Doug peppers his time with volunteering


Like any small business owner, my days are alive with variety – meeting with new prospects, leading branding workshops, brainstorming ad campaigns, immersing myself in bookkeeping, taking the bins to the curb, and more. And between those daily occurrences, I make sure to pepper my time with volunteering – attending board meetings, writing news releases for nonprofits, twisting a friend’s arm for an auction donation.

For me, volunteering is fully integrated into my day and my career. Indeed, I see it as a perk of the job – an opportunity to connect with people I wouldn’t otherwise meet, spread my professional wings, and be allowed a little more creative latitude.

I have been a volunteer all my life. But it wasn’t until I took ownership of my marketing and PR agency in 2000 that I fully immersed myself in it as I looked for ways to offset the prevailing negative image of PR firms while boosting my business’s local profile. It made good sense to establish a distinctive, positive brand by doing good work (of course) but also by simply ‘doing good’. And so our team engaged with the charitable sector – and these new in-kind projects led (and continue to lead) to opportunities for me to join committees and boards, and contribute to community development and community benefit projects.

Indeed, in my numerous volunteer capacities I’ve been rewarded with opportunities to gain experience in leadership roles; to express my voice with confidence; to establish lifelong friendships; and to work alongside inspiring volunteers – themselves like-minded leaders in our community. And I’ve come to a richer understanding of how communities work: insight that has made me better in my job, in my community, and in my home as a husband and father.

It is perhaps in this role of father that the example I’ve set as a volunteer has had the greatest impact. Not only have we had several terrific family volunteering experiences over the years, but now that my children are adults, I’m delighted to see in them a new generation of thoughtful volunteers making their own contributions and gaining their own rewards.

– Doug MacMillan, Owner, Letter M Marketing

Photo and story courtesy of Chris Tiessen

Posted on October 16, 2015