How Volunteering Changed My Life

Volunteering as philanthropy

By volunteering, I get back as much as I give

By Kristin Scott

Usually when you hear stories about a not-for-profit organization changing someone’s life, it’s from the perspective of the recipient. For instance, how a grant recipient used the funds she was awarded, or how a life-saving medical procedure was performed free of charge for someone who couldn’t afford it. Nonprofit organizations often share impact stories about the people or groups they help.

This isn’t one of those stories. I am not a grant recipient or in need of medical or financial services (today, at least). I am a volunteer with Women in Philanthropy (WIP), an affinity group of United Way of the Midlands. Specifically, I am the events chair and hold a seat on the executive committee. I plan WIP’s two biggest fundraisers each year, the Leadership Breakfast and Power of the Purse.

Finding your passion among nonprofit organizations

I started with the organization in 2017 after attending a reception my employer put on so we could learn about WIP. I also learned how to use my hard-earned money to join this organization through my employer’s United Way of the Midland’s fundraising campaign. At the time I was trying to get out of my work-life rut. This was my ticket. Go to happy hour and mingle with women who seem so elegant and powerful. The speaker was great, moving statistics were cited and I learned about WIP’s social and networking opportunities.

Months later, I attended another WIP social, Fall for WIP. I went alone after work one evening, which is my and every introvert’s worst nightmare. But it took all of 10 minutes for me to feel welcome by these women. I went from table to table learning about each WIP committee so I could decide what area to join. I was intrigued by these women who change lives through their efforts to end homelessness, improve early literacy, cover the cost of dental and vision care for those in need, and help children who have been exposed to trauma. They find solutions through leadership, community investment, fundraising, advocacy and mentoring.

Since that evening, I’ve been working for something greater than myself­–to make a tangible impact in my community. Little ol’ me is affecting change. And, while doing so, I have met amazing women I now consider my tribe, all of whom come from different industries, cultures and social strata.

Philanthropy is so much more than just giving money to a cause you care about. If you’re doing it right, it will affect change in you. Every single person in our community has the power to make a difference, single handedly and as a collective.

Kristin ScottKristin Scott is the assistant editor of The F-Suite and a freelance writer when she’s not volunteering for WIP.