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Volunteering and its Effect on Office Culture

Volunteering is more than giving time and money at EY – it is their culture.

Their tagline, “Building a better working world”, encourages community involvement. Volunteering with organizations such as Junior Achievement (JA) is one of the ways they connect to the community.

“Volunteering is a daily thing at EY and whenever I talk to someone who has volunteered for a JA In-Class program they always have a big smile on their face as they describe how much they connected to the kids and the kids connected to them,” said Matt Napier, Assurance Senior at EY and JA Volunteer Champion.

How to engage employees in volunteering

Matt started at EY two years ago and heard of JA through the office’s weekly email which communicates different volunteer needs along with office updates.

“I volunteered for the Economics for Success JA In-Class program and I loved it so much I approached Tammy Izzo [EY Central Region Government and Public Sector Leader and JA Board Member] on how I could get more involved,” said Matt, “So I joined the JA Volunteer Champion Committee and became the JA Office Champion, meaning I am responsible for dispersing any information about JA as soon as possible to EY staff.”

An office volunteer champion is a common model for offices to maintain nonprofit relations and promote volunteerism among employees. EY has also incorporated several other tactics, through Matt’s help, such as hosting lunch and learns with JA staff, making sure JA opportunities are consistently in their weekly email, providing incentives for financial giving, e.g. jean day, and including JA volunteer opportunities on employee onboarding days.

[caption id="attachment_226" align="alignnone" width="1024"]ey-volunteers EY employees volunteer to help get JA BizTown ready before students start to attend.[/caption]

EY also sponsors the annual "EY Connect Day" where employees from each EY office spend one day in their community volunteering at a variety of different nonprofits. For JA this could mean participating in JA In-A-Day where volunteers team up and teach all five sessions of a particular JA Program in one day or helping in the administrative offices at JA.

Benefits of having employees volunteer

Studies have shown that volunteering can potentially increase employee productivity, company pride, gratitude in the work environment, and ethical behavior.

One EY volunteer, Alex Criss, described her experience as very rewarding.

“Teaching the JA class helped me develop a number of skills. It was good practice for how to prepare for and give a presentation to a specific audience. I also gained time management skills by managing how to fit each session’s materials into a 45-minute class period,” said Alex.

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There are also team building benefits to volunteering for a JA In-Class program. A new JA campaign initiative, Bring-A-Friend, encourages volunteers to co-teach by either teaching sessions together or splitting the sessions between themselves. EY Volunteer Jesslyn Patel volunteered with her co-worker Kate Pelini [hyperlink to Kate’s article] and commented,

“It was a great way to get an opportunity to bond with a fellow EY member that does not serve in the same service line that I do. I don’t see my friend Kate often, but knowing that I could see her once a week was always exciting!”

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So moral of the story, volunteer!

“I’m so glad I took this opportunity.  It was something I always looked forward to each week, and it was always a nice way to change up the work week! You’ll learn a lot more about yourself than you think through the way you teach, and getting to share life skills with them and see the wheels turning in their minds makes it so worthwhile.” – Kate Pelini.

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  • "I can't think of a better gift for kids than to prepare them for success in the real world." - Aaron Bahe, Columbus City School Teacher

  • "I loved being the mayor of JA BizTown. I now have a good understanding of how busy business can be." - Gabbie Schneider, JA BizTown Student

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  • "Kids are capable of more than we know. JA is a great way to demonstrate the real life skills they will all need." JA of Central Ohio Volunteer

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