Should You Say Yes? Will You Say Yes? Build These Five Criteria into Events Before Volunteering Your Employees
You receive a call from a nonprofit. The caller invites you to provide volunteers, that is, your staff, to help with an event. How will you answer? You value community engagement. And, you and your fellow employees love your precious free time. Say yes when you find these five criteria built into the event.
Embrace Volunteer Opportunities that are:
1. Appropriate. What task needs doing? Does your staff have or can they acquire the skills to succeed? No matter the assignment, your employees will need guidance as they step into a new environment.
2. Playful. Will the event involve an element of play? Play seeds innovation, camaraderie, and connection, all valuable bi-products for your firm. Dr. Stuart Brown with the National Institute for Play explains, “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary; it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time.” Your group may naturally join in play just by getting together. Other groups benefit from intentional, structured risk-taking, storytelling, and dare I say it, silliness, such as team painting competitions.
3. Ready. This criterion reflects preparation. In the past, after scrambling your personal lives to arrive on time, you had to wait for thirty minutes to help. Will the building be dry and ready for paint after its power wash? Will your staff arrive after the rowdy Algebra students are settled in for tutoring? In short, will the task be shovel-ready at the appointed hour?
4. End Well. Just as beginning well matters, so does ending well. Afterward, will people wander home or will you enjoy a moment of celebration and accomplishment? How will the nonprofit recognize your employees and your firm?
5. Generate Satisfaction. Big picture, does the work matter? This challenging criterion uncovers the deeper meaning of your activities. Do the tasks hold the potential to improve the trajectory of at least one person’s life? Will a middle schooler “get” algebra? Will an employee continue their involvement with the cause? To explore this, imagine it’s six months from now. Does remembering the event produce a fond memory and satisfaction?