Giving Back with Steve Wade

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Volunteering and Philanthropy

This episode of Experience 50 will be extremely helpful to those of you who find at 50 that you want to start giving back to your community, the world, and the institutions that you hold near and dear to your heart. Our guest is my friend Steve Wade and the topic is volunteering and philanthropy.

I invited Steve to have coffee with me last week because I wasEpisode 12 Experience 50 Podcast nine months tardy in thanking him for a very kind personal note he sent me in January after I left my job to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. He is one of those special people that takes the time to send personal handwritten notes, a lost art to be sure.

It occurred to me while we spoke, that he would be the perfect guest to talk you through the steps and strategies to having the most positive volunteer experience possible. 

Steve Wade currently serves as Director of Donor Relations at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. His career has included service in leadership positions at the United Way of Northwestern Michigan, Grace Episcopal Church, Charleston Area Medical Center Health System and the West Virginia Health Care Association. He is 50, married with three children and generously contributes his time, talent and treasure to numerous organizations ranging from Little League to the Poverty Initiative.

Steve also earned his broadcasting chops as guest host of Mary in the Morning.

I really like Steve’s advice about jumping into a philanthropic and/or volunteer role. Before picking up the phone to call and offer help to the flavor of the month organization, consider the following:

What is important to you?

  • Helping children?
  • Helping animals?
  • The arts?
  • The environment?
  • The poor?
  • Your civic community?

What are you able to contribute in terms of time, talent and treasure?

Be clear with yourself about the boundaries of your generosity.

Be honest with yourself, and be able to communicate exactly what you hope to gain from the experience. This is not a bad thing!

Start researching organizations by asking friends, neighbors, go online. Find a few efforts that MAY interest you. Steve advises that when contacting organizations, it is a good idea to start with, “I MAY be interested in volunteering with your group and would like to learn what opportunities you may have”. Think of this as a two-way interview.

So, put in your earbuds and take a listen!


Here are some helpful links: I do not endorse any of these organizations, I am only providing a start to your own research.

Donor Advisories

How to be a Good Volunteer

International Volunteer Opportunities

Go Overseas, International Volunteering

The 50 Largest US Charities (Forbes)

Thanks so much for joining me today.

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