My husband and I were working in the area around our front patio this weekend. Over the last year, we changed out some of the plants and added some new ones. There’s a lovely new agave that we’ve planted and artfully swirled around it, a flowering vine has grown. I mentioned the vine to him, impressed that it had grown on it own. ”We didn’t even plant this yellow microdot.” His comment back, “yeah, the volunteers always seem to thrive.”
In surveying our yard, I quickly decide this is a truth. Some of the things I’ve purchased at nurseries didn’t make it but many of the plants that were taken as cuttings from others or that have come up on their own – aka volunteered, are thriving.
Sure, the word choice makes it all too obvious but I believe in synchronicity and isn’t there a clever lesson tucked inside this garden observation? It’s Tuesday night and my fourteen year old walks in with a friend after having spent the last two hours reading stories to kids at the homeless shelter. His face is folded in a big grin as he describes his evening and the boy that he spent his time with. He had fun.
I’ve noticed a similar effect when I’ve taken a group of employees out for a volunteer activity. In researching this topic, I learn that it goes deeper than fun. The Center for Services Marketing call it the Service – Profit chain and it goes like this; if a volunteer experience is crafted in a manner that engages employees and makes them feel more satisfied about their workplace, then they’re likely treating the customers better which results in higher customer satisfaction and is a contributor to loyalty. Further, JD Power & Associates tell us that customers who have observed the employees of a particular company doing volunteer work are likely to be more satisfied customers.
So, it’s not just the volunteers that seem to thrive.
Where can you engage your family, friends, co-workers or employees in a local volunteer project?
- 1 Tsp olive oil
- 1 cup broth
- 1 large leek, white and light green part diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 can of black beans rinsed (use any leftover beans)
- 1 bunch of fresh spinach, sliced in narrow ribbons
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- a pinch of cumin
- 1 lb of ground turkey (optional or added to portion for meat eaters)
- 1 splash hot sauce (optional)