Why Volunteering is Good Business

According to  Statics Canada in 2010, volunteer hours across Canada was the equivalent to over 1 Million full time jobs, or approximately 2 Billion “working” hours.  With a majority of these hours being donated to charity and Not For Profit Organizations.  It is estimated that almost 70% of all Canadians will give their time to volunteer at some point or another.

All that said, the most expensive commodity a business/person has is their time, but what is the cost of  community relations, company moral, loyalty and retention.  In the end these can be priceless in the eyes of business.  Research shows that when Business and volunteerism combine, the entire community wins.  When volunteering is being put to work, in varying degrees, as a strategic asset to help achieve business goals, including managing and changing culture, strengthening the brand, building external relationships, and improving employee engagement.  Outside of these several other benefits can be attributed to the combination of business and volunteering, including

  • Skill Development
  • Leadership Training
  •  Increased Performance and Productivity
  • Community and Social Awareness
  • Outside Networking
  • Expression of Values
  • Increase Collaboration

The list potential benefits is only as big as your imagination.  People by nature tend to flock to similar values, and by linking your brand, your employees, or just your time to something local and meaningful, speaks at a greater volume then money can buy.  However, there is one important caveat to making volunteerism work for any business.  It is simple, the relationship between business and any charity or not for profit needs to be true and without falsehood.  The partnership needs to be genuine to the businesses morals, values and must truly benefit all those involved to achieve the desired outcomes.

We live in a time and age were information is at our finger tips, and finding the right organization is as easy as understanding what would be a good fit for you, your business, your employees and your community.  To return to the 2010 Statistics Canada Report on Volunteering, they found that the bulk of total volunteer hours (66%) were given to five types of non-profit and charitable organizations: those involved in sports and recreation had the largest share (19% of total hours), followed by social services (18%), religion (15%) education and research (9%) and health (5%).

Its never too early or too late to get involved in something… the only question is when?


First Time Excitement!!

Sometimes as adults we forget what the innocence of a child feels like, and as adults we often let our so called experiences dictate our actions. Why is that? Are Children just fearless, and most adults are frozen from action due to fear? And yet a bigger question is what happened along the way for us to (as adults) to become so fearful?

As we were enjoying our family vacation, there were so many things that we did, that were considered to be firsts for the kids. But the one that really struck me was the first time my children rode a roller coaster. When we asked them if this was something that they wanted to try, they were both eagerly excited about the adventure. The roller coaster that they chose for their first ride was the “Manhattan Express”, the coaster that encompasses the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas. We stood across the street and watched it go up, then down around, and upside down. Despite visual nerves, when asked if they were sure the immediate answer was yes! Off we set, through the casino floor, we arrived at the entrance point to the coaster…there is a height requirement. Neither of the kids are tall enough to ride. The look of disappointment was heart breaking. As a result it became a family mission to find and ride a roller coaster before the end of our trip.

As we searched for a roller coaster you could see the fear grow in 1 child while the excitement grew in the other. As time pasted, my son became more and more Leary of the idea of riding a roller coster, and needed reassurance of their safety. Other the other side of the room was my daughter, who was becoming more and more annoyed at the fact that we had not found one for her to ride yet. She needed reassurance that it was a priority, and before we flew home she would ride a roller coaster.

We had a plan. We were going to spend a few days in San Diego to visit the zoo, and Legoland. No roller casters at the zoo, but Legoland had a few. Great. Off we went. The Zoo was amazing, beautiful and majestic, in both the animals, and atmosphere. But the excitement was growing for the following day that became known as “coaster day”.

In the morning, as we were planning out the day, we realized that Legoland had just switched to their winter hours, and the park was closed. The look of disappointment was overwhelming from both kids. The “ride a coaster” had taken on a purpose, so once again we hit the Internet to find a place to send the day, and of course ride a roller coaster. After all we were in San Diego the options are limitless. In the end and after much debate, we all settled on Sea World. It had 2 different coasters, and dolphins, who could ask for any more right.

We get to Sea World, Park, and enter the park. We wonder around a little, see the sharks, turtles, sea lions, and then it starts…”you promised”, “when are we going on a roller coster”. These statements repeated, until finally we find the gate to the main roller coaster…CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE. What are the odds. But there is a second coaster, so off we go in search of the last chance roller coaster. We find it, and wouldn’t ya know it, it is water one!! Normally I’m pretty into the rush of riding roller coasters, the only ones I do not enjoy are the WET ones. Awesome!!

A promise is a promise. My Daughter is running at full speeds to the entrance, my son you can tell is forcing himself to move in a forward motion. He is visibly nervous, and trying to talk himself into it. But he is not willing NOT to go. Although visibly nerves are getting the better of him, determination and curiosity is winning.

See their excitement, I have no choice but to suck it up, and ride the coster with them. My daughter wants to sit up front. (Knowing what I Know, there is no Way I am sitting up there-we’ll let that be Daddy job). My son chooses to sit at the very back (yep! That one has me all over it-I’ll go with him). We all assume our spots. We climb, wet get wet, we drop, we climb again, we get a little more wet, and drop a final time. As we are floating to the exit of the ride, my son turns to me and says “it wasn’t that bad, except for getting wet and the dropping parts. I didn’t like that”. I could help but laugh. I pear forward, to see my daughter giggling uncontrollably, and chattering daddy’s ear off. As the the ride comes to a stop, my son and I jump off, wet, cold and more annoyed then anything, my daughter looks around, sees there is no one else in line, and asks to go again. And so off they went to ride the coaster again. I am sure that if it was warmer out, she would have risen the coaster a dozen more times. Next time we will find a non water coaster, and we can ride it until time runs out.

Looking back on this day, it made me think of firsts. What is so exciting about them, what is so scary about them, and why as we get older do we stop looking for firsts to try? Why is it that as we grow older Fear always seems to gain the advantage, why do we allow it to stop is from having more firsts. Firsts are often the beginning of a new journey or a new path for which we can follow. Why is secure, predictable, and boring always seem to take precedence over new, exciting, and unknown?

Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is startled, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance.
Robert Collier quotes (American motivational author, 1885-1950)

Moment of Awe

Friday night in our house is also game night. Usually the kids pick a typical run of the mill game, like Sorry, or Monopoly Jr. But this past week we broke put the “Cash Flow for Kids” game. We have been playing this game off and on for the last few years, but with limited success. I think in part due their ages, and basic reading and Math skills. However, it was amazing how they were able to pick the idea up so quickly and so confidently. It only took one full time around the board for my son to officially emote him self from the rat race. It was almost too easy for him. The lack of fear shown by both of them was amazing. They had zero worries of running out of money, failing o even losing. What happens to us as adults to have cost us this fearlessness. Why are we so hard on our selves, expecting perfection at all costs, why can’t we simply play the game as children??

Life would be so much simpler if we could just through caution to the wind, and just go with the flow. What happens to us as we mature into adulthood that makes us so insecure in our decision making abilities. I encourage you all to play more like children. In games and in life. What is the worse thing that can happen? We will never know unless we try!