You probably already know that one of the best reasons to volunteer for your association is to build stronger connections with others in your field. This is true if you are new to the meetings industry, a recent transplant from another region of the country, or planning to switch gears from working in higher ed to medical. There are many unexpected benefits as well…

One of my coaching clients started volunteering for an association and soon after was “tasked” with the job of picking up the speaker at the airport. I quoted the word tasked because it was a true privilege to have 25 minutes of uninterrupted time with a leading professional in her field. 

But being in the same car is not the end goal. It’s that she had done her research ahead of time and knew enough about the speaker to engage in a thoughtful conversation. The result? She got advice from the speaker that she was able to incorporate into her next proposal – and it was what made her proposal stand out and her company was selected.

Her original reasons for wanting to volunteer were to share her organizational skills (and be recognized for them), to have a reason to find time to write (something she enjoyed and had stopped doing as life got busy), and, of course, to meet people in her field (she wanted to find kindred spirits who were as enthusiastic as she was about the work).

Her first volunteer role was not even one that was on the list of volunteer openings. She had noticed that the association’s educational files (video, audio, and handouts from previous meetings) were difficult to navigate on the website. She offered to tag each entry so they could be viewed by topic and not just by meeting date. This gave her a reason to review several years worth of content that she would likely have never looked at.

She also agreed to write for their newsletter at least four times a year. She ended up writing a synopsis of what content was available for each category and that was published in the newsletter. She went from no one knowing her to being recognized for her initiative and follow-through, and not even two years later she was asked to join the board.

Meanwhile, her role at her organization has evolved and she’s now up for a promotion. She feels confident that her leadership role at her association was a factor in her success on the job. Her boss can see that she has a lot more to offer than what she was originally asked to do in her role and that others value her contributions.

What are the steps to strategic volunteering?

Identify Your Goals

Make connections that might lead to a job offer? Enhance your experience to make you more hirable? Learn new skills? Share your expertise? Your volunteer role should meet at least some of your goals or you may find yourself less than committed to the work.


Ask around to find out about organizations in your area and what their volunteer needs are. Determine which would be the best match based on your goals. Be open to suggesting a volunteer role that doesn’t yet exist.


Instead of volunteering once for lots of organizations, focus your volunteer hours so you’re deepening your relationship with just one or two organizations.


Be dependable. Show up consistently. Do what you said you’d do. Easier said than done, this is where most volunteers fall short. Better to offer less of your time and over deliver than fail to meet expectations.


When the opportunity arises, step up into a leadership role. It could be as simple as arriving early to set up the room and start the coffee. Earn trust by following through on bigger commitments and then ask for more responsibility.

Showing up at association meetings is the first step, you can’t get far in your career if you never leave your office to meet leaders in your field, but showing up is just the beginning. Strategic volunteering is a great way to make a name for yourself in your industry and a way to give back once you’ve gotten that name recognition.


Business Growth Strategy Coach

Robbie coaches inspiring entrepreneurial women in their 50s and beyond (and a few awesome men) to grow their impact and income by building an audience before launching new revenue streams.


You want to have a greater impact and increased income. The problem is that there are so many options for how to build your business that you can feel stuck, overwhelmed, and like you’re running out of time.

The reason options are overwhelming is that you’re looking at them as a series of disconnected steps when to make the most of your time, you need a strategy that connects only the most important and highest impact ones.

You know that if you try to do everything, you’ll accomplish nothing. This means, to achieve your goal, you have to invest in a strategy to put time on your side.


As a relationship-based business growth strategist, Robbie will work with you one-on-one to design a year-long plan that consists of three 12-week sprints, each followed by 4 weeks of reflection/assessment, rejuvenation, learning, and strategic planning. This will allow you to sequence your goals, create momentum, and leverage your limited time.

Have a project that you want feedback on or need assistance with a specific strategy? He offers half-day strategy sessions.

Already selling but feeling stuck around how to increase your revenue? Sign up for a one-day mastermind with fellow entrepreneurs to break through to the next level.

Ready to dig into your network to validate a solution you’ve been working on to see if you can build an audience for it before launching? Sign up for 12 Weeks to Create Your Irresistible Offer program.

Want accountability, support, and guidance as you implement your strategic plan? Learn more about his year-long Wake Up Your Network mastermind program.

These are not right for everyone; they're personalized offerings and are priced accordingly.


In his coaching work with entrepreneurs, his clients focus on the areas where they'd like to grow, which may include:

  • Creating a strong sales conversation framework
  • Building your referral network
  • Lead generation through a relationships
  • Growing your visibility in your industry
  • Increasing your ability to attract the right kind of clients
  • Identifying and launching a minimally viable offer
  • Breaking through whatever bottleneck is holding you back from getting the results you want and deserve
  • Becoming a published author and marketing your book successfully
  • Improving your virtual presentation skills


Robbie is excited to support you in reaching or exceeding your goals.

Keynote Speaker

Interested in booking Robbie to speak? At you’ll find video clips and a description of his talks.

Watch his TEDx talk “Hate networking? Stop bageling and be the croissant!” at

Stay Connected

SIGN UP for his free weekly #NoMoreBadZoom Virtual Happy Hours –

Affiliate Links: Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links above are “affiliate links”. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products and services I use personally and believe will add value to my listeners. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This post was exported in one click from Google Docs into WordPress with Wordable.