Giving back doesn’t just feel good, it’s also good for business

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This is a guest post from United Way for Southeastern Michigan

According to a Network for Good study, employers who offer their staff opportunities to give back to the community strengthen employee relationships, enhance employee morale and even build critical skill sets and expertise.

At United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we believe volunteering is a powerful way to multiply our impact, which is why we work alongside our corporate partners to create meaningful experiences for employees to give back. DTE Energy is one such United Way partner that exemplifies what it means to Live United.

In 2016, DTE Energy rolled-out its improved employee volunteerism program, called Care Force. Throughout the year, the company planned opportunities for employees to give back to communities including its Holiday Meals on Wheels program, a coat drive to help residents stay warm in the colder weather, and the first annual Month of Caring.

“Our employees and their enthusiasm for giving back are what makes our program so great — and we want to build on that commitment,” said Mark Stiers, president and COO of DTE Gas and executive champion of the volunteer program. “Volunteerism strengthens our connection to our communities, provides opportunities for employees to develop leadership skills and connect with colleagues and helps our nonprofit partners make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

In total, more than 2,300 DTE employees volunteered 22,000 hours in communities throughout Michigan — 200 of those with United Way. Employees around the company volunteered with United Way in a variety of ways. Whether it was serving in board positions and providing year-round involvement, helping at Meet Up and Eat Up block parties, assisting with the 2-1-1 Crisis Hotline, to organizing fundraisers and helping students and adults with resume training, mock interviews and other professional skills.

“I like volunteering with United Way because it is a great organization and they do so much great work to help our communities,” said Frank D’Angelo, a DTE employee who volunteered last summer for Meet Up and Eat Up. “I spent the day getting to know my colleagues better and helping families and kids get the essential food and support they need in a fun, community-focused way.”

Volunteerism can take many forms: from a single day of action where employees clean up a park together, to ongoing commitments where they may mentor high school students or provide budget coaching.

“Corporations have become increasingly interested in social responsibility, and giving their employees opportunities to volunteer is a great way to do that,” said Angela Beckman, United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s director of volunteer engagement. “Volunteering can make staff feel more connected to their community.”

In an effort to engage even more volunteers, United Way will launch a new online volunteer portal this spring. Not only will the portal include an expanded selection of opportunities, volunteers will also be able to create an online profile, track their hours and download their volunteer activity to add to their resumes or professional networks.

To learn more about United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s upcoming volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.liveunitedsem.org/VolunteerAlerts