Hi there! There is no time like the present to talk about the gift of Giving Back in your local community.
Let me start first by introducing myself. I am Crystal Lively and for as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed helping others. Maybe it was growing up in the local 4H circuit in Atlantic County, NJ. Maybe it was watching my dad help strangers stranded on the side of a road if their car was broken down. Or maybe it simply follows an old motto one of my mentors used to say: “You have to give joy to get joy.”
What I am certain of is one of our core values, Give Back, is ingrained in me. It’s also 100% the reason I joined Mattress Firm over six years ago.
Whether it’s volunteering at a foster care agency, food bank, habitat for humanity or even an animal shelter, there is such a special feeling you get when you’ve done something to help someone else in need without any expectations in return. For this reason, volunteering is some of the most rewarding work you can ever do. Today, I have the pleasure of coordinating and participating in multiple volunteer events throughout the year for the Human Capital team. And I currently sit on the Houston bowling committee for the Special Olympics of Texas.
The topic that doesn’t come up much when we talk about volunteerism are the additional gifts you experience from Giving Back:
- You meet new people and make new friends.
- You find extra purpose and joy in your work and life.
- You can find an influential mentor or become one for someone else.
- You feel a sense of accomplishment.
As you can see, volunteering is also a perfect opportunity to network. Think of it as untapped form of brand management for both your personal and professional life. You can network with the employees on site, the other volunteers or the people you’re assisting. During these events, you have unfiltered access to some of the brightest minds in your community right at your fingertips. This is a great chance for you to stand out, so how do you leverage it properly? Check out some tips below.
How to network at a volunteer event:
- Have a warm, friendly smile and introduce yourself to all involved.
- Spend time bonding over volunteer stories and sharing your “why.”
- Don’t be afraid to share professional information with each other.
- Offer to take group photos and share them with your new connections via LinkedIn, email or text.
- Send a brief follow-up message after the event:
- Let him/her know it was a pleasure to meet them!
- Share information about/Offer to meet up at another volunteer event in the future.
- Share information on any philanthropic efforts going on in your company. A great example: Mattress Firm has a Toy Drive happening right now for our Foster Kids program.
- Offer to be of professional assistance — he/she may be in the market or know someone in the market for a job, product or service you can provide.
Whatever your why is for volunteering this holiday season, I hope you find joy in helping others. I hope you share those experiences with your coworkers, friends and family.
About The Author
Crystal started with Mattress Firm on the sales floor in the Atlanta Georgia Market November 2013. She moved quickly into store management and was promoted to an Area Manager just before her 2 year anniversary. Crystal is committed to our company core values and led the way in setting up several GiveBIG and culture events for her former Market. She also assisted in starting up a regional newsletter on the Mattress Firm Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and tracking fundraising efforts for her region. Crystal accepted a promotion into the Talent Acquisition team in June of 2016. Since then she's been helping to bring top notch talent into the company and is still committed to Giving Back and supporting the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program. Accomplishment: Red Shoe Service 2015 TAR Service Award 2018 Sean Diamond Passion Award 2018 Outside Passion: Giving Back! Currently serves as a member on Special Olympics Texas bowling committee and volunteers with other local organizations.