How to Help When Offering "Help"

 Let’s say you find a cause that touches you so deeply you feel compelled to ACT – to contact the organization and write a note to offer yourself for whatever they need.

“I’d like to be involved – let me know how.”

And then… 


Maybe an impersonal form letter, thanking you for your interest, but no direction on what to do next. What now? You feel slightly offended?

Not only have I been there, but I’ve sent that email.

Maybe it's not really about you. 

Here’s all the questions your offer leaves the organization:

-Is this short term? Long term? Something else?

-Do you want a hands-on project? To utilize a professional skillset?

-Would you raise funds for us? Would you solicit donations?

-Is this a one-time offer? How often could we count on you?

-What do you WANT to do?


The catch-twenty-two is you probably don’t know yourself.

Rather than make a blanket help offer, try to define what you want to do. What can the organization expect of you?

Will you stuff envelopes? Contribute to social media efforts? Do some boring computer work? Man the phones? Or do you only want the “glory” work?

Whatever it is –own it. Ask for it. State it. Go for it.

If you don’t know what you have to offer, no organization will know how to best utilize your desire to contribute.

My number one recommendation to any and everyone:

Any organization, especially small ones, will put a lot of effort into you. Be upfront with your commitments. Be upfront with yourself about your self-expectations.

Do some exploring within yourself as you contemplate serving a mission. The more clear and direct you can be, the more impact you will have. 

Ultimately, that's what we all want - efficient impact. My hope is you can become strategic with your offer to support, so the organization is more quick to accept the offer. We can't allocate your talent unless we know what to do with it and most of us are too strapped to dig into your request. You can best support your chosen cause by knowing exactly what you will do and what you have to offer.