By Elukiya Veerasingam, 2018 Silicon Valley CareerPath Internship Program –SVO Communications Intern

More and more companies are doing group volunteer activities with their employees or giving them paid time off for volunteering. Employees box up food on downtown streets for a local food bank or clean up trash on beaches.

Why exactly do they spend so much time to do these good deeds though?

“According to Smith [executive director of the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College], research shows that EVPs [employee volunteer programs] increase employee productivity and loyalty.

“Their rate of turnover is lower, and they are more likely to stick with the company in down times, because the company is allowing them . . . to explore and express their personal values.” – Sonya Stinson, Forbes

Also, “91% of Fortune 500 HR managers said that ‘volunteering knowledge and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to cultivate critical business and leadership skills,’ such as project management, communication, goal-setting and evaluation.” – Michael Haberman, Huffington Post

There are so many more positives of community engagement in a business environment. Here are the top few:

REASON 1: THAT WARM FUZZY FEELING

Doing something good for the community always makes people feel great. You could be changing someone’s day, week, or maybe even life! Or maybe you did your part to help the environment. Or you worked with your colleagues to collect donations for a local animal shelter. All things to definitely be proud of.

To a lot of people this is reason number one reason for community service.

REASON 2: TEAM BUILDING

Maybe that warm, fuzzy feeling isn’t enough for you. Well, having a community service project with a group of colleagues gives you the time to bond and get to know each other outside the workplace. Not only will that make it more fun, you will be able to collaborate better when working. But maybe you aren’t volunteering with colleagues. Well, this is an opportunity to network with some amazing, selfless people! Get to know the people at the non-profit you are working with or your fellow volunteers.

You never know where a few connections can take you!

REASON 3: LOYAL CUSTOMERS

Businesses run on customers. Community Service brings in loyal, trusting customers. Not only does publicity at community service events bring awareness to the brand, but the fact that your business spent the time and effort to genuinely volunteer your time shows potential customers that you care about others and therefore can be trusted with their business.

Let‚Äôs say a business‚Äôs employees volunteer to pack up boxes of food for a local food bank. First of all, people are going to be curious. They will stop to see what‚Äôs going on. Many of them might go on to ask about it. Overall, passersby‚Äôs will likely think, ‚ÄúThis business is doing something good,‚Äù bringing them to trust that company. 

Now what does this have to do with The SVO? Well there are obviously so many benefits to community engagement, and we’ve only listed a few here.

So why don’t more businesses participate in community service activities?

The most popular reason is time and resources. It is hard to organize these types of events and volunteer plans so many companies feel they don’t have the resources to do so. And here is where an SVO membership comes into the picture.

The SVO strives to make it easier for members to become engaged in the community.

For example, interested individuals can join the Leadership San Jose program, which teaches participants how to become better civic entrepreneurs but also helps them engage in community service projects.

Or, member business can host a high school intern much like myself to give the student a priceless first workplace experience and get their business out there with free visibility through the Silicon Valley CareerPath Internship program.

Finally, if you have young professionals at your company, we make it easy for them to plug in to their community and give back through our SV Next program.

There are so many easy ways to get involved in community service through projects at The SVO. Find out what else you could become involved in as a member here.

 

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