DTE Energy’s annual Month of Caring has spurred volunteer efforts across the company. Some employees have given back to their favorite nonprofits and others have supported new opportunities, but we’re all working together to beat the company’s goal of 2,000 hours of volunteer time in August. 

One group is leading the charge thanks to Debra Stoudemire, senior business financial analyst at DTE Energy , who is passionately coordinating the Controllers/CFO team’s Month of Caring efforts. Debra has gathered over 300 employees to volunteer at 13 nonprofit partner sites for a one-day blitz near the end of August. From packaging food, gardening, compiling bookbags, to cleaning, preparing meals and neighborhood beautification, there’s an opportunity for anyone. Each site includes a lead who coordinates the onsite needs and a co-lead who can support questions and serve as backup if needed.

All of this activity certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Each year, Stoudemire begins preparing for Month of Caring in January in order to identify and vet each site, complete necessary forms for Care Force and promote participation from her team. She encourages co-workers through email, one-on-one conversations and during all hands meetings, which ultimately works toward her team’s nearly 100 percent participation rate.

“We sent out the open sites for Month of Caring in May to give individuals enough time to review the options and select what opportunity best fits their passions,” said Stoudemire. “This also allows them to plan vacations around the volunteer date. Since we’ve been doing this for a few years, we have repeat volunteers who don’t want to miss this day, which is an amazing feeling to know that this is viewed as such a high priority.”

But her team didn’t waste much time. All of the available timeslots were full by June. By the end of August, this group will have volunteered more than 1,200 hours.

Stoudemire made it as easy as possible for everyone to participate, including providing the team each nonprofit mission statement and brochure for additional information, and directions on how to log their hours into Cause Cast and to apply for McCarthy grants.

“Not only do our employees and the organizations get a day of volunteering, but the nonprofit also receives a $500 McCarthy grant to go toward their efforts. That makes it even more enticing for them to participate,” said Stoudemire.

Following the events, Stoudemire conducts a survey and After Action Review (AAR) to gather feedback on how they can improve for next year, including requesting names for additional charity partners.

“When we get to the nonprofit, we go over the pre-job brief and requirements for each site, but all other administrative work is completed so we can dedicate the full day to the nonprofit,” said Stoudemire. “We ask each site lead to gather a group photo and action shots so we can capture our efforts at each site. By the end of the month, we have a gallery of giving back.”