We’ve talked and talked (and talked and talked) about the benefits of employee volunteer programs, including volunteer time off (VTO). Now we want to show you. In this series of blog posts, we’ll interview some of our own employees to find out how they spend their volunteer hours, and why they love VTO.
So, who are you?
Hi there – my name is Stephanie Hong and I am the Engagement Manager at VolunteerMatch! I am a Bay Area transplant who loves giving back to the place I now call home. Volunteering has been part of my life since I was 7 years old, and I am proud to work at an organization that promotes volunteerism.
Where do you volunteer?
With a background in marketing, I wanted to put my skills to good use. Many animal shelters in California are short staffed, especially for the City of Stockton Animal Shelter. In my spare time, I help manage their SEM (search engine marketing) and act as webmaster to keep their website up to date. It is extremely fulfilling to provide my expertise when they otherwise would not have staff for it.
And with a love for animals, I recently just started at Rabbit Rescue as a rabbit socializer! I spend 2 hours a week hanging out with rabbits to make them perfect pets. From just sitting with them to get them used to humans or playing with them to give them exercise, it is the perfect excuse to get out of the office and help animals in need!
What drew you to these organizations?
As you can tell, I have a soft spot for animals. Even as a young child, I wanted to be the voice for them. As I grew older and gained more professional talents, skilled volunteering is where I found the greatest reward. Utilizing my marketing skills for good AND playing with rabbits – now that’s volunteer heaven!
Have any fun stories to share?
At Rabbit Rescue, a handful of rabbits reside at the Petco in San Francisco. It is our duty as volunteers to get them ready to be the perfect pet. Many are sweet and outgoing, but you do get a few who are shy and afraid of humans.
One such rabbit was Jules. She would hiss whenever I tried to pick her up and there was no way she’d let a stranger pet her. One day, she escaped from her enclosure and I had to chase her around Petco like a maniac. Suddenly, a hero came along and swooped her up. I’d never seen Jules so happy to be in someone’s arms. Spoiler alert: the hero adopted Jules the weekend after.
Would you volunteer if VolunteerMatch didn’t offer VTO?
Since volunteering has been part of my life for so long, I would definitely still volunteer without VTO. Volunteering is something I enjoy making time for. Don’t get me wrong, VTO is amazing! It is one of the best employee benefits out there. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to devote as much time as I wanted to help organizations. The ability to take 8 hours a month during work hours to help others is a perk that shows your employer really cares.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Many people do not want to bring work home. But what if you were using your “work” to help a cause? That is why I think skilled volunteering is so important. Countless nonprofit organizations do not have the budget to hire for every skill. With skilled volunteering, professionals can set aside a few hours a month for specific tasks like graphic designing, programming, marketing, writing, accounting, etc. Next time you’re looking for a volunteer gig, consider using your professional skills to make a difference!