How Can Volunteering Help My Career?

There are endless opportunities to volunteer locally and nationally doing a variety of activities. The skills developed through volunteering can help someone enhance their career and expertise, while giving back to the community.

Leadership Skills

Many nonprofits and organizations have boards and other opportunities to take on leadership roles, allowing you to lead a group of people, plan and host events, organize or chair meetings, and create partnerships with other organizations or businesses. In our experience, when people understand that you're willing to help out, you'll be given more responsibility within an organization.

Networking Skills

A benefit of being involved in the community is you get to work with different people that you wouldn't normally meet. Volunteering is a good way to meet potential clients, who might also be giving back or sponsoring the event. If they see you have a great attitude and work skills, they may apply that to the work you can provide them professionally. The connections created when volunteering can also help you recruit qualified candidates that may not know about your company.

Business Skills

Volunteering and serving on a board or committee of an organization allows you to develop business skills, including managing a group's financials, fundraising, securing sponsors/donors, marketing, branding, creating a strategic plan and goals, managing large boards or groups of volunteers, or even hiring staff.

Employees from the Peoria office sorting canned goods from a food drive held to support the local community.

Employees from the Peoria office sorting canned goods from a food drive held to support the local community.

Volunteer Experiences

Brooke Martin, Architect, Peoria, Illinois

In 2015, I joined the local American Institute of Architects (AIA) Peoria Section Board and from there was able to move up in the organization. Over time, I served as secretary, vice president, and president of the board and gained valuable leadership, networking, and business skills. I currently serve as the 2018-2020 national co-chair for the AIA Academy of Architecture for Sustainable Justice Committee (AIA AAJ), which is a segment within AIA's Knowledge Communities. I'm helping with the annual conference and leading our committee's annual workshop. Joining and volunteering with the local Peoria Section/Prairie Chapter allowed me to move into these leadership roles. I've made connections throughout the industry, while also strengthening my leadership experience. I've been able to highlight Dewberry's name locally and nationally within AIA and AIA AAJ through our events, competitions, conferences, and research.

Employees from the Peoria office participating in the Heart of Illinois Mad Dash to help raise money for United Way.

Another local board I'm part of is Keep Peoria Beautiful. I started as a board member in 2015 and have worked my way up to being the 2018 executive board president. This board is the local affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful. The Peoria office has been a huge support through financial sponsorships, employee volunteer efforts, taking care of three Adopt-A-Box planters, and attending annual events. When supporting organizations like Keep Peoria Beautiful, it provides one more opportunity for Dewberry and its employees to invest in beautifying our community.

Jamie Moehling, Mechanical Engineer, Peoria, Illinois

I love being active with the local United Way, and they provide lots of ways to volunteer in the community that I like to pass along to my coworkers. I enjoy organizing activities for the Peoria office, including holding food drives and healthy challenges. We also put on an annual chili cook-off for our whole building and neighbors that raises money for our United Way campaign. Having a chance to volunteer with coworkers and give back is a great way to build relationships outside of the office, while representing our company and showing we are out in the community.

The Peoria office holds an annual chili cook-off to help raise money for their local United Way.

I truly believe volunteering has made me a better engineer. My group designs mechanical systems for mainly jails, so through my volunteer work at a local jail, I've gained valuable insights from those that use and maintain the equipment I've had a hand in designing. Having these interactions influences my design and provides a different perspective I may not have gotten if I didn't volunteer.

Jamie Moehling volunteering at a Dewberry booth at the local Engineering Day event.

  • Brooke Martin
    Brooke Martin
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