Benefits of Volunteer Experience: An Interview with Mike Murphy

Hello! Welcome to our Project Stella Resources Blog!

I’ve spent many years working with community members, parents, and volunteer managers that want to plan meaningful service opportunities for young volunteers. The benefits of volunteer experience and having these projects available for youth is vast.

One huge benefit from volunteering is that youth learn important lessons that can later help their  experience in college, in a career, and in life!

New here? I also have the following blog posts to help raise kids who R.O.C.K.

5 Reasons you need to start a Kindness Club at your school or in your community today

5 Things you can do today to stop bullying in your classroom

5 Awesome Ways your school can R.O.C.K. with students who Radiate Outrageous Compassion & Kindness

25 items to have in your home or classroom to inspire kids to be kinder

3 Classroom Management tips that encourage students to be kind

Top 12 Book Recommendations from Moms who R.O.C.K

Our interview today is with Mike Murphy. Mike is from Tucker, GA. He started attending Georgia College (Milledgeville, GA) in the fall of 2007.  He had his first experiences working with The GIVE (GCSU Involved in Volunteer Efforts) Center as a volunteer with his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi.  Mike graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature in 2011 and a Masters of Art in English in 2014.

What was your first impression of the work The GIVE Center does?

My first impression of what The GIVE Center did was that they were the volunteer center on campus. I knew through my fraternity that they offered resources to people interested in volunteering, and if you wanted to get involved someway, that’s where you went.

How involved were you with The GIVE Center?

I was heavily involved with The GIVE Center, and consider it one of the most influential parts of my Georgia College experience. My service path started with my fraternity. At first I simply took part in projects that my fraternity was involved in, such as Greek Week events, Santa’s Miracle Fund (which my big brother, Chris Turner, founded), and Dance Marathon. This continued until my junior year, when I began planning a lot of service events for my fraternity. My senior year I became Pi Kappa Phi’s Philanthropy Chair, and also worked for The GIVE Center as a Volunteer and Social Media Manager.

When I started my Graduate program, I became the Marketing and Social Media Graduate Assistant for The GIVE Center. I also served on the Executive Board for Georgia College Miracle for two years as the Donor Relations Chair and the Media Chair. My final year with The GIVE Center I transitioned into the Service Leadership Graduate Assistant, and new and existing service groups on campus.

Talk about one experience you had during a service project that taught you the most. This may not be your favorite experience but one that made you grow/step out of your comfort zone. What are the benefits of volunteer experience?

One of the most important “Ah-Ha!” moments I’ve had during a service project came during my second year on the Executive Board for Georgia College Miracle. At the end of Dance Marathon every year, the Donor Relations Chair reveals the total amount of money raised for the Children’s Hospital. We had set our sights high that year with a fundraising goal of $75,000 because the previous year we had raised $42,000, almost doubling the $25,000 raised the year before that. The whole Board was nervous because the goal was so high and this was the first year that in-kind donations wouldn’t count towards the final total. When the final number was revealed, we had raised just over $52,000.
Initially most of the board was heartbroken because we hadn’t reached our goal. We had worked hard all year, but had still fallen short. This was one of the toughest moments as a service leader, but it was also one of the most important. I learned a lot about setting goals from that experience. We were too focused on growing too quickly, and set a goal that was unrealistic. We didn’t take into account that the fundraising total would be affected by in-kind donations, and we didn’t work hard enough to secure the corporate sponsorships needed to reach the goal.
This is something that has stuck with me to this very day, as I now work for a nonprofit and am involved with our fundraising.

Learn more about the organizations Mike was involved in:

The GIVE Center

Georgia College & State University

Pi Kappa Phi

Georgia College Miracle

Children’s Miracle Network

There are many benefits of volunteering! Getting involved in volunteering can help you gain experience. It can build your resume and you can develop leadership skills that will help you in the future.  Young volunteers need Service Project Coordinators that will organize meaningful service projects for them.  

SHARE this interview with a young person you know. Inspire him or her in seeking out volunteer opportunities that will help them gain skills and experiences that meet their interests. 

Did you find this information helpful?

Does this information inspire you to do more but it feels a little overwhelming?

No worries. I’m here for you!

You can download – The Complete Guide for Student Leaders to Plan Service Projects: Starting with the Basics. The workbook includes 8 sections to help you plan successful and meaningful service opportunities.

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