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Institute of IT Trainers - Freelance Trainer of the Year 2006 & 2009
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A - Z of a Successful Freelance IT Trainer: V is for Volunteering

Although volunteering is ultimately viewed as an altruistic activity, for freelance trainers, it can present many hidden opportunities.

I always hear excuses why people do not or cannot volunteer, with the main ones being:
  • "I don't have the time"
  • "I cannot afford to volunteer",
  • "I have my own problems",
  • "I don't know what I am interested in",
  • "I need some me time",
  • "I cannot make a difference"

When I look back at all my major achievements in life, there has always been someone who went out of their way, or went the extra mile to help me achieve my goals and/or objectives.

This is one of the main reasons why when I became a freelance trainer, and set up Maximum Impact Solutions, that I decided that I would give something back to community.

I volunteer for a number of organisations, but all have entrepreneurship as one of their core activities, a list of them can be found here.

When I am out and about and the subject of volunteering comes up, I am always asked two questions:
  1. How much do I get paid?
  2. What do I get out of it?

With regards to the payment question, none of my volunteering roles provide any financial benefit, in terms of payment, except expenses, but then the returns I get I cannot really measure in pounds and pence.

Personally I like to work at the grass root, ground level, hands-on and face-to-face, using my communication and presentation skills of a trainer, where I know my skills, knowledge and experience can be used directly and effectively to make a difference on an individual level.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
Chinese proverb

There are many advantages of volunteering especially for a freelance trainer, where one can become quite isolated and insular, including:
  • Opportunities to learning new skills
  • You  get to meet and mix with new people, making you aware of situations outside your world
  • Opportunties to move in different circles
  • It can lead to getting direct access to people, who have common values with you
  • It can lead to getting access to opportunities, that under normal circumstances you would not know about
  • The warm glow you get inside when you help others achieve their goals and see them succeed
  • There is the potential for some fantastic PR opportunities
  • It can be a great source of motivation and/or inspiration
  • The potential to get you out of your comfort zone
At a time when the market is crowded, one needs a edge, something that makes you stand out, to show your caring sharing side.

Nothing says more that you care than volunteering......

I would like to hear your comments, experience, opinions and thoughts about this subject, please drop me a line or two below:

Peter Smith

Hear hear. Great post. When I first started training volunteering was the best way to 'test' myself out and try new material. Now, I look back, and forward, and ask myself how I can return the favor - volunteering is one of the best ways to build your brand and give a hand; it makes the world turn. Cheers, Pete


Hi Peter, Thank you for your comments. It's great to see that other trainers are on the same wavelength as me with regards to seeing how important it is to give something back. Julia


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