American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association (ATEA) is a non-profit, entrepreneurship focused organization run by volunteers. ATEA serves the needs of Tamil diaspora in US. A number of volunteers put significant number of hours and efforts for day to day operations as well as special events. We welcome passionate volunteers who can take responsibility for their tasks with minimal supervision.
Volunteering is driven passion toward a cause. Volunteering also helps learn new skilss and improve current skills.
For example, if you are passionate about entrepreneurship, innovation, technology startups, and giving back to the community, ATEA is a great organization. We are small, nimble and passionate!
Volunteering is age-independent. Persons of every age have certain specific knowledge and skills that can be contributed. It is key to select a right activity / task set that fits you so that you can make meaningful contributions.
Benefits of Volunteering
Learning: Volunteering for the right causes and organization helps you learn more skills, improve your current skills, add domain knowledge expertise, etc. Learning is the top most benefit for most volunteers.
Networking: In the modern world, networking has become a key requirement to succeed in your work. Most non-profit organizations such as ATEA organizes a number events of various sizes. Depending on your ability to contribute time and work, you can have ample opportunities to meet with co-volunteers as well as event participants.
Choosing a Volunteering Opportunity
As mentioned earlier, there are number of volunteer run organizations with lot of opportunities to volunteer at different levels. You have to make a self assessment about your time availability, skills that can be used, and dedication for the chosen task.
Many people become volunteers for the photo opportunity, contributing minimally to the cause of the organization. You should avoid such choices at all costs.
Choose a right task or a position, so that you can make a meaningful contribution and others can emulate you by seeing you doing things.
Be ready to pull up your sleeves and get into the trenches – whatever be your level in the organization! You should always be detail oriented and granular thinker when volunteering. The smart skills have more important than the brute physical skills requirements.
If you make a commitment for certain hours or activities, make sure that you fully committed to it. For instance, if you agree to volunteer as part of an event coordination team, the length of time could be a few months or even more. In such cases, you need to make your available at set times for telephone calls or face to face meetings. If you are new to such volunteering, ask other experienced volunteers and understand the demands on your time and schedule.
Also, keep in mind that getting along with other volunteers is an art rather than a science. Be willing to accommodate others thoughts and preferences!
Running a non-profit organization such as ATEA provides a number of possibilities for volunteering at all levels.
Marketing – Online and Offline
Both online and offline marketing are key activities for the success of the organization. Social media content generation, publishing on LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter, email marketing, web sites and blogs, etc. are some of the online marketing activities that demand quite a bit of online skills from the volunteers. Researching, Telephone calls, follow-ups are still important to bring in members and attendees for the events.
Most business-centric volunteer organizations thrive on organizing meetups, seminars, workshops, and conferences to bring their members together, generate funds, and disseminate information.
Event coordination, marketing, presentations, registration, event setup, food and beverages arrangement, audio / video / live cast arrangements, etc. are opportunities in this area.
Identifying and enrolling speakers and panelists, preparing agenda, handling speakers, audience ushers, etc. are another set of important activities in event management.
Pitch sessions and hackathons need a lot of efforts from volunteers in terms of planning, execution and management.
Fundraising and sponsorship development is the most important function for the success of the organization. Fundraising may happen at different levels and hence specific skills in that area would be an added advantage.
Irrespective of your skills and availability, you can always find a right opportunity to volunteer, if you are passionate about a cause.