Giving Back-How to Volunteer Effectively

By AHP Staff

We perform acts of kindness every day, sometimes without realizing it. When you let a mother with two fussy children cut in front of you at the supermarket checkout, or when you give an elderly person a kind smile and “hello,” you are giving of yourself in a way that positively affects others. We tend to get what we give. The universe has a way of bringing good stuff back to you.

You chose the hair profession because you have a mind to serve others, and as a hairdresser or barber, you’ve been gifted with the hands and talent to do so. You might want to consider the ways, big or small, you can give a little more. If you really engage with others by volunteering in your community, it will do your heart good, and you may discover something about yourself as well. It may also be a good move for your business.

Why Should I Volunteer? two people sorting clothes for donation

It’s just good business to volunteer. If there is a particular cause you are passionate about, you can create awareness in your community and develop your reputation locally. You will interact with all kinds of people, including some that may end up being clients. When you volunteer your time and talent at charity events, the people who participate will appreciate that you’re a caring individual who made time to give back. It opens the door for you to mention you’re a hairdresser and let them know where your place of business is.

Getting Started 

You should try to volunteer in your own community, where your current clients live and where it will be your best chance at meeting potential clients. 

You can look online to find all kinds of local opportunities. Visit to get contacts for events that have already been coordinated and need people to fill certain roles. Another site,, is a way to find groups in your community based around a specific interest or activity. Sign up to see what’s happening around you and contact group administrators to see how you can volunteer your services. You could offer a demonstration on one of the latest hairstyles for the fall season, a short how-to on creating a smoky eye, a quick talk to reveal the myths and facts on hair care, or whatever area you specialize in.

Ask your friends and other stylists if they know of events you may be interested in—book clubs, meetup groups, or social functions. Your clients may also be a great source of information. Let them know you are looking to volunteer and ask if they know about any local groups or charity events that could use your services. 

Once you have a little information about the charity or event, pick up the phone to speak with someone to really get a feel for what’s needed and how you may be able to help.

Who Will Your Audience Be?

If you’re looking to build your business while you contribute to a good cause, think about who your audience will be. Potential clients come in all varieties and all ages. Who will be most likely to take advantage of your services? It may be giving a talk about hair care at a shelter for abused women who might need a boost in self-esteem. It might be performing services for female cancer patients at a local hospital. Think about what each group would most like to learn or experience. 

What Comes Next 

When you’re ready to volunteer, the best scenario from a business perspective is to offer your skills. That can mean anything from giving a demo on cutting or styling, talking to a group on the latest trends in hair color, or even offering free consultations. You are the hair expert and have a wealth of knowledge, so spread it around.

When it’s time for the event, take your business cards, your menu of services, free samples of your product line, and be prepared to use your hands. If you have a t-shirt with your salon name and logo, wear it to let people associate your business with your volunteering. This isn’t a time for a hard sell, but you do want to be prepared if someone asks you how they can contact you or what services you offer. Your focus should be connecting and learning about people in your community. However, when you’re caring and connecting, the promotion of your business just happens on its own.

When to Do It 

You know the holidays are a crazy busy time for hairdressers, to that’s not the best time of year to volunteer. Check your schedule to make sure you can spare the time to volunteer.

If you join a large charity event that has been scheduled way in advance, it’s hard to predict what your schedule will be. But if you have committed to the event, you must make the time to participate. Maybe you can only commit to one event each season. No matter the frequency, you will still be making a valuable contribution.

You can also consider holding your own charity drive. Host your own fundraiser at your salon, inviting all your clients (and their friends) to come and share in a worthy cause. Set a dollar amount as a goal you want to raise for the charity of your choice. Let the attendees know you’ll offer a percentage of your sales that day to the charity, or you can offer to match a certain dollar amount. You could ask your clients and their friends to bring items to donate to your chosen charity, such as used shoes, clothing, canned goods, school supplies, toiletries, or blankets. There are so many ways to help!

Give with an Open Heart 

You can damage your reputation if you join a charity event, then act as if it is an annoyance or an imposition on your very important, busy life that you must be there. Whatever you choose to do, do it with an open heart, a smile on your face, and a spring in your step. Never be late or leave an event before it’s over, and if someone helped to coordinate the event, take a minute to send a thank-you note. They are certain to be in contact with many people in your community, so this small gesture of goodwill will make a positive impression and will have them saying good things about you to others. 

Volunteering can help you gift a person who really needs it. In the process of helping others, you will have helped yourself. 

Beauty-Related Volunteer Opportunities

Look Good Feel Better:

Beauty Changes Lives:

Salon Spa Professional Association:

Beauty Bus Foundation:

Cut It Out Program Against Domestic Abuse:

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