Volunteerism: A Corporate Citizenship Strategy
One of my SMART Goals for 2011 is to give back to my community. In January, before developing my goals for the year, I came across an advertisement in my church bulletin. The ad sought volunteers for the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. With my curiosity peaked, I did my homework by surfing the organization’s website. A Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to protect the rights and advocate the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding. The volunteer Guardian ad Litem makes independent recommendations to the court by focusing on the needs of each child. After being convinced that this was a program worth devoting my time, I sent in my application. A few weeks later, I was welcomed into the program.
Now that I have completed the 30 hours of training, passed the FBI background check and received my official credentials, I will soon be assigned my first case. It seems like an opportune time to write about how I believe volunteerism can help companies, employees, non-profit agencies and targeted communities.
Studies and evidence generally view employee volunteer programs as successful.
Employers Gain By:
- Increased ability to recruit and retain valuable employees
- Company pride among employees
- Improved public image
- Fostering team spirit
Employees Gain By:
- Raised self-confidence and feelings of self-worth for making a contribution
- Building friendships and social relations in the workplace
- An opportunity to develop leadership skills
Non-profit Organizations Gain By:
- Ability to serve a broader constituency
- Garnering much needed resources
- Creation of healthy communities
By allowing employees to volunteer, the upside is the engagement of employees feeling that they are a larger part of the company. They feel good will to the company, supported by the company and recognized by the company for their efforts. By being committed, employees usually are more engaged with current products and services within the company and then work as goodwill ambassadors not only for the community agency they are working with but also for the company.
Company supported individual and group volunteer efforts have an impact. Having a paid time off policy for employee volunteerism seems to be the most attractive option. A company needs to adapt their volunteer initiatives to respond to the needs and concerns of their employee-volunteers and the approved programs they are invested. By doing so, in turn, the employees align themselves more closely to the company’s defined mission.
Thankfully, I have the support of Avatel to make court appearances that take place during normal business hours. Having the ability to volunteer through the workplace allows me to more seamlessly balance my work and volunteer efforts into my life. And, more importantly, we all will, in some way, have a significant, positive impact on a deserving child in need.
Guest Blogger – Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager
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