Hello GOTO enthusiasts. Thanks for tuning in. My name is Dan Salmon and this week I'm a guest blogger for GOTO. 4-9 years ago, however, I was a founding member of the charity, sat on the Board of Directors and ran the Events Committee (you can learn more here).

Unfortunately, my world outside GOTO (mostly the soul-crushing job...OK, it's not soul-crushing, I actually like it, but you know what I mean...) lead me to scale back my commitment.

Today I do my best to help with a donation each year, hounding my employer to do the same and (of course) attending the fundraisers and catching up with old friends. Today, though, I'd like to share my thoughts on how GOTO has helped me in other areas of my life and pass along a little advice about how both you and the volunteer organization of your choice (hopefully it's GOTO) can benefit from dedicating a little of your spare time to a good cause.

Volunteerism offers many things to young professionals including the opportunity to do some good, network with peers and to kick back and have a good time at fundraisers. But of the many great lessons and experiences I gained through GOTO, the chance to assume a leadership role at a young age was the most valuable. Getting the opportunity to lead a group of peers is one that comes rarely to an early to mid-twenty something in New York City professional life, however youth volunteer organizations like GOTO provide them in spades. Now, as I move through my (gasp!) early 30s and more responsibility falls on my shoulders in the professional world, I can look back and see how my time with GOTO taught me skills in people management, priority setting and multi tasking that serve me increasingly well today.

That said, leadership is not for every volunteer, particularly at the outset. In order to best help your volunteer organization, the most important thing one must remember is to not bite off more than one can chew. Nothing disrupts the planning of a fundraiser or scholarship recipient event more than a volunteer who can't fulfill their piece of the plan due to unforeseen circumstances. To use the baseball analogy, start by slapping a few singles and doubles before you swing for the fences. It takes time to figure out how a volunteer commitment will fit into your busy life, so there's no need to rush it.

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