Conquer your fear - volunteer to boost your career

1 September 2014 | Sue Moffatt

Sue Moffatt is director of the National Procurement Service for Wales, and a member of the CIPS Fellows Committee © Akin FalopeHow many of us casually volunteer to do something then think ‘oh dear, what have I done?’

That was the thought running through my mind when I started writing the CIPS Fellows Autumn blog, having put myself forward at the August Fellows Committee meeting to bash out a few words.

It got me thinking about volunteering in general, particularly in light of the ALS ice bucket challenge videos flooding the internet at the moment. It encourages people to throw a bucket of ice-cold water over themselves to raise awareness of a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The challenge is a fabulous idea that has gone viral and raised an enormous amount of money for a dreadful disease that I have lost my father in law and a very close friend to, and I think that is the point.

People volunteer for things that have either touched their hearts due to sadness or for something they are passionate about, whether it is coaching a kids football team, stewarding at rock festivals (another passion of mine, I get to see the bands for free) or simply holding a coffee morning for charity.

Is the same true of volunteering your professional life? Most people I come across involved in procurement and supply chain are pretty passionate about what they do, which is probably why CIPS has so many active branches all run by volunteers.

The opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, build contacts, share knowledge and add depth to one’s CV is an attractive proposition. Most of us are very busy so it must be the passion that makes us give up our own valuable free personal time to give something back.

I’ve learnt so much through volunteering for various CIPS committees and work-related projects. Although at the end of a long day, I sometimes think I’d rather be at home tucked up in front of the TV watching The West Wing, again. But then I get to an event and think ‘wow, I’m glad I came’.

When I first volunteered there was an element of nervousness. Would I appear stupid? Does everyone else know each other? Would I be an outsider? The answer is no, certainly when it comes to volunteering for the CIPS Fellows Committee. In truth, I think everyone appreciates we are all in it together and everyone has a valid contribution.

So if you are thinking of joining your local branch, volunteering for the committee, Congress or becoming a Fellow, make that leap of faith as the rewards are much greater than the effort involved. You will meet some amazing people and make some fabulous friends.

• Visit the CIPS website to find out more about the events that the Fellows Committee is organising.

☛ Sue Moffatt is director of the National Procurement Service for Wales, and a member of the CIPS Fellows Committee

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