Our Volunteering Lifestyle
As the Director of Marketing, I often find my work time has multiple competing priorities and even though my ethos is to ‘always learn’ it can be difficult to carve out space to focus on my development when there are so many calls on my attention.
This became particularly apparent in the last couple of years when I wanted to increase my leadership and board experience by taking on a trustee board position at a charity. I thought giving back + honingmy leadership skills was right up my street! But where to start, and what to do, and how to make it fit in with my very full work schedule?
Well I’m a big believer in manifestation and making things happen and my search for a good volunteering fit culminated early last year when I was appointed as a Trustee Board Member at the international animal welfare charity Dogstar Foundation. Founded by a couple of former Londoners Sam and Mark Green, the charity is based out of Sri Lanka, supported by grants from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Dogs Trust and focuses on easing the plight of street dogs and cats – we feed, spay and provide loving care to them, thus improving their quality of life in a myriad of ways. It’s wonderful, worthy work, and the team in Sri Lanka have battled hyper inflation, civil unrest, black outs lasting hours, no petrol (so no way of getting to our 4 legged friends) etc etc all with a smile on their faces because they LOVE what they do.
I’m super proud to be on the board of such a dedicated charity, the role has taught me so much about people, risk and crisis management, its further developed my skillset as a Board Director, and its enabled me to explore how to be a constructive and supportive friend to a CEO. But none of this would be possible unless my employers were ok with me taking meetings during work time.
Luckily for me last August I joined Lifestyle Gift Card – Part of Motivates, and they aren’t just ok with me volunteering during work time – as a BCorp, who strive to be a force for good, they actively encourage it! Every employee gets 2 full days a year to dedicate to volunteering either in group activities, or as I do, for outside interests.
We actively talk about who volunteers and where they do it, we are actively encouraged to use our 2 days every year and we can do more if we want/need to. We are loud and proud about our efforts. Lifestyle’s volunteering policy facilitates my active involvement in an international charity that makes a real difference every single day to hundreds of starving and lonely animals. It also enables me to work directly with Sam the CEO of Dogstar on her professional goals to change and shift the culture of the charity, and it means a charity get to make use of my 20+ years of marketing and commercial experience – and I do all this during official ‘work time’ – how’s that for awesome?!
As Sam herself says “…putting a key focus on volunteering and actively encouraging employees to give of themselves to external causes greatly benefits charities like Dogstar Foundation – our board is made up of highly experienced individuals, – without them volunteering their time we just wouldn’t have access to their skillsets and we are far stronger with them involved.” Samanatha Green CEO, Dogstar Foundation.
So no matter if your organisation is big or small, think about taking some time today to carve out a volunteering policy that is workable for your business and your people so you both can start giving a little bit back to the universe. Be a force for good, if you can.
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