• Make it your hobby. For workers trying to avoid burnout, volunteering has become a hobby or passion that provides meaning outside of their careers. Miami publicist Amy Zakarin says her involvement in animal rescue and welfare brings her fulfillment. “No matter how much time I spend on this it’s not enough.” As a volunteer, Zakarin says she rescues dogs and lends her expertise to the cause, occasionally in ways that benefit her clients, too. For example, she set up a fundraising event at Village of Merrick Park (a client) to raise money for the Humane Society of Greater Miami and has worked to publicize the event. “I feel good channeling my skills into something outside of work that I’m passionate about.”
• Get your company involved. Corporate volunteerism is on the rise, with more businesses organizing service days or group projects. At Molina Healthcare, employees are paid their typical rate for doing volunteer work in the community. Molina says this benefit helps with employee satisfaction and encourages community involvement. Each worker gets 16 hours of paid volunteer time and ongoing options for volunteer opportunities. “It’s nice to go out there as a team to give back to the community,” says Ariana Nunez, who chairs Molina’s Employee Activities Committee in Miami. “Some people lack the motivation to do it on their own. All we have to do is sign up, show up and do the work.”
• Build it into your business plan. Some leaders are building businesses around charitable giving. Tony Lamb, founder of Kona Ice, operates his business on a model that teams up with schools, community organizations and youth sports teams. The company and its franchisees give 25 percent of gross sales from a fundraising event to the local organization. With more than 300 franchisees, Kona has donated more than $10 million to communities. “We are attracting franchisees with an understanding of the way our business model runs and love giving back. The goodwill is tremendous.” Lincoln Wray, a new North Miami Beach franchisee, says he had been doing volunteer work and looking for a business when he learned about Kona. “I saw it as an ideal way to support community groups.”
• Look for one-day projects. Many cities have websites set up for volunteers to work short-term or single-day projects. Some of those include NewYorkcares.org in New York City and volunteermatch.org in Miami.
Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal LLC, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her columns and blog at worklifebalancingact.com.