You’ve probably heard someone who’s volunteered their services for a charitable cause say they got more out of it than they gave. That may be hard for some to believe but it’s true! According to The Corporation for National and Community Service, people who volunteer have longer life expectancies than non-volunteers. In addition, volunteers enjoy a heightened sense of well-being, reduced insomnia, strengthened immune systems, and improved self-confidence.
While the health benefits are not the purpose for originating Volunteer Day here at RightStar, I’m hoping they will offer employees the motivation needed to participate. This year, RightStar’s Volunteer Day is on May 13th or May 14th. I have selected three charities from which the staff can choose. They are:
- The House, Inc., Woodbridge, VA. Volunteers will help prepare for the Cinderella Ball, dedicated to students with disabilities and life threatening illnesses. They’ll steam gowns, assemble outfits, and other needed tasks.
- Capital Area Food Bank, Washington, DC. Volunteer duties may include packing and/or sorting donated food, working on the shopping floor, and assisting with various other tasks at the food bank.
- Laureate Academy, Dallas, TX. Volunteers will help receive and sort donated books for students who are reading English for the first time.
If the health benefits alone are not enough to motivate the staff to volunteer, I’m offering dinner at a nice restaurant to the volunteer group with the best story about their experience.
Crystal Little, one of our consultants, is a shining example of what it means to serve the community. She volunteered to work at six hockey games in San Antonio, TX between February 26 and April 8, selling “Lucky Pucks”, a fundraiser to benefit the Wounded Warriors Sled Hockey Team through Operation Comfort. Crystal reported that on “Military Appreciation Night”, they sold out of the Lucky Pucks within 10 minutes of the first period! What a great way to thank the soldiers who willingly go into harm’s way for the security of our nation. Crystal is an inspiration to us to get out and volunteer!
So why encourage employees to volunteer their time on RightStar’s clock? Turns out that allowing employees to volunteer during work hours from time to time helps make for happier, more productive employees. Says Jessica Rodell, who conducted the research for her doctoral dissertation in management at the University of Florida, “Rather than siphoning off work hours or adding distraction, workers given permission to engage in public service worked harder, applied themselves on the job and supported their employers in the workplace and in the community.” Research has proven that employees who volunteer are more likely to work harder and focus better on tasks on the job, to speak positively about their employer in public, and even take less time off work in the long run.
While to say I support the dogma of Karma might be a stretch, I do believe that you get out of life what you put into it. What it simply comes down to is this: volunteering to help build a better community for us all is just the right thing to do!