NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Two regional organizations are teaming up to increase volunteerism at Hampton Roads in hopes of improving the quality of life.
On January 1, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads will become a branch of the Hampton Roads Chamber.
âI look forward to the future,â said Stephanie Gorham, CEO of VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads.
Gorham says it’s been a long conversation to get to the point.
It has also been a long pandemic for the organization, which strives to connect and provide volunteers for nonprofits.
âWe have been very busy. Volunteering has not declined, âshe said. âPeople want to get involved. There has been a huge need, a huge increase in the number of nonprofits that need volunteers. One of the things we’ve really noticed over the past 15 months is that businesses really want to get involved. Even when some could not go out, they wanted to be creative in carrying out projects from home or remotely. It made us sit down for a second and think, we’ve been doing this for 65 years. Our largest pool is the workforce. Over the past 15 months, we’ve focused on making volunteering easier for businesses.
Being affiliated with the chamber will make it easier for the Hampton Roads VOLUNTEER to focus on their mission, according to chamber president and CEO Bryan Stephens.
âIt’s an arrangement that has mutual benefits. We want to make sure that we bring all the strengths and resources of the chamber to help them accomplish their mission and expand their mission to Hampton Roads when it comes to volunteering, âhe said. âWe believe this is the right thing for businesses to do and we hope to develop volunteerism throughout the business community at Hampton Roads and VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads will. ”
Stephens says they will ease the administrative burden on the organization and help with financial management, human resources and other tasks.
He believes that for businesses to be successful, they must give back to the community.
Giving back will in turn improve the quality of life, according to Stephens.
“Let’s say we have 1.7 million [people] in Hampton Roads. It’s hypothetical. If we have 100,000 active volunteers on a regular basis, what if we increase that number to 250,000 or 500,000? ” he said. âThink of the exponential effects that are expected to increase the quality of life for so many here at Hampton Roads and make the quality of life so much better and which is attracting businesses to the area.
Stephens says it also increased productivity.
âBusinesses are there to make money. We understand this. They have to deliver their product, their service to the fullest extent possible, and they have to create income and share in the profits. It’s all good, âhe said. âWhat we’re trying to show them is that if they create a culture of volunteerism within their workforce, they’ll be able to do both of these things to a greater degree because they have higher morale, higher skills. They feel like a team and they contribute to the greater good of the community.
In the Old Dominion University’s State of the Commonwealth Report, economists found that Hampton Roads was recovering from the pandemic more slowly than other metropolitan areas.
One of the problems was the shrinking workforce.
Gorham says that when companies invest in giving back, it connects with the community, which makes people more likely to stick around.
âIt’s harder to leave a community where you feel your heart is there,â she said.
Gorham says the organization will work with businesses to create personalized services for employers to help with corporate social responsibility and she is excited about the potential number of volunteers who will emerge from this affiliation.
For more information on VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads, Click here.
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