Whew! We’ve gone through a lot of information about social impact. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. There’s no hurry and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here by your side along your path to AWE-thentic impact.

If you’re not quite ready to pull out your checkbook or have “The Talk” with your financial advisor, that’s ok. There are plenty of other ways to get started. The important thing is that you begin where you are.

Begin where you are

I believe the best way to get to know an organization before donating or committing to a board position is to volunteer. Volunteering gives you a front-row seat to the inner workings of a non-profit.

You can either volunteer to do whatever they need or be specific about the skills and talents you would like to share. Either way, you will come to know the staff, their mission and programming, the culture of the organization, how things work (and don’t work), who they serve, and how effective they are.

Volunteering gives you a front row seat

Look for an organization in your community that is addressing a cause you feel passionate about. Or, if you want to step out of your comfort zone a bit there are a number of companies that help match you with an organization that can use your help. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Catchafire (catchafire.org): A community of individuals striving to push the social good sector forward by focusing on efficient and effective ways to give back. One way they do this is by matching professionals with nonprofits based on their skills, cause interest and time availability.
  • Taproot Foundation (taprootfoundation.org): Connects non-profits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Through their programs, business professionals deliver marketing, strategy, HR, and IT solutions that organizations need to achieve their missions.
  • Volunteer Match (volunteermatch.org): Believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. That’s why they make it easy for good people and good causes to connect. They’ve connected millions of people with a great place to volunteer and helped tens of thousands of organizations better leverage volunteers to create real impact.
  • WomenOnCall (womenoncall.org): Creates opportunities for professional women to volunteer in a more meaningful way by effectively and efficiently aligning their skills, expertise and interests with short-term, high-impact volunteer opportunities.

What are you waiting for? The world needs your gifts and talents, skills and knowledge, wisdom and love. Who knows where the path might take you?  Just begin!

Be AWE-dacious!