When I graduated from college, the barrage of donation requests started in earnest – from my alma mater, my church, the American Cancer Society and many other worthy causes. I wanted to help support these organizations, but I didn’t have much extra cash working for a non-profit. What I did have was time and energy. So, that’s what I donated.
Today, I’m able to provide more financial support to various organizations, but my volunteer hours still carry great worth. The experience is also very rewarding for me. As I serve on the board of my local United Way, I learn about the needs of my community and get to know many other fantastic volunteers. When I prepare and serve meals for a local initiative to support homeless families, I witness the happiness that small gestures can bring to people during a difficult time. As I chaperone the high school marching band at yet another football game, I get to watch the comradery and enjoy the music. When I lead Sunday school for the church youth, I can engage in deep discussions about topics that matter most to them.
Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO) has a proud history of volunteerism, including activities that range from the team packing meals for a local shelter to team members serving on boards of directors of professional and community organizations. For its 25th anniversary, the company launched the 25 Points of Light to encourage, highlight and celebrate volunteer activities of its team members. That volunteer showcase may be one reason I was drawn to VTLO.
VTLO didn’t stop at 25 Points of Light. The company evolved that corporate social responsibility (CSR) program into VTLO Cares, a strategic and integrated approach to elevate the company’s CSR practices for greater social impact. One of the cause areas of VTLO Cares is Employee Volunteering. In 2019, the company pledged to donate to a World Vision clean-water project for every hour volunteered by VTLO team members, up to 150 hours. Additionally, VTLO committed to recognize the team member with the highest number of volunteer hours as the VTLO Volunteer of the Year, each year on Giving Tuesday.
By September, the team exceeded the 150-hour target! And I was the fortunate recipient of the VTLO Volunteer of the Year award. Not only did I receive a beautiful crystal trophy, but also Jill Vitiello, VTLO CEO, and Nadine Green, VTLO Chief Operating Officer, made the trip to my hometown to present a check to United Way of Southern Chester County, an organization I was able to choose for the honor.
As Volunteer of the Year, I’m going to make it my mission to continue to encourage and support others, including my VTLO colleagues, in their volunteer endeavors. I love to read my colleagues’ stories on our intranet (we have a dedicated web page for VTLO Cares!) and learn about the causes that matter to them. There is no shortage of ways people can volunteer.
So, if you can write a check to support a cause, please do. Money is helpful. Just don’t forget that much of the need in our communities can be met with sweat equity, too. Whether you volunteer once a year or every week, giving back has its benefits for the organizations we support and for us.