Winfried Hagenhoff

Pro Bono - Many AAA Advisors also volunteer their time

Today I would like to share an observation: almost all members of our network of freelance advisors are also involved in volunteer work. A glance at the directory of our advisors quickly shows that most of us can already look back on a demanding professional life. Our current stage of life makes voluntary commitment easier, but it is not always a matter of course.

Our commitment is highly diverse:

Direct social and charitable commitment, for example at Lebenshilfe Lindau or the telephone crisis line, is a first pillar.

No less important, in my view, is our work in organizations which, for their part, promote fundraising for social projects locally, regionally and also worldwide with activities and also lend a hand, in the truest sense of the word, in the physical implementation of projects. The Rotary and Lions Clubs should be mentioned here under the motto: "we serve": in communities of like-minded people, "helping hands" and funds are provided with an eye for what is urgently needed locally or regionally. Typical recipients of this support are, for example, the Child Protection League, initiatives against violence against women and children, social neighborhood and participation initiatives, school projects in so-called developing countries, and many more.

Engagements that draw even more directly on our experience as consultants are those that help with the founding of a social initiative (such as "Mobile Retter"), those that offer new, full consulting projects every year as "help for helpers" such as, or - often in advance - startup foundations or the kick-off of social projects - e.g. in the course of hackathons or via ProjectTogether. The latter engagements sometimes keep us busy for months, but sometimes it only takes one or two hours of (online) consulting in which we contribute experience, give tips on the do's and don'ts, and are available again afterwards on request if necessary.

Consulting requests are often received from student initiatives or universities, for example projects on small-scale economic development in Africa or consulting on the acquisition, linking and statistically correct interpretation of statistical data - sometimes even for a master's thesis. And finally, advisory board activities for providers of charitable services also fall into this category of voluntary commitment.

Unpaid involvement in elected civic bodies such as local councils, citizens' initiatives or associations rounds out the picture.

But what is the motivation behind this?  Is there a motivation that unites our members - when voluntary commitment is not a prerequisite for membership in AAA-Advisors? What we have in common is decades of successful professional activity in responsible jobs. We share democratic and social values. One thing we have in common is our professional, productive curiosity to learn about new things and to contribute to them with ideas and time. And for some of us, this sense of discovery also includes "getting involved" in the life situations and needs of others, combined with the desire to help unobtrusively in word and deed.  This desire to remain involved, to make active and meaningful use of the more time available, to continue to make new contacts, to take up new ideas, or to help "push" social initiatives to the best of our ability is the explanation for the high proportion of volunteers in our consulting community. Volunteering is always horizon-expanding!

This is one of the reasons why I and my colleagues are looking forward to meeting more new advisors as members of AAA Advisors - we have firmly planned a corresponding growth of our professional network, and certainly even more voluntary commitments will benefit from this.

(All above links to social initiatives are in the context of the engagement of our advisors and of course do not represent any valuation towards other initiatives not mentioned or linked).

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About the author
Winfried Hagenhoff

Winfried - formerly at Lufthansa, TNS and WPP’s Kantar- is an experienced Senior Executive Advisor. He loves to advise on innovative products and services based on empirical data, and to transform advice into strategy for brands and customer experience. As a former CTO/COO, he is passionate about tech-driven innovations, especially regarding mobility (Auto, Travel, Transport, Sharing), communication, health, public services, and production.

For the last two years, he has been supporting young tech firms and helped social institutions with pro-bono advice.