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Article -> Support the Dream

Date Added: January 2010

Note: This article appeared in the January 17, 2010 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Based on last month’s article, some requested to expand on “the dash” and discuss corporate responsibility. This is fitting since tomorrow we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

It’s a day to focus on service and volunteering. The link to business is simple as employees that volunteer and “do good things” are more engaged; resulting in a more successful business. 

Research states nearly 62 million people volunteer annually – 26% of the population. Consider if we achieved 50% volunteering annually. Not just one day, but 1 – 2 hours per week. Nearly 90% of households donate an average of $1,620 annually to charity. This equates to nearly 89 volunteer hours per year according to the median household income, so it’s not an unrealistic dream. 

It’s been proven that people who care about our community typically care about others. Employees volunteering, side-by-side, produce more collaboration at work. Volunteering also provides leadership development opportunities. 

Corporate responsibility promotes more engaged employees, stronger collaboration, enhanced recruiting and retaining of employees, and a healthier corporate culture. It should be part of any business strategy, and organizations should have policies for employee volunteerism. 

This may include 40 hours paid time off annually to volunteer, paid sabbaticals for humanitarian trips, and full support of service organizations. People gain more satisfaction from volunteering vs. a paycheck as they are contributing to society. This contribution translates to good business practices. 

A story told by the great Martin Luther King, Jr. relates to seeing someone in need of assistance nearly every day. It may be a homeless person, a single parent, a child needing a mentor. What do you think or do when you see these individuals? Do you think, what will happen to me if I help this person? Or do you think, what will happen to this person if I do not help them? 

There are numerous quotes from Dr. King to summarize corporate responsibility and service / volunteering. Simply put, “the time is always right to do what is right.” Use tomorrow as a beginning to encourage employees to volunteer and flourish; and think of each day as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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