Did you know that serving others has a number of benefits, not only for your conscience but also for your health? Serving others can help you live longer because it can reduce stress and rates of depression while increasing your sense of life satisfaction. It can make you feel happier and give you a sense of purpose. Serving others can even promote positive behavior in teens (which is good for all parents’ health). With so many benefits, you might have to start questioning your motivation for volunteering and serving others — it might not be so altruistic, after all!
The benefits of serving others don’t only apply to you, of course. The people you serve receive a great benefit too, whether it be getting help to accomplish chores or errands, a hot meal when they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten one, or some extra cash for gas when they wouldn’t have been able to get to work in the morning, volunteering and giving benefits everyone involved.
Individuals aren’t the only ones who can benefit from providing a service, either. Companies with employees who serve and which enable their employees to give service reap similar benefits. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Hunter Perret believes the key to a successful company lies in serving others, both within the community and his own employees.
“I am big on culture. Community service is in my blood. I have an improper balance of non-profit versus for-profit, but it is my passion,” he shared. “I preach about leaving the grass greener than when you found it. I believe that everyone wants to feel good about themselves in one way or another. Some might feel that at work, some might feel it at home or in a community event or at a weekend activity.
Encouraging employees to serve and providing opportunities for them to give service through your organization will not only help them gain a sense of satisfaction, but will also benefit your company. Providing opportunities for service helps employees feel a sense of purpose, and helps your business to make a real difference in the world. That is something not all companies can offer, and employees are drawn to places that give them those kinds of opportunities. Millennials in particular are interested in social responsibility and making a difference, which can help employers retain their talent.
“Grassroots philanthropy is a way that all can give back to make our community better. Engagement in these types of activities promotes team unity and goodwill,” says Perret. “I always encourage all companies and their employees to engross themselves in the community that supports their business and their families personally. I have found that having management team members and company leaders work together on philanthropic projects sparks a greater sense of enthusiasm and dedication among employees, especially if tied in with morale-boosting activities like lunches, dinners, BBQs, t-shirts, family activities, etc.”
Altruism and service can also help your organization attract investors. With social responsibility becoming more prevalent, investors and partners are increasingly looking for companies already aware of the issues in their community and which have a plan to make a difference.
There are a number of ways you can get involved in your community and give back. One great way is to donate money; you can donate to a local soup kitchen or to a medical fund for a local child in need of help. You could even donate to another business or local non-profit that is working on bettering the community.
If you don’t want to donate money directly, you can get involved in a number of other ways as well. Some hair schools will take students once every couple of weeks to visit local homeless shelters, for example, where they will provide haircuts and grooming services free of charge. The students get the practice and the community receives a much-needed and appreciated service. You can donate your time and services to helping those in need or supporting local schools or donate your products and services to the community. If your product is consumable, you could donate it in a food drive or to local stores to hand out. If your product is not consumable, like a program or course, you could offer a class at your local community center.
Another great way to get involved in the community and give back is to be a mentor. You and a number of employees could sign up for something like the Big Brother/Big Sister program or take on a couple of interns from your local middle and high schools. In addition to the other services he renders and encourages businesses to provide, Hunter Perret is passionate about supporting underprivileged athletes.
As a supporter of Notre Dame athletics, Hunter and his wife Candyce are heavily involved in offering mentorship to scholar athletes from developing communities. The Perrets participate in the University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Grants in Aid program,
“Our gift with the athletic department has given us the opportunity to focus on things that we’re passionate about. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been most proud of our student athlete for the way that he has evolved – not just as a leader on the football field but as a role model for my children. We are humbled to have the opportunity to be involved in his life,” says Perret.
No matter what you choose to give, you will not only be giving back to and benefiting your community; As Hunter Perret has demonstrated, you can also make a difference within your company.
What are some of the ways your organization gives back?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.