Between the stresses of work and life, finding the time to give back to your community can be difficult. Yet, the many benefits of taking time to volunteer with non-profit organizations absolutely warrant the time, energy, and resources.
Gary M. Schuster, a partner at Walden-based firm Jacobowitz & Gubits, is a member of and represents several different nonprofits, and serves on the board of three—with extensive experience supporting their work in the fields of economic development, health and human services, arts and culture, education, animal welfare, social clubs, sports, veterans causes, and more. Through his personal experiences, Schuster shared his insights on the fun, validating, and uplifting work folks can do when they share their talents and skills with a nonprofit and why it matters.
First off, it can improve your personal and professional development.
Volunteering can improve both your personal and work life, all in one swoop. Schuster says that through his work at various nonprofits, he’s met a number of friends and made valuable connections. After all, what can bond folks better than working together with their neighbors and fellow community members toward a shared noble goal?
"It's good for networking. A wide variety of people work at and with nonprofits, and you can make professional connections," Schuster says. "Don’t expect to join a board of directors right away. You will be serving on a committee for a while, volunteering, so that they get to know you and you get to know them," "
Volunteering can also be good for developing any raw skills that you may have, offering you real world experience that can prove invaluable.
It supports the local economy.
Being a part of a nonprofit can also benefit the Hudson Valley’s economy. According to Schuster, nonprofits make up some of the region’s largest employers (with more than 900 nonprofits operating in Orange County, alone). Volunteering for a nonprofit and giving the support they need to grow can boost its ability to hire employees and do more of their impactful, community-minded work.
Ultimately, it can give you an outlet for something you’re already passionate about.
Volunteering, above everything, should be fun and fulfilling for you to do. Whether you want to be involved at an animal shelter, conservation of parks, theater, etc, volunteering allows you to put your time, energy, and passion behind a cause that means something to you and your community.
“It should be fun,” Schuster says. “A lot of people have their career and then they go and work for nonprofits because that’s their passion”