Is Your Organization “Woke” to Corporate Volunteerism?

The term “woke” refers to someone being aware or knowledgeable around societal issues, especially social and racial inequity. In recent years, there has been an increased outcry around corporate social responsibility which translates into the importance of companies and organizations developing or increasing their corporate social responsibility initiatives. It is not surprising that an organization’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are a factor in where individuals decide to work and spend money, which should be the catalyst for more companies and organizations to become “woke” to the importance of community investment.

It is important to note that CSR programs should align with an organization’s mission, values, and culture. Whether your business is retail, medical, or technology, there are many ways to support the communities where you live and conduct business. Making a financial donation to a nonprofit organization while extremely beneficial is easy however it does not allow for employees to have the ability to tell their story of how they helped to improve the lives of individuals, families, or communities. Giving employees an opportunity to tell their stories can be accomplished by hosting a service-learning reflection with leadership and employees in attendance.

Service learning is a fantastic way for employees to share the story of volunteerism with their family and friends, which helps to encourage lifelong service. Service-learning gives an opportunity for employees to form a strong connection to the “why it matters” of community volunteerism.

Where to start can be simple. Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Determine who in your organization will assist or lead your CSR initiatives.
  2. Select volunteer activities that are relevant to both employees and nonprofits.
  3. Reach out to organizations that have experience in CSR projects.

Since 1974, Volunteer Houston has connected individuals, organizations, and companies to nonprofits in the Greater Houston area and surrounding 12 counties with nonprofits to transform the community for good through volunteerism. We offer two options:

  1. Fully customized projects that can be in-person, remote, or a hybrid
  2. Service Projects 2 Go (SP2G) for companies with limited resources and budgets to meet CSR goals. SP2G kits offer a variety of themed kits through collaboration with nonprofits serving the Greater Houston area. These kits were developed to meet the needs of their clients.

Corporate Social Responsibility has an impact beyond the volunteer project – increasing brand recognition, increasing your value and perception to both internal and external stakeholders – employees, individuals interested in joining your organization, customers, and the community at large. Corporate Social Responsibility is not just about volunteering; it is also about being creative in finding ways to engage, inspire and contribute to causes that impact, empower, and build communities that are more equitable, just, and accessible. Stay Woke.

Gayla Wilson is the Volunteer Houston Program Manager. Besides being a lifelong volunteer inspired by her mother who instilled the need to give back,  she is a wife, sister, and lover of all things food, both consumption and preparation and loves live music, gardening, travel, and the great outdoors. LinkedIn