Sign us up! Volunteering is another of those great relationship building activities.
Our friends and colleagues at Microsoft Convergence 2013 have a wonderful tradition that occurs during their conference- they don't just come for the latest and greatest information, but they make a point of doing Community Outreach in the city hosting the event. This year in New Orleans, they will be helping programs like Fuel the Future and The Birthing Project- and we say, right on!
We all know the value of giving back. And beyond the good we do for others, volunteering is a
fantastic relationship building activity. While you're in the do-good trenches, here are some ways that your connecting on a more human level at the same time:
1. Sharing values or interests: The causes your colleagues support (Tom from IT spends a weekend a month in a soup kitchen!) and the things they find especially interesting (Hey! Susie from Accounting is a fantastic woodworker!) are part of the core of who they are, and often they coincide with volunteerism. Volunteering together starts a discussion on these topics, and how they affect you. If you and a co-worker feel ultra empowered while working for Habitat for Humanity, consider making it something you do together on a more frequent basis, and encourage others to join you! It's a great way to get to know each other on a more personal level.
2. Liberation from work conversations: Sometimes, it's so easy to avoid personal conversation and hide behind our work- volunteering helps bring us all out from behind that wall. While filling a food pantry, the last thing anyone wants to talk about are the Q4 numbers. Volunteerism is a great way to work together on a project that does not involve any "work talk", but rather cooperative focus on helping others. And innevitably the team work you fostered there will carry over to the boardroom.
3. That warm, fuzzy feeling: The positive, inspiring feeling we get when we help others is its own reward. Sharing that joy and pride in achieving the goal of giving back with your colleagues multiplies that feeling exponentially. It's never about the recognition, but always about the way you've changed another person's life (and perhaps your own!) in the process. And the relationships you build while doing so are stronger for doing it together.
One of our favorite charitable organizations? Take a look at Broadway Cares|Equity Fights AIDS .