Last week, some of the Salt Lake City Talkdesk team had the opportunity to prepare and serve lunch at the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City, Utah. We had a blast making a variety of cuisine, from kid-friendly grilled cheeses (that were popular with the adults, too!) to teriyaki chicken bowls.
While the food was good, the feeling in the Ronald McDonald House cafeteria was even better. I teared up a time or two as I watched families who were going through unthinkable trials be so appreciative for something as simple as a meal. The experience was impactful, and I know I’m not the only one who had an unforgettable time.
Our team is lucky enough to have awesome leaders who emphasize the importance of giving back and provide opportunities to do so. But, not all companies have community outreach programs in place. Read on for how you can start a volunteering program in your own workplace.
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Start by finding out who would be in charge of a community outreach program. This might be someone in human resources or workplace operations. Ask them if they’d support a company-wide volunteering effort. They may want more details than you can currently offer, but you’ll be able to provide them soon enough! Once they give you the okay and any requirements (such as a budget for buying supplies) to abide by, the fun begins.
Next, look around your community for volunteering ideas. If you’re not sure where to look, Google “volunteering near me”. You’ll be presented with dozens of ideas to choose from. Pick an opportunity that matches the kind of resources your company has access to (personnel, time, etc.) and that aligns with your company’s values.
You can also send out a company-wide message asking for nonprofit or charity organization suggestions. People will be even more excited to participate if it’s a cause they already hold dear to their hearts.
Reach out to the organizations you’re considering and ask them what kind of volunteering opportunities are available. Be clear about your company’s availability and what you can offer.
Compile the information and share it with your company’s executive team. Work with the appropriate personnel to determine volunteer policies that employees need to abide by, and provide that information to the volunteers and to the organization you’re volunteering with.
After the executive team gives you the green light, contact your chosen organization to tell them that you’re ready to start! Keep in mind that some organizations require release forms, regarding both your information and theirs. Additionally, some charity organizations require photo release forms, or may not permit pictures at all. Make sure you’re clear about what is okay to share.
If it’s allowed, take pictures and video while you’re volunteering to share on corporate social media channels (because what company doesn’t want positive publicity?). Consider writing a blog post about the experience and encouraging those who read it to join your volunteering efforts next time.
Don’t volunteer once and call it good. There is no shortage of volunteering opportunities available! Plan to volunteer regularly so everyone in your company can participate
Starting a community outreach program can seem daunting. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
There’s so much you can do for the people and causes in your community. Big or small, they all matter. Mother Teresa said, “It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.” Now, go do what matters!