As the director of community benefit for Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, I have the privilege of working with amazing nonprofits and clinics to improve oral health for children, seniors and pregnant women across our state. Helping others makes me happy, and it’s also a big part of what makes our company culture so great. From our customer service team to our claims team; from our enrollment team to our sales team; from our finance team to our executive team—they all want to help people improve their smiles. It’s literally what we do every day.
As part of this culture, our associates are encouraged to volunteer and donate their time to meaningful causes across the state. We believe strongly that when you give a smile, you get a hundred smiles in return. We’re clearly not the only people with this philosophy. According to the Volunteering in America report, more than 77 million adults volunteered nearly 7 billion hours in 2018!
Brush Up on the Benefits of Volunteering
The groups and organizations we volunteer with benefit from our time and resources, but so do our employees. Helping our employees volunteer for causes they feel passionately about enriches their lives and strengthens the company—and it makes me smile, too!
Consider these amazing personal and professional benefits of volunteering:
- Improves Mental and Emotional Health
Volunteering has been shown to improve emotional health by increasing happiness levels, combating depression and boosting self-confidence. In doing good for others in your community you feel accomplished and proud of yourself, which helps to lower your stress and anxiety levels.
- Builds Your Professional Network
Taking part in activities outside of the office lets you connect with co-workers on a more personal level, and it also gives you the chance to meet people outside of your organization. When you connect with like-minded professionals who have the same goal as you, you build bonds and make introductions to people you might not have met otherwise.
- Develops New Skills
It’s normal to get to a point in your job where you feel like you’ve mastered most skills. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep learning new things. By volunteering, you’ll get to try new tasks that are outside of your skill set. Maybe you’ll learn more about working with animals, or fundraising, the sky’s the limit.
- Encourages Employee Engagement
Many Americans spend more time at work than they do at home, so it’s important to make sure employees feel engaged and empowered in their role. When employees feel encouraged to represent their company outside of work, it helps them buy in to the mission of the company. Plus, taking photos and having fun during shared experiences makes you feel proud of your company.
Creating an Employee Volunteer Program
Starting an employee volunteer program in your workplace doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start small by asking your employees what causes they care about. How do those causes align with your company’s mission? What resources do you already have in the office? Launching a volunteer program can start a powerful dialogue between your company and your community.
When employees volunteer, they feel more connected to others and less absorbed in the stress of work and daily life. Here at Delta Dental of Arizona, we’ve clocked nearly 400 hours of volunteer work in 2019—our first official year of tracking. With proven company benefits like increased teamwork and morale, it’s one more way we are using our Smile PowerTM to grow our company and help our community.
To see more of what we’ve done in the past or to get ideas for your own volunteer program, here’s a look back at some events and programs we’ve supported over the years: