For those of us who find joy in helping others, November is just a month to do more volunteer work.
If you’re anything like me, your time is split between work and home with very little time for leisure. However, it’s still important to make time for the causes that we care about. Here are three points I use when talking to my boss about taking some time off to volunteer:
- Decide on an Issue That Is Important to Both of You.
It makes sense that you would want to invest your time in something you’re passionate about. Keep in mind that if you plan on requesting time off from work to do charity work, your organization will likely want the company mission to benefit as well.
Use the following tips from Michelle Burke, Marketing Supervisor for WyckWyre, an online hiring tool specifically for the food industry. As she says:
“Ask your boss if there’s some way you could represent them, such as with company paraphernalia, while you’re engaging in your community service. Asking an employer for this can be done best by relating the community service work being done to non-profits or outreach programs the company already supports in a different capacity.”
- Be Prepared by Having the Details Ready and Answers to Potential Questions on Hand.
Company leaders are often receptive to proposals for community outreach. Showing leadership by wanting to help the local community is a great way to get your company’s name out there, and it benefits those you’re serving. Remember to be clear and concise when you explain your plan to your employer, so they know that the extra work won’t cause any issues with upcoming company projects.
Jenna Elkins, a media relations coordinator for Inc. 5000 company TechnologyAdvice, urges people to have a plan ready before going into any meeting. “Be ready to share details of the activity and your reason for your participation, while also addressing any potential concerns.” Some people may worry about the amount of time they’ll spend away from work or teaming up with other companies who could be competitors to your company’s current charitable efforts.
Livia Hermiz, an account executive at online marketing firm BrightHaus, recommends that employees come up with three doable options for community service so they have a better chance of coming to a compromise with their employer.
Before asking for a raise, she says it is important to understand what is currently going on in your company. “If the business is booming, and you’re about to double in employee size, it might be a hard time to organize a community service event as things will be hectic, for example.”
“Sometimes, there just isn’t a great time, and that’s fine, but I say waiting until there is a bit of calm, as creating a community service event for the company will not add to the stress of management,” Hermiz says.
Hook your boss with this timely tip from our expert! “I would go to my boss and say ‘I know the holidays are coming up, and I think it would be great for the company to do some community service or philanthropy. Not only would it make the company look great, and build a positive community-based reputation, but it will build positive employee relations among each other.’”
This brings us to our last point.
- Make It a Team Effort.
“Another idea is to ask the boss for the whole team to be involved in a community service project,” says Elkins.
“For example, I recently asked my boss if we could volunteer one morning during work hours at a local food bank. Not only did my leaders approve the idea, but the whole team is also excited about the upcoming opportunity to serve our community and share this positive experience with their teammates outside of the work environment.”
Community service projects are generally beneficial for both the company you work for and also for you as an individual. If you finish the tasks assigned to you by your boss, they should have no objections to permitting you or your team some time off in order to help those less fortunate.
Elkins sets up community service events every quarter. She accomplishes this by mustering the courage to ask her manager for time to contribute to causes important to her. As a result, she’s respected in her office for taking initiative – and you can be too!
Keep in mind, you’ll never know the answer unless you ask. So go ahead and take the plunge!
[Related: Oh Yes, You Can Fake an Outgoing Personality at Work – LEVO]
[Related: How Soma CEO Mike Del Ponte Creates a Vibrant Work Culture – LEVO]