lives!
Author bio: Jason is a social impact consultant with expertise in developing and managing national and international programs for complex, social change initiatives in the NGO space. He is well-versed in collaborating with clients, donors, and organizations at all levels of community development.
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