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Benefits of Volunteering for Financial Professionals

December 11, 2020

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

Several years ago, I volunteered at a community organization that provided basic training for women re-entering the workforce. At the time, I was in the HR profession and my expertise centered around providing coaching on resume writing, interviewing, and dressing for success. When I initially started volunteering, I thought I was rendering a big favor to the participants, but in reality, they helped me much more than I helped them.

After every meeting with the women, I felt lighter and more optimistic about life in general. My greatest satisfaction was knowing I was able to make a small difference in the lives of others. Volunteering giving back, paying it forward; or whatever you choose to call it; is important. I like to view it as an elixir for well-being.

With the holiday season upon us, we see people becoming more benevolent and willing to give of their time, resources and energy to charitable organizations.

What is pro bono work

Did you know that October is designated as National Pro Bono Month? The term “pro bono” comes from a Latin origin and it means for the public good.1 Pro bono is generally associated with the legal profession; however, it can also be applied to any service (legal or otherwise), that is rendered free of charge or for the public good.

As financial professionals, what service(s) can you provide pro bono? Perhaps it’s donating your time to teach financial education to high school students or promoting financial wellness for families. October is over, but pro bono work or volunteering doesn’t have to be relegated to just one month of the year because anytime is an opportune time for doing pro bono work. And this holiday season is a perfect time.

Benefits of volunteering

Some of the benefits of volunteering include opportunities to make a positive impact on your community, help a cause and/or organization that is important to you and possibly your clients, and bond with your professional network. Volunteering can also have a positive impact on your practice because it allows you to showcase your value to your clients and be seen as more than a financial professional.

Generations view volunteering differently

With the growing transfer of generational wealth, it is important for financial professionals to learn as much about each generation as possible to better reach and engage these groups. When it comes to community involvement, research shows that each generation views volunteering differently. In a blog post from Sterling Volunteers, the author shares that “baby boomers’ interest in giving back is born from a desire to leave a social legacy; millennials seek to contribute to a cause; and Gen Z’s want to gain work experience through volunteering.”2

What impact might this knowledge have on how you interact now with your clients or the advice you give them? At the very least, it could open the door to having a richer financial conversation with them.

At the end of the day, volunteering not only feels good, but also is good for you! Recent research suggests that performing acts of kindness and volunteering may promote happiness. The simple act of helping a stranger can be a mood booster, and genuinely connecting with someone is an even stronger mood booster to one’s overall well-bieng.3

As you enjoy this holiday season, consider how you can give back. It will be well worth the effort because when you give your time, resources and energy, you also receive. The benefits you receive will be exponentially greater than what you give.

How will you give back this holiday season?

Sources and Disclaimers

  • 1

    Tardi, Carla. “What Does Pro Bono Really Mean?” Investopedia, 16 Aug. 2020,

  • 2

    Sterling Volunteers Staff. “Volunteer Engagement Across Generations.” Sterling Volunteers, 18 Apr. 2019, Accessed 11 Dec. 2020.

  • 3

    Aknin, Lara B., et al. “Prosocial Spending and Well-Being: Cross-Cultural Evidence for a Psychological Universal.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 104, no. 4, 2013, pp. 635–652, 10.1037/a0031578. Accessed 11 Dec. 2020.

  • This information is general in nature and is not intended to be tax, legal, accounting or other professional advice.

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    Neither Nationwide nor its representatives give legal or tax advice. Please have your clients consult with their attorney or tax advisor for answers to their specific tax questions.