by Ellyse Lambie, Volunteer Coordinator, Catholic Family Service

Corporate Volunteering has been gaining momentum in the last several years. The desire to give back in meaningful ways is growing at a corporate level and more people are becoming aware of the benefits that corporate volunteering holds for both the community and the corporation.

At Catholic Family Service (CFS), we’ve seen a steady increase in corporate volunteering over the last 10 years. Volunteers from various corporations have helped build strong families by preparing and serving meals, cuddling babies, refreshing our office and play spaces, and celebrating the success of clients at program graduations.

The positive feedback we’ve received from our corporate partners affirms that corporate volunteering is a win-win. Recently, a group of employees from Cresa Calgary, a long term supporter of CFS and the UP Foundation, volunteered with the Families & Schools Together (F&ST) program of CFS. Melinda Woo, the Cresa employee who led this involvement, shared the following thoughts:

“Cresa Calgary was given the opportunity to spend an evening at Father Scollen School to volunteer for the F&ST program. The time spent helping out the families left a lasting impression on our staff and we were able to observe the progression of families and how they have moved towards a higher functioning unit, both as a family and with their peers and teachers.

We wouldn’t hesitate to share with others about the impact of this program and how successful it has been. Cresa recognizes that families are the foundation for strong values and by contributing to this program, we are reinforcing our strong company culture and values as well.”

As Volunteer Coordinator, I have the best job. I get to see these groups come together, build stronger connections with one another, and to witness them giving of themselves. When people are invited to share their time and talents in support of others, they gain a sense of value – the affirmation we all need that we have something to offer the world. They also gain experience, learning opportunities, opportunities for growth and development, and strengthened community and relationships. When corporations encourage and support their employees to volunteer, their workforce is strengthened through the positive experiences of their employees. The corporation also has the opportunity to be known as one who gives back and supports their community. The non-profit organization, in turn, benefits from the extra hands, minds, and hearts that contribute toward reaching the organization’s mission and vision.

While partnerships between non-profit organizations and corporations can pose some challenges, such as accommodating different schedules, balancing different mindsets, and meeting distinct needs, the benefits of working together far outweigh these challenges. My advice to anyone interested in being involved in corporate volunteering is this:

Be creative. Think outside the box. Find a way to say “yes” to each other.

We are stronger when we work together!