A Mix of Things: Volunteering and Service Zones

OK, today’s post has two topics. Volunteering and customer service zones. When I can’t think of a topic to write about, I generally check out the list of blogs I link to for some ideas. I’ve gotten my ideas for today’s post and will probably do the same thing tomorrow. However, I do think of my own ideas of what to write about every now and then, so don’t worry.

This section of today’s post was inspired by Glenn Ross’s post on the same topic. I’ve always thought that a company volunteering, giving back to the community, and/or helping the greater good (it all depends what you call it – I’ll call it volunteering) is very important. Glenn said it perfectly: “Bottom line: Being involved in your community strengthens your community, raises your employee morale, increases your firm’s visibility and can increase traffic to your business.”

I’d word it a bit differently (Being involved in your community helps others, improves employee morale, helps your brand, and can get you new or additional business. – everyone has a different writing style), but the points are the same. Volunteering not only helps others, but it’ll help your company too. Raising employee morale is priceless and so is increasing brand awareness and strength. Bringing in extra and/or new business is rarely complained about, either.

I think instead of asking “Why should I volunteer” you should ask “Why shouldn’t I volunteer?” You should be motivated to volunteer if you just got one of the benefits, much less all four (increase morale, increase brand strength and awareness, more business, help others).

When volunteering you can be creative with your choices. There’s hundreds of thousands of worthy causes out there, so think of something related to your company and something that your employees/customers can relate to. For example:

  • Do a lot of your employees and customers have pets? If so, volunteer as a group (or sponsor as a company) at a local animal shelter or for a national organization like the Humane Society of the United States.
  • Builders donate time, money, resources, etc. to an organization like Habitat for Humanity.
  • Even smaller organizations and freelancers can donate time and expertise. For example, many web developers design free web sites for worthy causes. Some web hosts will host charity sites for free.
  • Restaurants and other eateries, consider helping at a local soup kitchen or donating food/resources.
  • Doctor’s groups can donate money or other resources (like brainpower) to various disease research funds.

There are literally thousands of ideas. Ask your employees and customers – if we volunteered our time, money, resources, etc., for whom should we volunteer? I’m sure you’ll get some good ideas and hopefully be able to put them into action. Volunteering, giving back to the community, helping the greater good, or whatever else you want to call it should be a part of your company’s culture. If it isn’t, your employees and customers may brush it off as a one time thing to meet requirements for a new program.
By the way, as most of you likely know, most of your donations are tax-deductible. Ask the organization if your donations are, and what exactly you can deduct.

Customer Service Zones
As a sort of follow-up to my post on Customer Service Zones, inspired by Meikah’s post on the same topic, I’d like to point to Meikah’s further explanations of the topic. Here is a more in-depth explanation of the “rigid” zone of customer service quality, and here is one on the “safe zone” of customer service quality. This whole customer service zone thing is very much like a personality test for your organization’s customer service department. I’m assuming Meikah will be posting some more about the other two zones in the upcoming days on her blog. I think it’s extremely interesting.

One Response to “A Mix of Things: Volunteering and Service Zones”

  1. Meikah said:

    Jun 19, 06 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks Doug for the trackbrack! You’re right, I’m going to write about the last two zones of quality service in my succeeding posts.

    About the volunteering thing, we have here in the Philippines (and I know other countries have caught on, too) what you call “Gawad Kalinga” (rough translation, “care group”). People, and now companies, volunteer to help homeless or poor families build their homes. It’s very similar to Habitat for Humanity. The homes of “Gawad Kalinga” are colorful and volunteers can either bring in their services or building materials. It’s started by the group, Couples for Christ.

    Reach-out community activities like these are part of the so-called social responsibility or corporate social responsibility for companies.