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Corporate Volunteering: The Key to Happy Employees?

by Barb Cronin

Today’s workforce believes it’s important to give back–and they expect their employers to do the same. In fact, 75% of Millennials in a Glassdoor survey said they expect the organization they work for to be committed to social good. Whether through donations, active participation, or supporting employees through corporate volunteering, volunteer time off (VTO), or providing volunteer opportunities, employees today want what matters to them, to matter to their employers too. 

If organizations want to attract the best employees, it’s important they recognize this need and respond. And, organizations appear to be getting the message. 

A U.S. News article revealed that 46% of companies surveyed offer volunteer time off (VTO) to their employees. CallTrackingMetrics, a software company offering marketing attribution and call tracking, is one such organization supporting corporate volunteering. With numerous ways for employees to get involved including VTO, a Community Outreach and Social Justice Committee, corporate volunteer opportunities, a gift matching program, and more, CTM supports its employees to find their philanthropic passion and dive in. 

Employees are no longer focused solely on making money and moving up the career ladder; employees are motivated by having a positive impact on the world around them. By making volunteer opportunities available for employees, we are supporting them in a well-rounded way, resulting in team members that are excited to come to work every day for a company that supports them outside of the workplace,” explained Shannon Duvall, Senior Director of People and Culture at CallTrackingMetrics. 

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to be leading the way when it comes to employee benefits including corporate volunteer opportunities. In that same U.S. News article, it was reported that  72% of companies in the tech and finance sectors have paid VTO. According to experts, VTO is more common in both of these industries. 

In the article, Vincent Antonelli, senior director in the health and benefits practice of WTW talked about VTO being more common in tech and finance than in other sectors. He said,  “It’s least likely in industries like health care and manufacturing.” 

Organizations that not only have stated values but also actively engage in supporting these values do better with both prospective employees and customers–no matter which industry. Today, more and more customers are looking to do business with brands that have the same values as they do. 

From groceries and gadgets to software and services, organizations with a mission beyond the bottom line fare better.  In fact, according to a survey report from AdWeek, 55% of consumers purchase from brands that share their values, and 46% of those in this 2021 survey report, care more about social issues than they did a year ago. 

Celebrating Core Values at CallTrackingMetrics

Being guided by values is an integral part of CallTrackingMetrics. And, giving back to the community and supporting employees to do the same is at the core. One of CTM’s Four Core Values is; “We are community-driven”. And it’s not just a slogan. CTM goes the extra mile to make sure its entire community and culture embody these values. When it comes to community service, in addition to providing VTO hours and corporate volunteering opportunities, CTM celebrates those employees who go above and beyond to live the core values. 

One way that they acknowledge and support employees is through the annual CTMmys. These annual awards are given to employees who best exemplify each of the four core values. The CTM Four Core Values are: 

  • We are community-driven
  • We are customer-centric
  • We are champions of innovation
  • We work with purpose

The 2021 winner of the Community-driven value was James Wicks. Wicks talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to giving back. Not only does James engage in community service on his own, but he’s also used his passion, dedication, and drive to inspire others so they too can come to know the joy that giving to others brings. 

Not only does giving back bring joy, but according to an article in BMC Public Health, volunteering also is good for your health in other ways.

Corporate Volunteering Benefits 

  • Increases mental health
  • Increases physical health
  • Increases life satisfaction 
  • Increases social well-being

In addition to these benefits of volunteering, the benefits of volunteering side by side with people you work with reap even more rewards. When organizations provide corporate volunteer opportunities and VTO employees have the opportunity to work together towards a common goal and shared value–outside of the office. This can help to drive deeper connections in the workplace leading to happier employees who are more productive and want to stay. 

When employees are happy and productive everyone–including the customer–wins. 

Corporate volunteering offers additional benefits for organizations with remote or hybrid employees. When these employees engage in corporate volunteer opportunities together they get much-needed facetime, increased connectedness, and decreased feelings of isolation that many WFH employees experience. 

With so many benefits of volunteering it’s surprising that more workplaces and employees aren’t engaging. However, when it comes to volunteering, particularly corporate volunteering, many people feel intimidated and don’t know where to start–including organizations. 

Employees either don’t know about programs in place or there aren’t any yet established. Some may be interested but they aren’t sure how to start corporate volunteering. Organizations, on the other hand, may also feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to VTO, corporate volunteering, and knowing how to get started. 

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Many employees and organizations who now have well-established, successful corporate volunteer programs were also unsure of where to begin. 

Giving Back at the Corporate Level

 

Team of volunteers from CallTrackingMetrics after volunteering at the Maryland Food Bank for corporate volunteering.

 

Wicks himself, now a seasoned corporate volunteering pro, said he too, wasn’t sure where or how to begin. He shared that despite having volunteered all his life, when it came to establishing it at his workplace, there were unknowns he had to navigate. 

“You don’t have to know how it will all work or have the entire plan ready before you start. Just start working, start to volunteer, and do things. And talk to people. Ask people about opportunities and talk about the volunteering you’re doing. People will want to share what you’re doing and help,” Wicks explained. 

As the youngest of two children of minister parents, Wicks’ family imparted to him early on the importance of giving to others. He was taught that no matter how much he has or doesn’t have, he has enough to help others. Wicks took this to heart and it shows in his dedication to the community, helping others, and showing others how to get involved. 

“I grew up with the sense that even if I didn’t have everything I wanted, I had enough to give to someone else,” Wicks said. 

As a college student, he began spending spring breaks with his peers building houses with Habitat for Humanity. He explained that his first year doing this sold him on his love for community service.

He said, “The first time we built a home, it was in Jacksonville, Florida and at the end of the two weeks I met the family. And that was it. I was like I’m in, this is my happy place, this is my heart.” 

But, it’s one thing to engage in volunteering on your own, it’s another to persuade others to join your cause. However, at CTM the commitment to community service is growing–driven heavily by Wicks. His attitude about corporate volunteering–and volunteering in general–is contagious. 

Sharing this passion for giving back was a natural next step for him when he started working at CallTrackingMetrics. Wicks explained that while there wasn’t a formal community outreach program in place, it was in the hearts of CTM leaders, particularly co-founder and husband and wife team, Todd and Laure Fisher. 

 How Community Service Evolved at CallTrackingMetrics

Team of CallTrackingMetrics volunteers pose for picture after volunteering at Habitat for Humanity.

Since CTM began leaders and employees have been involved in community service –but Laure Fisher was dedicated to doing more and making a bigger impact. After learning of Wicks’s passion for community service and seeing what he was doing, she shared with Wicks that engaging in corporate volunteering was something she was committed to taking on. That began the first official Community Outreach group at CallTrackingMetrics. With just a handful of members, Wicks and the team began to take corporate volunteering at CTM to a whole new level. 

Fisher shared, “From the very beginning of CTM, it’s been very important that we hire people where a sense of community comes naturally to them. James is a fantastic example of this.” 

What began as a few employees volunteering, has grown so CTM can contribute even more to the community and employees can connect in new ways. What has evolved into The Community Outreach and Social Justice Committee has been involved in dozens of projects to date and helped thousands across the community. Some of the nonprofits include: 

  • The Ronald McDonald House 
  • Habitat for Humanity 
  • Volunteers of America
  • Anne Arundel County Food Bank
  • The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) 
  • Maryland SPCA

The list goes on and the committee invites all employees, not only members of the committee, to engage in the projects they’re passionate about and let CTM support their efforts. 

Duvall talked about the evolution of corporate volunteering at CTM, “Volunteering activities within our organization have become more frequent, more creative, and are garnering more participation!”

The committee’s and Wicks’ drive to do more each year is nothing short of inspiring. And, many others at CTM have been inspired. Wicks shared that since January 2021 the group has grown three-fold. And, seeing his coworkers get involved has motivated him even more.

 Wicks was so inspired by what he was experiencing with corporate volunteerism at CTM, that he began his own nonprofit, Enough to Give, which connects organizations and groups who want to volunteer with projects in need of volunteers. 

The Community Outreach and Social Justice Committee wants to empower all employees to get involved. Wicks says everyone on the committee is a leader and has the opportunity to take on whatever projects they’re passionate about. 

“On the committee, everyone is a leader. We all have things we’re passionate about in how we want to affect the community. We empower everyone to do that and feel supported by CTM to serve those communities,” Wicks shared. 

Fisher agreed, “We encourage all of our employees to take initiative and bring community service opportunities to the company.”

As the project grows and more CTM employees get involved, CTM gets to spread the word about corporate volunteering and serve as an example of what other organizations can do. 

People sometimes say they don’t get involved because one person won’t make a difference. However, one person does make a difference, and as Wicks has shown, it only takes one person to inspire others to get involved. What’s more, when paired with a company with shared values, one person can inspire corporate volunteering at their organization. 

 Getting Involved: Advice on Corporate Volunteering

Team of CallTrackingMetrics volunteers dressed in orange celebrating the successful conclusion of a food drive for the local community.

As discussed, there are a lot of benefits of corporate volunteering and corporate volunteering opportunities in the workplace. Another important benefit to keep in mind is how it benefits an organization’s customers. When employees are hired with values that align with the organization, customers win too. 

So how does CTM’s Community Outreach and Social Justice committee help customers? In a few ways. 

One way is that it helps to show the human side of a tech company and communicate the values that are important to the company and employees. This is helpful in getting to know more about the company you’re buying a product or service from and the people who work there. Forming these connections is particularly important today with so many online work interactions. 

Wicks said, “It shows that we are interested holistically in people. CTM really values their employees but it stretches far beyond that. We don’t just value employees, we value our community and we want to lift up those in our community.”

And this attitude of being community-driven truly begins in the office. At CTM, the spirit of helping one another out and working for the success of the entire community is at the root of everything. From going above and beyond to help customers to assisting co-workers with needs, CTM truly is community-driven. 

When the workplace is focused on everyone’s good, everyone–including the customer wins. This type of team enables customers to have exceptional experiences which drive loyalty and advocacy. 

The team at CTM is community-driven in so many ways; they want their customers and communities to succeed. Wicks said, “We care, genuinely, not just to talk about it but to make a difference.” 

Finally, being community-driven also benefits the customer because it shows them what they can do and inspires them. Wick shared the following, “ It’s important to share with customers our community service projects on LinkedIn and the website too. When they see what we’re doing, they actually look to volunteer and help so they can be involved too. They feel like if they’re doing it, we can do it too.”

Getting started with corporate volunteering and regularly providing corporate volunteer opportunities can be a bit of a lift–at first. But getting started is half the battle and once processes are in place companies and teams can really make a difference in the lives of others. 

“When I joined CTM, the Community Outreach Committee was comprised of myself, James Wicks, and Kate Batz. We would host a handful of activities throughout the year. Now our committee has a dozen team members and hosts a wide variety of volunteer events and drives throughout the year. At any time, there is something wonderful taking place to support our community!” Duvall shared.

Remember, you don’t have to know every detail of your corporate volunteering plan to get started. As Duvall pointed out, you can start out small, doing what you can and it will soon evolve into something bigger. If corporate volunteering is a priority and employees and employers are committed, it will happen. 

Fisher explained how corporate volunteering works at CTM, “One of our four core values is Community, and a big part of that is thinking about the ways that we can impact the community around each of us. While this takes work and time, we find that our employees naturally gravitate to these opportunities because it’s important to them.”

And ultimately that’s what it’s all about for Wicks and many others at CTM, helping others and inspiring others to get involved. When employees and employers embrace giving back, everyone wins. Want to learn more about joining the community-driven team at CTM? Check out our People and Culture page.

Three CTM employees, Jessica Michaels, James Wicks, and Courtney Tyson, in front of Anne Arundel County Food Bank sign

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