Community involvement and your social profile

Being photographed while advocating for a cause is one way social media works in your favour.
Being photographed while advocating for a cause is one way social media works in your favour.

By Jon Waldman

The arrival of spring in Winnipeg means that we’re finally emerging from our winter hibernations, and for many of us that means getting involved in our communities.
More than any time of year, the months of May and June are the most socially-conscious months. We lay down big dollars for gala fundraisers and walk, run, bike or do other activities in marathon formats to support our favourite charitable causes.
It’s also a time that many of us will not just engage in an event as a participant but also put in volunteer hours. Either as a group of friends, family members or staff, there are more opportunities in this period, before everyone breaks for summer vacation, to show your support for those around you.
In the corporate world, there is a movement afoot. Referred to in social media circles as #RCS, Real Company Stuff is where an organization will dedicate itself to charitable causes either in the form of sponsorship or going out as a team of employees to work on a project or participate in a not-for-profit’s event.
Part of the reason this is done, of course, is the humanitarian nature of wanting to help fellow man, but there is a marketing strategy that ties in. The reality is we’re more likely to want to shop at a store or hire a contractor who shows they care about their community.
Think about it – are you more likely to want to do business with someone who is like-minded and cares about the causes you do? Chances are that community tie does help in your decision-making.
Employment strategy
The same, therefore, could be part of your own strategy for employment.
Often we will be shy about what we do. Whether we’re simply helping out at the community centre, delivering groceries as part of Meals on Wheels, or sitting on the planning committee for a local event, we don’t often think about the benefits that this has for us.
Yes, there are some who will purposely volunteer just for the sake of having that line on their resume, but for those of us who are genuine to the cause, you may at times find yourself referencing that as a challenge you faced during heated interview questions. This is where #RCS can help you.
Platforms like LinkedIn already encourage their members to list their community engagement. Under the Volunteer Experience and Causes section, you can list information such as organizations you dedicate yourself to, opportunities you’re seeking, causes you care about and organizations you support.
Further, it’s becoming more common for prospects to list their volunteer experience within the body of their work experience. This allows another individual within the organization – perhaps a volunteer board member or an employee – to give you a reference, something that can’t be done under the Volunteer Experience and Causes heading.
Facebook & Twitter
Also, don’t be afraid of the dreaded photo tag. We’ve all become somewhat gun-shy of being published on Facebook or Twitter doing anything for fear of what will result. Here’s a case where you want to be pictured.
Whether you were handing out drinks along the track of a walkathon or helping put up the side of a home, any publicity – in this case – is good publicity.
The bottom line for you is it is time to stop being a Timid Timmy or Shy Sharla – be proud of the work you do for your community and causes. Not only does it make all the difference in the world to your organization, it can do the same for your career.

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