ENGAGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY
By Shari Boyce
The positive effects of companies engaging with their communities have been well documented in case studies, research and business publications. The simple goal of enhancing the world around them has always been, and should continue to be, the ultimate reward. But there are collateral benefits. Firms embracing the values of corporate social responsibility (CSR) see positive impacts not only on their communities, but also on their clients, customers, employees and potential employees.
CSR can take many forms. Some organizations go green with their operations. Others, like DAI Solutions, offer staff CSR leave to serve in their communities.
It’s no secret that positively influencing the lives of others is a gratifying experience. American religious leader and author Gordon Hinckley went a step further to say that one of the great ironies of life is that he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.
When seeking opportunities to volunteer and engage in your community, most of us are motivated by the desire to give, not to receive, but there are many personal and professional benefits to community engagement, including:
- Satisfaction and motivation, the foundation for a healthy mind and body
- Exposure to a wide range of people, including influential community and business leaders, which can present new opportunities for you and your employer
- Opportunities to develop new skills and apply existing skills in new ways
- Expanding your horizons and exploring new career options
- Demonstrating business, management, customer-service, team-building and leadership skills that can be incorporated into your professional profile
Volunteering Adds Value to Your Organization
The professional benefits gained from volunteering can also add value to your company. Volunteering teaches you to integrate into a team and, often, to work with limited resources. Sharing and promoting your volunteer experience in your workplace and with your clients and customers enhances your organization’s image as a good corporate citizen, which can have an effect on recruitment and retention.
Finding the “Right” Opportunity
Most of us are one click away from helping others in our community. A simple Google search makes finding local volunteer opportunities easy. Finding the “right” opportunity tends to be more challenging. What is the “right” opportunity? There is no definitive answer, but maybe Mr. Hinckley was on to something — the right opportunity may simply be one that has results benefitting both you and those you are serving.
There are many volunteer opportunities available — take your time to find the one that best matches you. Here are some helpful questions to consider when choosing a volunteer opportunity that best aligns with your interests and skills.
What is my passion?
Before you begin your search, think about the causes or issues that matter most to you. You can then begin to identify organizations in your community that address those issues.
What Are My Skills and What Would I Like to Teach?
Your professional experience is your best resource. Identify the skills you have developed in the workplace and how these skills can be leveraged to empower, guide and support others. Volunteers with professional skills to share can help service organizations build and sustain their capacity to bring solutions to relevant social problems.
What Do I Want to Learn?
Volunteering can present opportunities to experiment with new activities and develop new skills that you can eventually bring back into the workplace.
At DAI Solutions, we believe that offering employees CSR leave translates not only to stronger communities, but also to employees with a greater sense of self-worth and enhanced professional and personal skills.