Volunteering: Why a change is as good as a rest

Posted 30 April 2019

Weber Shandwick’s Lotty Chudley shares her experience of volunteering at Media Trust’s recent Women’s Voices event, and why she thinks sharing skills with charities is something everyone working in the media and creative industries should commit to at least once a year.

Working long hours in a stressful environment takes its toll, and makes it all too easy to use the excuse of being ‘too busy’ to make time for giving back.  We’ve all been there. Myself included. This year I bit the bullet, promised myself I’d do better & swiftly signed up to volunteer my skills for Media Trust’s International Women’s Day Event: Women’s Voices.

The event, hosted at Google’s UK Headquarters, aimed to strengthen Women’s Voices, bringing together talent from across the media and advertising sector to lend their skills to charities and community groups that support, campaign and advocate for women and girls.

With passion, emotion and creativity flowing, we set about creating a plan for raising awareness…

Teaming up with other marketing and advertising professionals

I, like the other 200+ attendees was matched with a charity to build a mini crack-team of four marketing and advertising professionals from across the likes of Google, award-wining agencies, and media owners – soon to be paired with two volunteers from our charity. The challenge: to develop an action plan to solve our charity’s very real challenge of helping end period poverty. 

The four of us had an initial regroup to dissect the brief, aligning on its most poignant elements, to prepare us for spending the next two hours delving into developing a tactical plan for the charity to take away and activate. 

Feeling fired up, we then headed out to the wider group to receive the key note speech, delivered by the brains behind This Girl Can campaign, Kate Dale, Strategic Lead at Sport England. With passion, emotion and creativity flowing, we took to our meeting room, joined by the charity, to set about creating a plan for raising awareness of period poverty and enabling people to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing menstrual products. 

Five Key Takeaways

It was a powerful two hours of new ideas, healthy tensions and endless creativity. This culminated in five key takeaways that I’m keen to share in the hope that others feel encouraged to give a little of their time to volunteering their skills in the future:  

  1. You know more than you think you do – do it for the confidence boost
  2. Giving back feels great – do it for the virtuous feeling
  3. Exposure to new personalities is healthy – do it to challenge yourself 
  4. Exposure to new ways of working breeds new ways of thinking – do it for the self-development
  5. You’ll gain that feeling of group success – do it for the team spirit 

A closing thought

UK adults spend an average of almost nine hours a day on a screen – sure, some of that is work – but think of the mindless scrolling in bed, on the bus, walking to work, over the weekend. If you banked just an hour here and there, within a month you’d have easily made up the five hours you could spend volunteering. And whilst you might be feeling overwhelmed by even the thought of stepping away from your desk, breaking out of your work bubble to do good and help others will undoubtedly reinvigorate you.

Giving your time by volunteering is a great tonic to the stress you might be facing on a daily basis, and a fabulous way to help stimulate new ideas. Not to mention the warm fuzzy feeling of sharing your skills to genuinely help in the world.

 

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