I’m a big fan of volunteering and do give my own time for various causes I support on a regular basis. However, the fact is that were I running a business, I’d also be arranging for my staff to do volunteer work because volunteering can be good for business. Here’s what you need to know:
Anyone who runs a business, whether large or small and especially anyone who runs an online business, as most readers of this blog do, knows that stress not only kills but also kills productivity. Even if your business is a one man (or woman) operation, getting stressed out all the time is going to affect your productivity.
Now, you could relieve this stress with an expensive vacation or even an expensive spa day, but I’ve also found that one can relieve stress by doing volunteer work. There is something about feeling that one gets from helping others that allows you to get a release of endorphins which, for most people means that you end up feeling as if you’ve just had that vacation, while not having had to pay for it at all.
This applies mostly to medium to large size businesses rather than the one or two person operations that many online businesses represent. Volunteering an entire staff for a day of helping out – maybe teaching kids about business basics in the local elementary school, or having the whole staff work together to build a house for Habitat for Humanity can often lead to free publicity for your business since a newspaper may cover it.
And you don’t need thousands of employees either. While a one or two person operation will find it harder to get this kind of coverage, a company with 20 people who all pitch in together for half a day to help out is likely to get the kind of publicity they need in order to make the time off more than pay for itself.
This is also to say nothing of the fact that getting your staff together for a volunteer activity allows you to build camaraderie amongst your team without the expensive cost of a getaway for the whole staff.
Finally, this benefit of volunteering applies more to the small to medium size businesses as opposed to the very large places (if you run a company with 500 or more employees, you don’t necessarily need the kind of contacts you can make from volunteering).
Since people from all walks of life do offer their time as volunteers, you can often make contacts which will be good for your business when you engage in volunteer work. This means for example that you may find that employee you were looking for or that you may land a new client whom you might otherwise not have met.
Even if none of these appeals to you as reason to engage in volunteering and even if none of these are good for your business, I’d still suggest that you volunteer your time. The simple fact is that volunteering feels good and will help you live a longer life than you otherwise would have (it’s a proven fact that people who volunteer tend to be healthier because they have a more positive outlook on life).
So, even if volunteering was not good for business directly, volunteering is still good business because it makes you into a better, happier and more fulfilled person.