You can gain a lot of satisfaction when you volunteer your expertise to help small businesses grow.
If you or someone you know is a successful corporate executive with deep business knowledge; a social media maven who guided a corporate brand to big time success; a public speaker and trainer who can inspire small business owners to climb to new heights of success; or a savvy entrepreneur who has launched successful startups, there’s exciting news for you.
Consider volunteering with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors and help small businesses recover from the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Your skills are valuable, needed and appreciated by small business clients and entrepreneurs,” said SCORE CEO Bridget Weston. “Volunteer to join our community of more than 10,000 volunteers in 1,500 communities. You’ll find a wealth of support and build back small business where you live.”
Only about a third of small business owners reported turning a profit in 2020. Black and Hispanic-owned small businesses were particularly hard hit. Only 8.8% of Black business owners and 6.7% of Hispanic business owners reported profitability and growth last year, according to research conducted by SCORE.
SCORE welcomes all volunteers and offers a variety of ways to get involved based on the time you have to give and your interests and expertise. You don’t have to be retired to volunteer with SCORE (which was formerly known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives), notes Weston. Today, half of SCORE’s volunteers are actively employed or running their own businesses.
Volunteer roles include:
• Subject matter expert—Volunteer 2-10 hours per month and consult with mentors and business owners to answer questions in your area of expertise. Share your know-how and professional knowledge in e-commerce, accounting, human resources, social media or anything else and be an invaluable resource for small business owners.
• Local workshop presenter—Share your mastery of a business topic or strategy and deliver local business training for small business owners. The time required can be as little as 2-10 hours for each presentation.
• Business mentor—SCORE mentors provide hands-on assistance to local small business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs, helping develop business plans and a road map for growth. Mentors have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, as well as broad expertise as a business owner or upper-level manager. This role requires training and then 15-20 hours per month of volunteer time.
The benefits of volunteering with SCORE include networking with local and national business experts and building new community relationships through the local SCORE chapter, notes Weston. Volunteers also expand their own skill sets through training and receive local and national recognition. Helping others is extremely rewarding, and many SCORE volunteers value supporting the small business community where they live and knowing they are making a genuine difference.
Volunteering through SCORE creates a positive, tangible affect. In 2020, SCORE volunteers donated nearly four million hours of service and helped start 45,027 new businesses. They also supported the creation of 119,562 jobs and mentored 143,651 small business clients, many of whom reported higher revenues and business growth.
“My hard work is worth it when I read the e-mails saying how grateful people are for SCORE’s help,” said Toma Talpa, a volunteer with SCORE Chicago. “I chose SCORE because of its mission and because of the people who volunteer. They are all passionate about helping entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their goals. It always amazes me that all of the resources and national workshops that SCORE provides are free to anyone.”
To get involved, apply at score.org/volunteer. The SCORE chapter will reach out to learn more about you and to share information about onboarding and training.