While small business success can be the result of many different actions and decisions, at SCORE, we think one thing is essential: volunteers.

In April, we celebrate National Volunteer Month to recognize the dedication of volunteers in all varieties of service, whatever their reason for participating.

We celebrate our SCORE volunteers all year long. Every single SCORE mentor is a volunteer! More than 10,000 volunteers in 250 SCORE chapters across the United States work one-on-one with local and aspiring business owners either in-person, through email or via video chat.

In fiscal year 2019, SCORE volunteers donated 4.9 million hours to mentoring clients, planning and teaching workshops, and running their local chapters. Together, these volunteers served more than 138,000 clients and more than 225,000 workshop attendees!

Mentoring Offers Rewards for Clients and Volunteers Alike

Whether SCORE volunteers host meetings with clients, teach workshops or keep their chapters organized, they all support opportunities for individual business owners to learn and grow. In 2019, SCORE mentors helped create more than 29,000 businesses!

At the same time, our volunteer mentors find benefits for themselves, from sharing their expertise, to building connections within their local communities. Many volunteers refine their leadership skills by guiding their chapters or districts.

"Our clients gain some guidance and direction and we learn new things every time we meet with a client, so it’s a win-win situation for all of us involved,” Larry Johnson, who volunteers with Central Illinois SCORE, said. “I’m just thrilled to be a part of giving to our community.”

Mentor Hal Shelton even found a new career through mentoring — as a published author. After guiding hundreds of new entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. area through the business planning process, he wrote a book to guide aspiring business owners regardless of location. 

Are You Up for the Challenge?

What does it take to be a SCORE volunteer? A willingness to help, experience to share, and enthusiasm for small business and entrepreneurship are key. Volunteer mentors receive continuing training in the spirit of lifelong learning. You can help in four different volunteer roles:

  • Mentor: offer confidential business mentoring services, either in person or online
  • Subject matter expert: provide focused knowledge based on your professional skills or industry
  • Workshop presenter: lead local workshops, seminars and events to help entrepreneurs meet their goals and achieve success
  • Chapter support role: share your skills in marketing, tech, finance, fundraising and more to help expand the outreach of SCORE

And if you’re a SCORE client, we welcome you to become a mentor, too. In fact, some of our newest volunteers were once SCORE clients themselves.

“When you get an opportunity to change the trajectory of someone’s life by providing resources and skills and tools that can help them build something successful such as a business, for me it’s exciting to be a part of that,” Nakia Melecio, a mentor from Atlanta, said of his experience as a volunteer mentor.

Think being a SCORE volunteer is the right opportunity for you? Register to volunteer today.

About the Author(s)

 Bridget  Weston

Bridget Weston is the CEO of the SCORE Association, where she provides executive leadership and works directly and collaboratively with the Board of Directors to establish the vision and direction of SCORE.

Volunteers Drive SCORE’s Mission of Shaping Small Business Success