Monday, January 18, 2010

acting locally

i was asked to write a letter supporting a non-profit agency's nomination of my company for a volunteer calgary award and below is what i came up with it.  i liked it, so i thought i'd post it here (sort of like that beyonce song!  sort of) with a few minor changes to make it www-proof.

January 15, 2010

To Whom It May Concern:

My profile is not typical amongst oil and gas staff in Calgary. I have a liberal arts education, professional experience with non-profit agencies and the United Nations, and before I started at CompanyThatWillRemainUnnamedHere, I had no idea how the oil got into the ground, let alone how we managed to get it out.

But since I began working at this company, I have been continually impressed with the culture of volunteerism and community investment that seamlessly matches my own values. In my relatively short time here (I began in November 2008), I have managed to merge my professional life with my community involvement with ease.

For example, it wasn’t difficult to convince my supervisors to allow me to volunteer for CompanyThatWillRemainUnnamedHere’s 2009 United Way committee, under the auspices of which I took on the challenge of planning our Days of Caring project (a complete renovation of the exterior of one of a youth residential facility) as the Project Co-Coordinator. We named it the Beautification Project and my role was to organise and prepare the company volunteers for their shifts. Each morning, I hauled t shirts, train tickets, and nametags down to the building lobby and awaited the arrival of the day’s volunteers. It didn’t matter how exhausted I was, my spirits were consistently lifted by the volunteers, who brought an incredible spirit and enthusiasm to the project. I was genuinely touched with how our staff and contractors were so proud to be able to give back to their community through volunteering.

My experience coordinating the two week volunteer project and my days spent at the site, getting my hands dirty and wielding a paint brush, forced me to re-evaluate my stereotypes of the energy sector. Indeed, I walked away from the experience believing that it is possible to foster a sense of volunteerism within a company from the top down as CompanyThatWillRemainUnnamedHere gives staff two paid days per year to devote to volunteering. And to be sure, all the costs of the supplies, equipment rental, and catering involved in the Beautification Project were covered by a fund earmarked for such endeavours by the CompanyThatWillRemainUnnamedHere Community Investment department.

I still feel great about the positive impact CompanyThatWillRemainUnnamedHere and our people were able to have on the residents of the facility, the non-profit agency and its staff, and the community that now has a historic building to be proud of. The amazing thing about volunteering is that it doesn’t stop when you’ve laid down your paint brush and the spirit with which the work was done continues long after the project ends. One clear way that this has been accomplished with the abovementioned project is that relationships were developed between our staff and the beneficiary agency that have resulted in future computer donations, interest in their other programmes, and financial support of the organisation.

It is my hope that the spirit of volunteerism remains alive at CompanyThatWillRemainUnnamedHere, but I have no reason to doubt as I trust it will only continue to grow and expand.

i hope we win!


volunteercalgary said...

Wow what an inspiring letter; if only all business leaders could see the postive impact that comes when corporations place volunteerism high up on the list of desirable outcomes!

Impactful for staff and community and ultimately strengthens the company itself!

Good Luck with your nomination

Sara said...

good luck!!!