Did you know that people who volunteer two or more hours a week actually improve their health? Or, that more than half of volunteers in one study reported an increase in open-mindedness toward others? Both of these positive effects translate to a more productive professional life, which is why Celerity encourages volunteerism as a part of our culture. Volunteering is a great way to reinforce the professional skills you use every day, especially: teamwork, commitment, accountability and confidence.
In 2012, Celerity employees across nine offices ran in charity races, donated clothing, volunteered their time, raised money, used their skills, contributed meals and gifted toys to benefit those less fortunate. A few of our biggest efforts resulted in a pro bono website for veterans and a $4,420 donation to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We’re proud to reflect on what our employees have given back to our communities this year, and we encourage others to join with us in redoubling our volunteer efforts in 2013.
If you aren’t sure where to start, try this:
- If you have five minutes: use social media
Check out Facebook or Twitter for causes you care about. “Like” or follow them to stay connected with what’s new. Many times, you’ll find links on their pages that allow you to make a quick donation too.
- If you have an hour: use what you have
Everything from old mobile phones to last year’s business suits can be donated for good. Spend 30 minutes sorting, then find your donation center through a quick internet search for “Where can I donate…” Along the same lines, a blood donation can save a life with an hour of your time. Many cities are desperate for donors, and setting up an appointment is quick and easy.
- If you have two hours: use your network
Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers to find upcoming events you can do together. Food drives, community clean-ups, and charity walk/runs are great ways to help. Contributing feels great, and you’ll sometimes receive small perks like coupons or prizes from the larger events.
- If you have a day: make it fun
If you have a free day once a month, or even on the weekend, try finding an opportunity that relates to your interests. Love art? Maybe your local community center needs teachers for an after-school program. Are you a social media champ? Many national-level organizations need help in the offices of their local chapters doing things you do every day. You can add to your resume and build connections with just a few extra hours a week.
- If you have a week: hit the road
There are a number of domestic and international volunteer trips you can take to build houses, provide clean water, or assist in areas affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Many charitable organizations sponsor trips, but you can also find opportunities through your place of worship or workplace, too. Some companies offer time off to employees for volunteering, so check with your human resources department before you schedule.
Remember: giving back doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, so if you can’t take these suggestions, just put that extra dollar or kind word to good use. The same ingenuity and creativity you apply to your work has just as much value outside the conference room, and will make a real impact on the world around you.