In addition to doing great work for our clients, we’ve spent time this year giving back to organizations we care about, many of which are in the community where we live and work.
At Howard/Merrell, we offer employees a Volunteer Day as a part of their paid-time-off benefit. I asked my co-workers how they spent that day in 2013, and this is what they did:
• Volunteered at an elementary school book fair
• Made meals for women in homeless shelter
• Regularly go to Safe Haven – cleaning and playing with the kitties and some time helping them with accounting work.
• Spent time with the Solair clients packing and delivering food to senior citizens in Garner
• Served as an officer on the Y-Guides board
• Volunteered several Sundays this fall at Camp Kanata, raising money for the We Build People Program
• Sat on the Frankie Lemmon Foundation Board, helping to raise monies through multiple events
• Volunteered at Habitat for Humanity
• Worked on the marketing committee that supported a number of NC Children’s Hospital events
• Spoke at the Duke Hospital Radiothon
• Delivered food to the less fortunate
• Volunteered regularly at my child’s elementary school – reading to students, working with those who needed help and just helping the teacher out
Though my intention was to write about how co-workers spent their Volunteer Day, I am proud to learn about how much giving back they do every day.
Relationships are very important to us.
When possible we take a break from all the phone conferences, marketing planning and media pitching to have a little fun with our clients outside the office. This holiday season, together with our client Solair Shade Solutions, we planned an off-site event so we could give back to the community. For one fun-filled afternoon we came together to work with the Raleigh-based, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
According to Wikipedia:
“Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning “for the public good”. The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology and strategy consulting firms. Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.”
I recently attended a luncheon held by the Raleigh Public Relations Society in which Megan Henderson, owner of Looking Glass Communications, gave a presentation on the importance of doing pro bono work for not only yourself, but for the community.
Interact is a private, non-profit, United Way agency that provides safety, support and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. Interact fulfills this mission through the support of its volunteers and community.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and volunteer with Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives), a U.S. based non-profit organization “dedicated to the idea that every person should have access to the basics of life – food, clothing, shelter, education, and the chance to exercise his or her skills and ambitions.” The organization focuses on building houses, educating youth and encouraging sustainable economic development in rural towns throughout the region.
For a week I worked with a group of 16 volunteers (including my dad, sister and good friend from college) as well as members of the local community to build a new house for a deserving family. Though I enjoyed time away from technology and social media for a week, I was able to learn important lessons in communicating the old fashioned way.
I was watching an old episode of The Secret Millionaire over the weekend. In each episode of this reality series, a multi-millionaire lives in a poverty-stricken community for a week pretending to be working on a documentary. At the end of the week, the true identity of the millionaire is revealed as he/she gives a total of $100,000 of his/her own monies to one or more of the worthy individuals the millionaire has met during that week.
There are hundreds of non-profit organizations all over the Raleigh area. You don’t need to go “undercover” to find them. And though most of us don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to give to worthy causes, we can give our time.
There are hundreds of organizations out there that could benefit from the time and effort of volunteers. For me, I choose to use my professional knowledge and experience to help organizations with their marketing and communications needs. Though I enjoy helping my clients achieve their goals and objectives, I find it truly rewarding to help some local non-profits with promoting their admirable efforts.
If you are not volunteering already, give it a try. I’d highly recommend it.