Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Benefit to Business from Encouraging Employee Volunteer Involvement

School is starting soon and every tutor/mentor program in the city is looking for volunteers. They are also looking for donors, tech support, and many other talents that enable them do do their work as effectively as possible. I had a letter to the editor appear in Crain's this week, calling on business leaders to form employee 'research and development, and marketing' teams that would build the company's involvement in youth tutoring, mentoring.

Today I found a couple of articles that show benefits to companies and their employees for encouraging such involvement.

First, take a look at this video:

Second, read this article by Daniel H Pink, titled "employees are faster and more creative when solving other people's problems".

In both cases they are talking about benefits to individuals from stepping outside of their comfort zone to build empathy with others, and with issues that are not part of their work experience and/or daily lives.

After you watch this I hope you'll also view this interview between myself and Edwin Rutsch who created the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

I believe that well-organized volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring, arts, technology and career focused programs can connect volunteers who don't live in high poverty neighborhoods with youth and families who do in an on-going process that transforms the youth and the adult, and possibly the community.

I've created an information library on the web where anyone can draw ideas to support what they do to make tutor/mentor programs available in their community, and to help these programs constantly improve the ways they engage youth and volunteers in transformative actions. I host a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference every spring and fall (not offered since May 2015) in Chicago to encourage people to come together, share ideas, build relationships, and find ways to support the growth of tutor/mentor programs in big city neighborhoods.

I share this information every day in one-on-one conversations, via email, via web forums, etc. with the goal that others will pass this information on to people in their own networks and that more people will gather in on-going learning and action planning efforts. I also look for people who will help me in my efforts, and will take ownership of these efforts and ideas in future years.

Please review this graphic. If we believe in the value of connecting extra adults with youth, and we understand the need for organization programs to build and sustain these connections, why wouldn't teams from business, professional associations, media, and other sectors work collectively to support the growth of these programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities.

Then browse this list of Chicago area youth serving organizations located in different sections of the region. They are all different. Some are better organized, better funded, and/or serve more youth than others. However, each needs a constant flow of volunteers, dollars, ideas, tech support, etc. to be the best it can be at serving youth in the neighborhood(s) where it operates. Pick a program and give it your long-term support, starting this fall.

In supporting employee involvement in well-organized programs you benefit your company and your current employee, while developing future employees and customers. In concept map are links to more articles showing benefits to business. 

How do you pass these ideas on? Look at the articles interns have written over the past few years. You can do the same.

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