Most of us have a desire to be good, kind people. But while we inherently want to be this way, we don’t always take steps to make it happen. Volunteering is our chance to change that! When we volunteer, we become who we are deep down.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending Appleton’s city-wide volunteer gala to recognize some of our great unsung heroes. ThedaCare also participated in our annual Good to Go week in early May. While children and students are antsy to get OUT of school this time of year, about 300 of our employees seized the chance to go BACK as volunteers.
It was an opportunity for them to have positive interactions with more than 1,900 area elementary students, reinforcing healthy behaviors and sharing messages about nutrition and physical activity.
In an era with more burnout than ever, there’s a strong business case for volunteering. It brings joy to the workplace and re-energizes employees, who feel happier and more fulfilled. Our ThedaCare employees who participated in Good to Go week came back pumped!
Internal survey results, too, indicate it means a lot to employees that they work for a socially responsible organization that’s invested in the community. Over 1,000 employees recorded volunteer time through ThedaCare last year, which led to $57,025 in donations to charities selected by employees with 25 or more volunteers hours, plus an additional $2,940 donation divided among the 2016 Good to Go schools.
Fostering a culture of volunteering boosts morale through shared experiences, improves production, and gives employees a sense of goodwill and pride. It helps release people’s talent and builds community relationships and reputation for your business. By doing so, businesses also provide services to many local non-profits with needs that might otherwise go unmet.
So often, volunteers feel we get more out of the experience even than those we help. Health wise, it’s true! Giving back can reduce blood pressure and position you in the love-exhilaration cycle of immune and hormone health instead of the fear-stress cycle, based on Lance Secretan’s studies. According to United Way Fox Cities, it also provides an 88 percent correlation with greater happiness. Sign me up!
Volunteering has always been a big part of my life—most recently with organizations like Voices of Men and Habitat for Humanity. It’s a humbling way to become a role model for others and to live a balanced life. Go ahead, try it!
— Dr. Dean Gruner is president and CEO of Appleton-based ThedaCare. To send your thoughts to him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.