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United Way
of Whatcom County

The Business Case for Volunteering

October 9, 2018

The most successful companies out there are made up of employees who are highly productive and generally happy people. How do they do that? How can you do that? It’s not hard to find research that supports the notion that happy people are more productive – 12% more productive, according to a 2015 CAGE study. Once we understand that to be true, the next step is figuring out how to make people happy.

The answer: Provide opportunities to be nice.

Helping others feels good. The warm fuzzies we get from doing nice things and being generous lift our mood. Why not do something nice for others if it makes you feel good too? That’s the point. It’s a win-win.

SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefits Report revealed 24% of businesses now offer paid time off to volunteer. When colleagues volunteer together, they engage in team-building, yes, but they also get to experience the good feelings that come along with it. Volunteering feels good. It leads to happiness. And happy employees are more productive employees.

Williams gets this. Every fall, they come to United Way in search of a service project. The Williams team is a skilled bunch. They can handle hard work. They can handle dirty work. So, this year we paired them up with our funded partners at Mercy Housing Northwest who needed some help with end-of-season work in their large community garden.

They cut out blackberry bushes and mowed the fields, tilled the garden space, laid fresh mulch, and built new raised beds. It was hard work, but for a good cause. And they were smiling the whole time.

Why? Because they made a big impact, and it felt good. Mercy Housing Northwest Resident Services Coordinator Lindsey Karas said, “We were able to bring the kids out to see the garden transformation and they were so excited. This will enable us to expand our educational programming.”

According to Williams Operations Manager Tyson Green, the Williams crew does a service project each year. “One of Williams’ core values is to contribute to the communities we live and work in," said Green. "The United Way model creates a sense of community, so it aligns with our values. Service projects give our employees the opportunity to make a difference and see the impact of the agencies supported by United Way.”

Volunteering isn’t the only answer. Williams offers other ways for their employees to feel good. They participate in a workplace giving campaign and allow employees to spread their donations to United Way throughout the year via payroll deduction. 

Plant the seeds for happiness by encouraging your employees to give time, money, or both. These acts of kindness will add up to a lot of good for our community, and a happy, productive workforce for your business.