Why do we help other people? Honestly. What is it about sacrificing our time, resources, and energy that moves human beings to search for local volunteer opportunities? It is not only a question for the individual but for companies wishing to adopt volunteerism into their company culture.
The more an employer encourages their employees to participate in corporate or individual volunteer opportunities, the more their workplace atmosphere is mutually beneficial for everyone. Let’s take a look at what neuroscience has revealed around the importance of volunteering and how it impacts employees.
The Brain and Volunteer Connection
There are two crucial elements that a person needs before they can devote their time to helping others. When these two motivators are met, a person feels a sense of euphoria and contentment — or a “helper’s high.”
The reward part of the brain is highly activated when helping another person. Seeing the look on another person’s face after doing something for them is critical for the giver. Even imagining how someone will react to our contributions physiologically motivates us to give and help others.
The Significance of Helping
Understanding the significance of volunteering is equally important. People need to know why they are helping as much as whose life they are impacting. People who volunteer often think, “How is what I’m doing benefiting the other person?”. Connecting to a deeper meaning in your choice of volunteer activity keeps you motivated to continue lending a helping hand for many years.
While these insights apply to anyone serving in volunteer work, there are benefits to companies getting their team involved, as well.
Why Companies Find Volunteer Opportunities Appealing
Philanthropic companies are shown to have higher employee retention, increased productivity, and higher morale. As awareness of the benefits of incorporating volunteerism increases, more employers are mobilizing their teams to get involved in the communities where they live and work. Corporate volunteerism comes with many benefits, including:
Improved sense of employee satisfaction — In a recent volunteerism study by Deloitte, researchers found that 77 percent of respondents consider volunteering essential to employee well-being. In the same study, 70 percent of participants ranked volunteering higher than company-sponsored happy hours for boosting employee morale.
Reduces anxiety helping employees manage stress — Helping others removes yourself and your duties from center stage. Stress levels are shown to decrease whenever our concern is shifted from meeting our own needs and obligations to doing something for others. Incorporating company volunteering can greatly alleviate corporate stress and anxiety, helping everyone feel a sense of peace.
Community and company connectedness — Employees may feel a greater sense of company and community connection when volunteering. When a company cares about its community, employees are more apt to feel that their company values them. Corporate philanthropy displays a positive message to its workers and community members alike.
Reinvigorated purpose and productivity — People who give back often feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning. This internal sense of productivity often results in productivity across each area of workplace responsibility, while also creating a culture that supports meaningful contribution.
Company Volunteers Needed
Knowing the benefits of volunteering and getting involved is key to sustained long-term community impact. United Way of Central Minnesota is committed to connecting with companies of all sizes that are willing to raise their hand and make a difference.
How can your company or organization get started? Start by identifying the volunteer programs your organization cares about addressing as a team. Consider using volunteerism as a team-building activity. Stepping outside of the systematic environment of work and participating in a shared cause can help increase clear communication and build stronger team relationships. Days of Caring fosters group participation by providing structured volunteer projects for team involvement. You can also encourage employees to individually volunteer where they feel most connected with the mission of service.
United Way of Central Minnesota can also help companies plan and organize their volunteering efforts by considering the best way to get involved based on company size, availability, and areas where volunteers are needed.
Ways to Get Involved
Change doesn’t happen alone. United Way of Central Minnesota has been on a mission to transform the caring power of local communities to create lasting social change one individual and one family at a time. Workplace volunteerism takes employees beyond their day-to-day environment and allows them to help address the greatest needs in their community.
Getting involved looks different for every person and organization. If you’re looking for new ways to help your employees get involved, consider these additional ways to support causes:
- Workplace Campaigns — Supporting a workplace campaign gives employees the opportunity to give financially to causes they care about.
- Cause-Specific Campaigns — United Way can help you launch a cause-specific campaign to support areas such as youth success, economic mobility, access to health, or meeting basic needs.
- Sponsorship — United Way offers several signature events throughout the year that can help raise your company profile while doing good for the community.
Boosting Employee Volunteerism Helps Everyone
Employee volunteerism is mutually beneficial and impactful for everyone involved. Many new volunteers begin serving on a regular basis after volunteering through an employer-supported program or event.
Corporate volunteers are helping to significantly bridge the gap between what is possible and making an immediate difference to meet our community needs. Our newly launched Volunteer Action Center is a home base for volunteers to connect, host events, stock our supply closet for needed items, and access our on-site volunteer connection portal. Regardless of your company’s size, there are endless opportunities to get involved — all while making a difference in the lives of your employees and your community.