How volunteerism affects your employees, your business growth and your community

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Print this page By LaKrisha Watson, CPA, Tax manager, Dixon Hughes Goodman, Richmond
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While issuing a corporate check may be the easiest route to giving back, including volunteerism in your organization’s social responsibility efforts is crucial.

With the rise of millennials like myself in today’s workforce, we value the ability to integrate social outreach in our workplace lives. According to the Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report, “77 percent of millennials said they’re more likely to volunteer when they can use their specific skills or expertise to benefit a cause.” In that same report, a similar number of millennials “preferred to perform cause work with groups of fellow employees as opposed to doing independent service projects.”

Giving back through purposeful volunteerism is a way to care for the people in your organization and the world around us. Aligning your community impact goals with your organization’s mission and values is a great place to start, while including volunteerism in the mix. The following are some ways that I’ve witnessed volunteerism affecting my firm:

Volunteering boosts employee recruitment

Attracting talent is a top priority for every organization. But what really sets one employer apart from another? Volunteer programs can play a key role in attracting potential employees. In my role as a senior tax associate at a top 20 public accounting firm, I interview accounting students and experienced professionals who will be our future employees. Their interest is always piqued when I share my firm's support and involvement with Junior Achievement and how we serve our local food banks.

According to a Pew Research Center report, millennials comprise more than one in three Americans in today’s workforce. We are actively seeking out careers where we can make a positive impact. Shining a light on volunteerism may truly make a positive impact and differentiate your organization from a competitor as a deciding factor for incoming talent. 

Volunteering Is good for business

Volunteerism has the potential to improve employee morale, retention and productivity, thus contributing to an organization’s growth. The more employees are engaged, the stronger the connection to the organization, its mission and overall performance. Time spent volunteering in the community increases job satisfaction and teamwork, leading to a more unified workplace culture. I’ve also built new connections in the community while volunteering. This form of networking adds value to my own career. I’m using my strengths to help others while representing my company – what a great way to tell others about my firm and what is important to us!

Volunteering can change lives for the better

Finally, volunteering can truly change lives — the lives of your organization’s employees and the lives of those in need in our communities. Encouraging and making a difference in someone else’s life impacts me and the person or organization I’m helping. Through volunteering with Junior Achievement, I’m helping prepare students for their future. By volunteering with FeedMore, I’m contributing a basic meal that provides nourishment to a family or individual in need. That is a lasting impact that cannot be achieved by simply donating financial support with the quick click of a button online. Volunteering also inspires new passions in those who volunteer. Who knew that I’d really enjoy working with students to help them create a budget? I certainly did not until I gave it a try.
The impact of volunteerism is catching on, and it’s a force for good, not only in our communities, but in our organizations. Let’s awaken our creativity, our experiences and our passion to serve. Will you choose to make volunteerism a priority in your organization? I look forward to seeing you out there in the community. 

LaKrisha Watson, CPA is a tax manager in Dixon Hughes Goodman’s Richmond office and a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. Reach her at (804) 474-1288 or lakrisha.watson@dhgllp.com.

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