Enticing and Engaging the Modern Volunteer
When you think of United Way, or possibly any nonprofit for that matter, one may immediately think that the topic up for discussion is "will you make a monetary donation to our cause?" While monetary gifts and investments are how nonprofits (of all sizes) stay operating and can help those in need ... much more is required to be successful, sustainable, and impactful.
United Way of the CSRA prides itself on being an important part of our surrounding communities for 83 years now. Outside of the traditional donation sense, we look to provide and help create year-round engagement opportunities to local residents and employers. Whether you are part of a workplace who already runs a fundraising campaign for United Way, or a small group of citizens looking to give their time and talent, we recognize that volunteering is the engagement activity modern employees seek.
"Volunteer activities bring a modern sense of humility and warm fuzzy feels to our next generation of advocates - if done correctly."
Brittany Burnett; President & CEO - United Way of the CSRA
As we think of how workplaces are evolving - so are their employees. Take for instance the term "community service" ... which nowadays comes across as so 1980's. We are focusing on changing the stigma and perception of what was once called community service (or a labor of love) to now "year-round engagement." There isn't just one big volunteer activity a year anymore ... we must create a culture of year-round community impact to remain relevant and significant to our community - and donors.
"With over 35% of today's American workforce being millennials (those ages 21 to 36) we must evolve how we engage and invite them to participate in activities."
Jeanette Settembre; Marketwatch.com - April 2018
So what have we done to evolve our impact through volunteer activities? Great question!
Over the past few months, United Way of the CSRA has engaged closed to a dozen employers (and their employees) through on and off-site activities. Whether it be making snack packs, putting together blankets, or getting dirty and putting muscles we didn't know we had to work, we are changing the way people see and read the word "volunteer".
Here's just a quick recap of our latest partnerships paving the way to new, modern engagements:
Over this past summer, Textron had 100 employees volunteer in our office, helping with marketing material packets and special event decorations. Several interns wrote over 150 "Notes for Success" cards that went to local 5th grade students in need of an encouraging and positive note.
Outside of our office, several employees visited our partner agencies, such as the Ronald McDonald House, Boys & Girls Club, and SafeHomes, helping to organize their supplies, sanitize and fold laundry, complete light maintenance tasks and more.
Additionally, Textron and their RPM program participants volunteered for our Stuff the Bus - School Supply Collection Drive. There they helped unload, organize, and count over 30,000 items that were collected by area residents, companies, and even themselves!
Between Plants 1 - 4, employees collected ten boxes of school supplies for our annual Stuff the Bus - School Supply Collection Drive in July.
This month, approximately 11 bags worth of jackets, blankets, and socks were dropped off at our office for the less fortunate and homeless after a month long collective drive on-site.
Employees who don't often get the opportunity to leave and volunteer off-site were able to participate in United Way of the CSRA's first on-site engagement activity called "Snack Pack Friday." While in their own break room area(s), and supplying all items, Club Car employees were able to make 500 snack packs for local children. Each snack pack included a hand-written "Notes for Success" encouragement card. These packs were distributed to less fortunate children in Richmond and Columbia County identified by United Way partner programs.
Several employees visited our partner agencies in August and September, such as the American Red Cross, Augusta Training Shop, Columbia County Community Connections, Easter Seals, and SafeHomes helping to organize their supplies, sanitize play areas, complete light maintenance tasks and more.
In a few days, round two of on-site activities will begin! Employees plan to make 400 student snack packs and 400 adult snack packs (that's 800 for us reading this after a long day) - each complete with a hand-written note of encouragement. But wait ... there's more! They also plan to make 10+ no-sew fleece blankets!
Many employees volunteered their time and muscle power to helping local nonprofits landscape their outdoor areas. From spreading mulch to planting flowers, these organizations received a seasonal face lift thanks to the employees of Hampton Inn. Additionally, a few more volunteers headed over to a partner agency's thrift store to help organize and tag items for resale.
On top of lending their time, these employees also collected much-needed school supplies and packed over 40 book bags for local elementary school students!
Staff and volunteers at the Burke County Museum collected over 500 pairs of socks and 50 pairs of underwear for United Way's Operation Seats & Feet. This initiative was created by United Way's 211 Referral Service when they saw a need for basic necessities like socks and underwear for elementary and middle school aged children in the school system.
#JoinUWCSRA for your next Volunteer Activity!
Are you interested in working with United Way of the CSRA for your next volunteer project? Whether you are a church organization, local company, high school club or scout troop, our team wants to work with you!
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can find the perfect project for you!