Volunteering provides both obvious and less obvious benefits to those doing the volunteering and the recipients. For many in technical communication, it means the chance to hone some professional skills as well as to offer those skills to benefit others. As we take a look at “helping society and tech comm” during November, we wanted to start by looking at the ways technical communicators volunteer their time.
Last week’s poll asked about the kinds of organizations you volunteer with, and it served as a way to lay the groundwork for this week’s question and discussion. If as a volunteer, you are not using your technical communication expertise, what is preventing you from doing that? We’re curious to find out if it’s a conscious choice or if there are obstacles that stand in the way. Some may feel that volunteering in the same capacity as the work they do all day every day is just too much, looking for completely different ways to spend those non-working hours. Others are looking for communications-related volunteer opportunities but haven’t found the ideal volunteer opportunity. And it may be that the volunteer organization has some strict requirements, such as minimum number of hours or specific training needed. What’s been your experience? As a volunteer, do you stick to what you know, or go for something totally different? Are you turning an avocation into a vocation? Are you challenged by wanting to volunteer but not being able to?
The opportunities to “do well by doing good” are nearly limitless, and technical communicators have found some wonderful ways to make their work count beyond ROI and the bottom line. And while volunteerism isn’t the only aspect of helping society we’ll look at this month, it’s a great place to start. Vote in this week’s poll, and feel free to comment on the subject, or start a thread over on the email discussion list.