Today’s consumer wants to feel good about where he/she does business. This is a growing sentiment that will determine where consumers spend their dollars. Through Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, many businesses contribute a lot of capital, financial and human, to “give back” to the communities where they operate. However, some companies are not maximizing the return on their community service. What is your employee volunteer program about? Are you maximizing your service experience for volunteers, the company, and the community?
When I was in college, I worked for a big bank that engaged in community service through an employee volunteer network. Each location or city included an employee committee, open to all, which selected local community volunteer projects and recruited employees to participate, while the bank contributed a handsome cash donation to each event. Some of these events included Junior Achievement, Special Olympics, American River Adopt-A-Parkway, Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure, and more. These events were awesome. I made a lot of friends and connections, including the CEO, through the volunteer network activities where employees and retirees with their friends and families volunteered on their own time.
Special Olympics – the crown jewel of events. Employees from all over the region came out to volunteer in the 3-day event, providing coaching and cheering to developmentally disabled athletes, preparing lunch for all event participants and spectators, hosting medal ceremonies, and the like. For the athletes, this was the event of a lifetime and volunteers were inspired by the opportunity to make a difference by serving others with severe limitations. What is more, employees established a rapport with each other through volunteering for a perceived worthy cause, which raised morale in the workplace and throughout the organization. I met Brian and Shelly from the branch in Elk Grove, who now know employees in the loan center, and we will volunteer together next year too. It was not uncommon to hear, “I know him from Special Olympics,” “We worked together at Junior Achievement.”
What is the mission of YOUR employee volunteer program? Are you maximizing the service experience for employees, benefits to the company, and improving the community? Is your program objective to simply add a recipient to your donation board, or to leverage human capital of your organization to truly make a difference in the community where you do business? If it is not the latter, you are certainly missing out.
Leave a comment. Make YOUR difference in the world…Volunteer.