Five Questions to Reveal Your Volunteering Passion, One Great Place to Apply It
September 16, 2020
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Volunteerism can take so many shapes and forms, and there certainly is no shortage of worthy local, regional, national and global organizations looking to connect with volunteers with talents appropriate to their needs and environments. It’s important to keep your mind open and explore the tremendous variety of what is out there. 

At the same time, it can be challenging to narrow down the wide scope of opportunities and identify exactly how and where you feel called to engage. How might you go about finding the source of your personal passion? ; Here are five questions to ask yourself that might prove helpful:

  1. Is there a humanitarian or societal challenge that motivates you to do better? 
  2. How have the ways and places you’ve grown up shaped your interests and sense of purpose? 
  3. Are you passionate about making some service or tool such as technology more accessible, more affordable, safer and/or more secure?
  4. Do you have some knowledge or a particular skill set—technical or nontechnical—that you want to apply? For example, in problem assessment or solving, communications,  project lifecycle management or others?
  5. Do you especially enjoy convening or participating in groups of passionate people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives in evaluating different approaches and solutions to problems?

Your answers to these types of questions might lead you to discover a particular wellspring of passion from which arises the drive and diligence to help make lives better. The global standards-development community certainly is in need of contributions from people of all of these motivations.

Standards are published documents that establish specifications and procedures designed to help ensure product functionality and compatibility, facilitate interoperability and support consumer safety and public health. They form the fundamental building blocks for product development in every industry, and, as such, they ultimately have bearing on the quality of life of everyone around the globe. Standards are pervasive. No matter where you go in the world, you would be hard-pressed to not find an influence from some sort of standardization.

IEEE is a global leader in standards development, and many of our standards are deeply embedded in the daily lives of people everywhere. For example, connectivity around the world relies on IEEE standards such as IEEE 802.3™ Ethernet, IEEE 802.11™ “Wi-Fi®” and the IEEE 802.15™ family for the Internet of Things (IoT). Beyond fueling connectivity, standards developed through IEEE also contribute to enhancing health and medicine, reducing environmental impact and keeping people safe, among other benefits. In these ways, standards are integral to the mission of IEEE. They are a prime vehicle through which we advance technology for the benefit of humanity. 

IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) provides a globally open, consensus-building environment and platform that empowers people to work together in developing standards and various other industry solutions shaping a better, safer and more sustainable world. Beyond standards development, IEEE SA products and services encompass a full technology development lifecycle, from pre-standardization to market adoption and use. For example, IEEE SA Open is a comprehensive platform offering the open-source community cost-effective options for developing and validating their projects. And the IEEE Conformity Assessment Program (ICAP) develops well-defined processes and procedures, which are designed to evaluate and confirm product features and functionality defined by standards.

IEEE SA is a global network of industry and technology experts and thought leaders that is transforming the way people live, work and communicate, and IEEE SA is committed to inclusivity of voices from new professional disciplines, new geographic markets and new perspectives. 

As you continue to explore where your particular volunteering passions might be applied, make your mark with IEEE SA and contribute to standards development and other initiatives. Your unique voice is appreciated.

Article contributed by Karen Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Public Affairs & Marketing, IEEE Standards Association

About the author:

Karen McCabe is a Senior Director of Public Affairs & Marketing at IEEE where she drives efforts to build and connect communities working at the intersection of technology, standards, and policy.

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