Guest post by Christina Brown, The Huntington National Bank
The word “connectivity” seems easy enough to understand. But in the world of corporate engagement, we strive to do better at it each and every day. It’s not often enough that corporations and nonprofits get together in one place to share ideas about how to best work with each other. Recently in Columbus, Ohio, Volunteermatch was able bring leaders of these two communities together in the first ever “Community Connection Day,” and the results were outstanding.
The day started at the Columbus Foundation, with 75 nonprofit leaders from across the city of Columbus discussing their successes and challenges surrounding volunteer engagement. The conversation, facilitated by VolunteerMatch expert Jennifer Bennett, covered topics from event creation and volunteer recruitment to organization hurdles and best practice sharing.
The Columbus Foundation
In another room, 20 corporate engagement leaders from local companies gathered to discuss their own programs. This is where I spent my time, and I truly started to realize the impact that this day would have on me as a leader and even more deeply as a member of my community. During an inspiring conversation led by Realized Worth’s Chris Jarvis, the room was captivated with the conversation around social and transitional change and what our impact as leaders truly means to the community.
This meeting of the minds brought together a group of representatives from very different companies, yet allowed us to feel joined by our responsibility to provide opportunities for our colleagues to experience rare moments of meaning and unity. With Chris’s insight and the engaging conversation in the room, it was as if a thread started to weave our experiences and opportunities together. Suddenly we were there as change agents working together, not just representatives from the various companies in our community. A refreshing feeling of inspiration came over me that morning.
After the nonprofits and companies were done with their respective conversations, both groups came together for lunch and an opportunity to share what they had learned in the earlier sessions. Excitement and anticipation spread throughout the room, as familiar faces reconnected and new ones were welcomed with open arms.
Shortly after lunch was served, a panel gathered at the front of the room to hold an honest discussion on volunteerism and share how nonprofits and corporations are working together. As a member of the panel, I was thrilled to present in front a room of change agents and share how my nonprofit partner and company best work together. Sharing personal stories of what works versus the challenges that we all face from time to time was invigorating.
And again, that word “connectivity” showed itself on both sides. In a room full of people who live and breathe community, the conversation danced across each table and the togetherness that I felt truly cemented that thread between each of us in the room.
If not for VolunteerMatch’s Community Connection Day, this conversation and opportunity to bring our voices together would not have occurred in such an intimate fashion. No matter whom you represent – a company, nonprofit or your individual passions – the need for connectivity is real. When an organization takes the time to create a moment of togetherness and allow for creative conversation, that is when change is possible and the true connectivity begins.
Interested in bringing a Community Connection Day event to your area? Get in touch with Inga Langford!
Christina Brown is Vice President of Financial Education and Volunteerism for Huntington. She is responsible for the company’s external financial education, as well as the corporate-wide volunteer program.