Community Board Service: Not Just for the C-Suite

As we roll into March and spring finally feels within reach, the season for outdoor activities begins anew – and with it comes a wider range of volunteer opportunities. From participating in runs/walks for a charitable cause to park clean-ups and more, spring tends to inspire people to get out and “do.”

As we’ve discussed before, employee volunteerism is a critical part of any corporate responsibility program, and activities should be tied to your overall strategy and focus areas. Offering your employees the option to volunteer can boost brand loyalty, enhance recruitment and increase employee morale. And while one-day community service activities like those listed above should certainly be a part of the mix, it’s also important for employees to engage in consistent, ongoing volunteer activities throughout the year.

One example of a valuable, ongoing volunteer activity is serving on community boards. At most companies, this activity is more common among the higher-level or senior executives, who can offer a wealth of experience, expertise and community connections to a non-profit organization. However, community board service shouldn’t be limited to those already established in their career and community. The young professionals entering today’s workforce – namely, Millennials – are giving rise to a new generation of employees who are more focused on community consciousness than ever before.

Research shows that many Millennials actively seek out companies with a strong commitment to corporate responsibility. But it’s about more than simply adhering to these values or participating in volunteer events and activities. According to The 2012 Millennial Impact Report, 77 percent of Millennials surveyed are interested in becoming involved in volunteer leadership with a non-profit, wanting to see more opportunities to lead on boards and committees. However, the report found that only 20 percent of those surveyed currently serve on a board or committee.

As a Millennial young professional who does serve on a community board (the Associate Board for William Byrd Community House, a local non-profit in Richmond, Va.), I highly encourage other young professionals to seek these kinds of volunteer leadership opportunities, which benefit not only the individual but the company, the non-profit and the community as well. Here are five reasons why young professionals should serve in a leadership role with a non-profit organization:

Which of your employees are more involved in the community – the young professionals or the higher-level executives? Does your company offer and/or support employee volunteerism opportunities? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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