Does your non-profit volunteer leadership gig translate to the workplace?

I’m a bi-vocational lead pastor. Without boring you with the details of what that actually means, let’s just say I have a full time  job — like in an 8 to 5 — but I have a weekend non-profit volunteering job in a church. I lead teams, run the organization, plan for the future. Needless to say, it’s more than that. But let’s keep it simple at this point.

Volunteering at a non-profit isn’t just a noble act; it’s a strategic step that can significantly enhance your career, especially if you’re in the tech sector. Taking on a leadership role or engaging in technical projects with a non-profit not only makes a positive impact in the community but also equips you with valuable skills and experiences that translate well into your professional life. Let’s explore how volunteering can be a game-changer for your career and suggest some opportunities to get started.

The Hidden Professional Benefits of Volunteering

Sharpening Your Leadership Skills

Leading a volunteer team teaches you leadership with heart and strategy—qualities that are gold in the workplace. This experience is especially valuable in tech, where guiding complex projects and teams is part of the daily grind. Volunteering teaches you how to motivate and inspire, a skill that directly translates to improved leadership at your day job.

Broadening Your Tech Skills

For techies, volunteering offers a playground to expand their skill set, trying out new technologies or tackling projects beyond their usual scope. This hands-on experience is invaluable, allowing you to experiment and learn in a low-pressure environment and bring a broader skill set back to your professional role.

Networking Opportunities

Volunteering opens the door to a wealth of networking opportunities, connecting you with people across various fields. In the tech world, where innovation and opportunities often arise from collaboration, the connections made through volunteering can be particularly beneficial.

Gaining Project Management Experience

Managing projects for non-profits, often under tight constraints, is excellent practice for the tech industry, where similar challenges exist. This experience hones your ability to manage resources, timelines, and expectations effectively.

Enhancing Soft Skills

The collaborative nature of non-profit work is a great way to improve soft skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. These skills are highly valued in the tech industry, making you a more effective and collaborative team member.

Boosting Your Professional Image

Volunteering demonstrates a commitment to community and social responsibility, making your resume stand out. For tech professionals, it signals an ability to tackle challenges with creativity and passion.

Increasing Job Satisfaction

The fulfillment from making a difference can boost your morale and job satisfaction, positively affecting your performance at your day job. In the fast-paced tech industry, volunteering offers a fulfilling counterbalance to professional pressures.

Exposure to Diverse Perspectives

Non-profit work exposes you to new cultures and perspectives, enhancing your creativity and problem-solving skills. In tech, where thinking outside the box is key, these new perspectives are invaluable.

Leveraging Volunteer Work in Your Professional Life

To make the most of your volunteering experiences, reflect on the skills and insights gained and consider how they apply to your job. Share your experiences with colleagues, leverage your volunteer network, and continue volunteering to grow both personally and professionally.

Volunteering Opportunities to Explore

Here are some avenues for tech professionals looking to volunteer:

  • Coding for Good: Teach coding to underserved communities, enhancing both your teaching skills and your ability to demystify complex tech concepts.
  • Tech for Non-profits: Help non-profits upgrade their tech infrastructure, gaining experience in projects that may be outside your usual scope.
  • Hackathons for Social Good: Participate in hackathons focused on social or environmental issues, a great way to network and skill-build.
  • Mentorship Programs: Mentor students or early-career professionals in tech, sharing your knowledge and experience.
  • Open Source Projects: Contribute to open source projects with a social impact focus, combining your tech skills with your desire to contribute positively.

At church, we have a few tech professionals who install the network, manages the audio visual equipments and software. We have volunteers who work on the website and maintains it. We have people who share their time answering online queries.


Volunteering in a non-profit offers more than just personal satisfaction; it’s a pathway to professional growth, especially for those in the tech industry. It’s about making a tangible difference while gaining skills, experiences, and connections that enrich your career. By choosing opportunities that align with your skills and passions, you can make a meaningful impact in the community and enhance your professional life simultaneously.

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