April is National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the people who give their time and talents to benefit others. At SCORE, our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization as they enable us to fulfill our mission of helping entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses.
SCORE’s volunteer business mentors have provided guidance and resources to more than 11 million entrepreneurs since 1964. In 2017, SCORE volunteers helped create 54,500 businesses and 61,500 jobs. Our clients aren’t the only people who reap the rewards from mentoring, though. Our volunteers also gain some valuable advantages through doing their good work.
If you have thought about volunteering as a business mentor but haven’t quite decided whether you want to get involved, consider the following ways mentoring enriches volunteers personally and professionally.
Instills a sense of personal accomplishment
Being a mentor brings a sense of achievement as you help aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners overcome uncertainty and obstacles. Whether you’re assisting someone to navigate the uncharted territory of launching a startup or offering guidance to help an established company market itself more effectively, you gain the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a positive difference in the lives of people within your community who are, in turn, improving the local economy.
As a SCORE mentor, you are part of a dedicated and accomplished team of more than 10,000 volunteers who share your passion for seeing small businesses succeed. Mentors draw from each others’ strengths and proficiencies as they help entrepreneurs tackle their challenges. SCORE has 300+ chapters across the United States where mentors meet face to face to collaborate, learn from each other and build lasting friendships.
Strengthens communications skills
Mentoring can help you fine-tune your ability to communicate clearly with others. Through in-person mentoring sessions with clients, leading workshops, conducting roundtable groups or getting involved in other initiatives, you can become stronger and more confident when speaking and writing.
Enhances leadership skills
As a business mentor, you have many opportunities for honing your ability to lead others. Not only can you develop your leadership skills by providing guidance and feedback to clients, but you can also participate in other roles (such as heading a committee) that allow you to engage and motivate other volunteers.
Expands connections within your community
Mentoring opens the door to meeting a wide variety of individuals and organizations. From community leaders to chambers of commerce to economic development groups, you’ll diversify and expand your personal and professional network, which could lead to new opportunities.
Offers continued learning opportunities to enhance your own business acumen
As you guide business owners, you also expand your own expertise. Every SCORE client brings unique questions and situations to the table. While mentoring, you will learn and continually stretch the boundaries of your entrepreneurial know-how through your work with clients and the educational resources available through SCORE, SBA and other organizations. SCORE’s webinars, local workshops and online business resources are marvelous professional development tools.
Provides a point of distinction on your professional resume
If you aspire to advance in your career, serving as a SCORE business mentor will give you a credible and highly regarded community service talking point for your resume. Mentoring demonstrates an ability to lead, solve problems and collaborate productively with others—all traits employers value in prospective job candidates.
As you can see, mentoring generates some good karma. Not only is it a win for the entrepreneurs SCORE serves, but also for the volunteers who enhance their own knowledge, skills and connections through the experience.
Thinking about volunteering?
National Volunteer Month is a perfect time to find the best volunteer position for you. SCORE invites you to join our community of dedicated business mentors so you can enjoy the benefits that come from volunteering while helping small businesses succeed. Become a SCORE volunteer today.
Guest Blogger SBA.gov