Volunteering: Improving Morale in Your Community and Company
JULY 6, 2010:
Courtney Kupsch, Creative Manager
Guest Blogger Leadership Work-Life Balance
Looking for an extra curricular activity that could improve you emotionally, morally and professionally? Try volunteering. Not to sound like a goody two-shoes – although I’ve been pegged before – but I haven't found anything to be more gratifying and rewarding. What’s even better is it might be possible for you to give back AND get out of work to do it. Many employers are finding that by allowing and promoting volunteering during work hours, they’re not only benefiting the communities they live in but also the employees that work for them.
I recently read in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology that, "Volunteering can bring many positive experiences, such as the satisfaction of needs that aren't met through work, mastering new skills and relating to people socially, and it also helps people to thoroughly disengage from their work."
I can tell you personally that having a day off work to help others definitely makes coming back more enjoyable. The organization I most frequently work with is Free Arts Minnesota. This non-profit organization believes in the healing powers of artistic expression and brings it into the lives of abused, neglected at at-risk children. Every minute spent with them re-inspires me to be more creative, appreciative, patient, helpful and communicative in the workplace and in my personal life.
As a graphic designer it might be obvious that I’d opt for a volunteering position in art but there’s easily something just as applicable for you. Here’s just a few suggestions based on things you could already enjoy:
• Enjoy music? Check out Reverb. They promote “green” touring practices by educating and engaging musicians and fans to take part in a more sustainable future. Volunteer opportunities include working at some of your favorite concerts.
• Science? Consider the Science Museum of Minnesota. Work behind the scenes of some amazing exhibits like Titanic, Body Worlds and The Dead Sea Scrolls.
• Want to save lives? Give blood. Almost 1 in 7 people that enter a hospital need blood and just one pint can save up to 3 lives. We actually donate as a group at work through a program called Donor Days and we’re able to do it over the lunch hour. Check out www.memorialbloodcenters.org to learn more.
• Like to travel? Try PLAY it Forward Adventures. They combine international, active and outdoor adventure with volunteering.
• You’re a dude? Man-up and Mentor! That’s not an order; it’s a campaign. Bolder Options ran a campaign last October to recruit 50 male mentors in 50 days. Their mission is to teach youth how to succeed in all of life’s races.
• Not sure what you’d be interested in doing? Sites like VolunteerMatch and HandsOn Twin Cities can help find you the perfect fit.
Some of you might be thinking, “That sounds great but there’s no way my workplace will allow me to take a paid day off to volunteer.” ASK! It can’t hurt to inquire about the possibility. I did, and I am happy to say that this is the second year our company’s president has granted all employees 16 hours of volunteer time for any non-profit organization.
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.