Mike Berta (http://www.mikeberta.us/blog) made a comment to my post on networking that I think really deserves some thought and comment.

Community Service Organizations are one really positive way to network and get involved in your community at the same time. Something about the satisfaction of volunteering, and using your good fortune to help others really helps you bond with your fellow volunteers. Even though doing those things are a reward unto themselves, you’ll find a ton of really successful people being involved in those types of organizations. And they’re precisely the type of people that if you want to get to that magical “next level” that it’s great to involve yourself with.

There are a ton of them out there, and if you go to church, your church is a great place to start. However, here are some of the best known- give me some feedback and let me know what YOU do to impact your community:

Rotary International“Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 32,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.” Did you catch that? 1.2 million Rotarians, 32,000 clubs, 200 countries. That means there’s probably one close by to you. If you go to their Club Locator, you can do a search. (Hint: Use the “drill down” option.) Or, easier yet, use their “New Prospective Member Form“, and a nearby club will send you information.

Most everyone knows someone that belongs to a Lions Club. “Since 1917, Lions clubs have offered people the opportunity to give something back to their communities. From involving members in projects as local as cleaning up an area park or as far-reaching as bringing sight to the world’s blind, Lions clubs have always embraced those committed to building a brighter future for their community. Today with more than approximately 45,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas, Lions have expanded their focus to help meet the ever-increasing needs of our global community. Our programs are continually changing to meet new needs and greater demands, but our mission has never wavered: ‘We Serve.'” To find a Lions Club near you, click on the club locator on the left, agree to the terms and conditions, and search by state.

There are a ton more great community service organizations, and I’ll list some of them here. Once again, if I missed some good ones, please comment so that others can benefit as well.

Kiwanis International – http://www.kiwanis.org/

Elks Club – http://www.elks.org/

Shriners – http://www.shrinershq.org/Shrine/Membership/default.aspx

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America – http://www.bbbs.org/ – This site is especially important – it “helps children reach their potential through professionally supported one-to-one relationships with proven results.”  Making a difference in the life of a child really counts, and you’re doing something to preserve and benefit our future.

There are a ton of others, but by joining something, and giving to the community, you can gain great personal satisfaction and reward, as well as building business and personal relationships that will last your entire career.