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Volunteerism Is Vital To the Success of Our Region
Volunteerism Is Vital To the Success of Our Region
Op-Ed by Tage Counts

Every day in the 757, over 6,900 non-profit organizations are serving the needs of our region.  That includes business advocates like the Hampton Roads Chamber, charitable organizations, trade associations, civic groups, foundations, faith-based charities, and so many more.  In a community of over 1.7 million residents, that represents one non-profit organization for every 246 people.

Now imagine, in a region with approximately 880,000 individuals in our workforce, if every employee of every company were able and willing to volunteer just one hour a year.  Just sixty minutes every twelve months.  Almost a million hours of volunteer service could be generated to help serve the needs of those in our community who need it most or advocate for those who can’t do so for themselves.  Almost a million hours to make the 757 an even better region with which to live, work, and play.

April 18 – 24 is National Volunteer Week.  It is a great time for our business leaders and professionals to revisit efforts and focus on volunteerism as part of our business culture.  The Hampton Roads Chamber is honored to partner with member businesses who understand and advocate for volunteerism within their organizations and community.  We work alongside hundreds of exceptional professionals each year who give their time, talent, and treasures to assist our organization in setting the conditions for business and non-profit success daily.  From our board leadership and committee volunteers to our member ambassadors, our partners play a vital role in our organization's success and the ability to move business forward in the region.

This willingness to give back to our community is simply good business.  Companies throughout our region and the country have come to realize that providing time to their employees for volunteerism not only benefits the associations they serve, it provides a multitude of benefits to the companies themselves.  An evolving workforce is looking to work with businesses willing to give back to their community.  Coordinated group efforts provide opportunities for collaboration, personal growth, and team building.  Businesses that support volunteerism also see positive leadership growth, valuable community outreach opportunities, and increased revenue.  In a business world so focused on the net profits, the end result of a business willing to show support for their employees’ outreach show positive results on the bottom lines of their P&L sheets.

One of the most effective ways for companies to support staff involvement is through skills-based volunteering.  Non-profit organizations throughout your community need specialized skills, many of which are a great expense when paid by the hour or as additional salaries.  An experienced marketing professional can provide graphic design work.  An accountant can offer a better understanding and management of a non-profit’s revenue and expenses.  A skilled trade professional can provide maintenance services.  Local collaborators like VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads have the tools to connect any business or professional with the non-profits in need of their services.

We are at an inflection point, as our regional business and non-profit communities are coming together in collaborative ways we’ve never seen before.  As organizations like the Hampton Roads Chamber partner to execute the goals and objectives of the 757 Recovery & Resilience Action Framework in the coming months and years, let those standards of excellence, cooperation, and defined purpose be the catalyst for your company and leadership to reflect on how you give of your time, talent and treasures.  Winston Churchill offered, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  Please take this time to evaluate how you can give.

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