Okay, I´m on a roll. Let´s keep talking about volunteering, because if I don´t make my point, you might think I´m just trying to think of things to write about. Here´s the truth about businesspeople who volunteer: in some ways, it shouldn´t matter why you volunteer. Maybe you´re doing it for altruistic reasons and maybe you´re volunteering because it´s good for business and the rules of public relations dictate that you make time for pro bono work. But maybe, just maybe, you´re doing it for both reasons. That´s okay as far as I´m concerned.
Sometimes volunteer programs happen because we see what another community is doing and take it upon ourselves to bring that program to our own backyard. Chicago Cares, (http://www.chicagocares.org) a non-profit organization that matches time-crunched (sound familiar?) volunteers with charitable projects. Among the tenets of the group´s philosophies is that it doesn´t matter how little time someone has to give-any time is worthwhile and can make a difference. I think the trouble we have with that concept is that as business people we like to see the results. When you volunteer you can see your contribution very clearly, but you can´t always see or even imagine how your participation helps someone else. This is when that leap of faith thing comes in. You just have to believe that whatever you´re doing will make a difference in someone´s life. That should be enough. And in case, you didn´t read my last post about what volunteering has to do with employee development, the idea goes something like this: when people have meaningful work to do and know that they´re bringing value to something they´re more likely to do a good job in their work.
I know you might not have time to go to the Web site, so I´ve taken the most important information. Notice the word "easy" in the headline and "flexible" a little later. I guess the irony is that the group approaches volunteering like a business (even though it´s not about making money). It´s the business of doing good. I´ve also included information about The Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon, which is the largest single day of community service in Chicago.
Volunteering with Chicago Cares is easy
Chicago Cares designs programs with you in mind. Each program is designed by our staff to meet a community need and involve hands on work – so no office work or fundraising – and each program is lead by a trained volunteer leader who knows what needs to be done and how – so you don’t have to. Our offerings are flexible; you serve when you have time and inclination. Each program involves 4 or more volunteers, which means you are never alone.
We are creating new programs to meet community needs every day and we can use your help. Join us!
How do I get started?
1. Complete our online New Volunteer Orientation.
2. Check the online calendar for dates you want to volunteer.
3. Click on a project you are interested in to view the description.
4. Call or e-mail the Team Coordinator listed below the date to sign up and get specifics on the project.
5. Show up at the project and have a good time!
Now, about the annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon-read the description below not as if you´ll necessarily register but with the understanding that it´s something you can re-create for your employees. Maybe two to four times a year your company could take the time to do some community service-as a company. Clearly, something like this can be used as a team-building exercise.
The Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon is the largest single day of community service in Chicago. During this year´s 13th Annual Serve-a-thon on Saturday, June 10, 2006, thousands of volunteers will come together to paint, plant and clean up our city´s schools, parks and social service agencies. The pledges these volunteers raise will support Chicago Cares´ year-round service initiatives.
A $30 registration donation is required to participate if you are not a member of a team from a Serve-a-thon sponsor company. This donation covers the basic cost of the event per person and is not refundable or eligible for application toward pledge prizes. The volunteer registration deadline is Friday, June 2.
Day of Event Schedule
Check in by your last name at Serve-a-thon Plaza at Grant Park’s Upper Hutchinson Field to receive your project assignment
Board your bus and depart for your project
Bring a bag lunch or order a boxed lunch
3:30 — 5:30 pm
Enjoy the post-event celebration