Using Your Skills Outside the Office


| November 8, 2011 | in

Community service. For some, this conjures up thoughts of high school requirements or punishment for breaking the law. For us and many others around the world, it’s a way to give back to those around us. We at Nebraska Global/Don’t Panic Labs get involved in many community service projects, but we have an opportunity to use our unique skills to make an even larger impact.

Skills-based volunteering isn’t a new idea, but it doesn’t seem to attract as many companies as it should. Maybe it’s because running network cable and migrating email to the cloud isn’t as photo-friendly as picking up trash or raking leaves. Doctors are a prime example of using skills to help people. The People’s City Mission and Clinic with a Heart are great local examples. Doctors Without Borders does similar work, but on a global scale.

But here at Don’t Panic Labs, we know software and technology, and that’s a specialized area where we feel we have a lot to offer. We solve technological problems every day, so we think we’re pretty well equipped to share those skills with those who can benefit from it. We feel that great potential exists for technological innovation in nearly every facet of our lives, and to be able to extend that to non-profit service organizations is where we feel that some of the greatest benefits can be realized. Working in a developmental and consultatory capacity with local organizations such as TeamMates and Child Advocacy Center, we’ve helped improve our community using our skillsets.

But you may be wondering “how does this apply to me?” When it comes to volunteering, use the skills you have. Perhaps you can offer something other cannot. Get the most bang for your buck, even if the buck doesn’t cost anything. (Note: We still love to get dirty with some good old-fashioned physical labor too ?)

By volunteering, you can also serve as an example to others and help encourage both individuals and businesses to become more active in their communities. Usually this influence doesn’t extend much beyond your peer group, but sometimes the opportunity to spread to word moves to a larger stage. For example, Nebraska Global (the parent company of Don’t Panic Labs) received recognition last Thursday as one of many companies that are taking part in the Billion + Change campaign. The campaign is challenging companies to cumulatively provide $1 billion in skill-based service to non-profit organizations through July 2013. We really hope that more companies, from all over the country, take up this challenge to not only achieve the Billion + Change goal, but to keep those volunteer efforts going even when there isn’t a national campaign attached.

If you are interested in donating your time, efforts, and skills, let us know. We can help answer questions and put you in contact with the right people. Together, we really can change the world.

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