Welcome back, everyone! Today, we’re shifting gears to a new topic: volunteering. While the winter months undoubtedly encourage staying indoors, keeping cozy, and ‘hibernating’ at home, we think that volunteering is a significant part of one’s fulfillment in everyday life and highly encourage you to take advantage of volunteering in your community. Specifically, if you’re in Chicago, this blog is for you! Keep reading to find out what goes into volunteering and some opportunities near you.
First and foremost, in order to participate in a volunteering event, you must evaluate your options! At many companies, designated platforms are formed to encourage employees to volunteer, engage in events, connect with one another, and monetarily support foundations they feel passionate about. First look into the ways in which you can maximize donations through matching programs or through certain non-profits that your employer partners with. If you’re unsure where to start, a corporate responsibility report is a great way to learn about your company’s history of “walking the walk” when it comes to giving back. Otherwise, ask your hiring manager, boss, or teammates as a great way to find out how others have engaged in this benefit and how you can do the same!
Preparing for your Event!
- Work Obligations: Preparing for a volunteer event is easy! Simply follow the steps below and you’re sure to have a smooth and enjoyable day. Always ensure that your work that day is complete and you are not sacrificing any deadlines due to the event. Even if this means working a bit more on the days prior, it’s key to be able to unplug and take advantage of your entire volunteering experience while there.
- Alert your team or take PTO! While volunteering events usually ladder into regular work hours, this may not always be the case! Check in with your manager to set clear expectations of your absence and account for any required PTO hours.
- Dress the part: Additionally, remember that you are representing the company you work for at corporate events! Dressing appropriately, wearing closed-toed shoes (no logos or graphics!), and adhering to company policy as you would in the office are essential at an offsite event. Make sure to be on the lookout for emails leading up to the event that clarifies dress expectations, weather, the activity you’re participating in, and if you should be wearing a company shirt.
- Bring lunch, snacks, and water: The logistical email or resource that you receive before any volunteering event will likely clarify the dress code, provide a list of what to bring, and clarify what to expect at the event. This may mean that water and snacks are provided or a full-catered luncheon! Whatever it is, it’s important to be prepared so that you can last through the entire event without fatigue. Volunteering often looks like physical labor, so being fully energized and having food/water on hand is crucial to staying engaged.
- Organize transportation: Finally, don’t leave logistics until the morning of! If you are required to travel to a volunteering event, look into company shuttles, stipends, or modes of transportation. If not, find your most accessible route and coordinate with a coworker when able! Always allow for extra time and arrive early to get settled and excited.
Chicago Volunteering Opportunities
- Family Volunteering in Chicago
- Holiday Volunteer Events
- Chicago Cares
- Food Pantry Opportunities
- Chicago Volunteer Matching Tool
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