Going Beyond a 'Day of Service'

Companies benefit from letting employees serve their communities year-round.

Marlene Gregory, Regional Sales Manager, CSL Behring, reads to a group of students at Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown, Pennsylvania, as part of a charitable partnership between the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and CSL Behring. Employees like Marlene say they enjoy participating in activities such as these throughout the year, and experts agree that there are multiple benefits to both community organizations and businesses that encourage their employees to volunteer. (Photo/Peter Chung/United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey)
Marlene Gregory, Regional Sales Manager, CSL Behring, reads to a group of students at Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown, Pennsylvania, as part of a charitable partnership between the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and CSL Behring. Employees like Marlene say they enjoy participating in activities such as these throughout the year, and experts agree that there are multiple benefits to both community organizations and businesses that encourage their employees to volunteer. (Photo/Peter Chung/United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey)

On May 31, more than 50 employees at CSL Behring in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will join with hundreds of other volunteers from companies throughout their region for UNITED2FEED, an event organized by the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. At the event, volunteers will pack 8,000 emergency food boxes that will feed 32,000 individuals in need of food. The event is one of many ways in which CSL Behring employees can give back to their community throughout the year.

Like many companies, CSL Behring employees also give back on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In the United States, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become a day to honor the legacy of Dr. King through community service. On this day, many American companies offer their employees a chance to serve their communities. Schools across the country ask their students to participate in special giving back opportunities, often accompanied by their parents. It’s a wonderful way to honor the legacy of a man who changed the world for the better. But charitable organizations agree that they could use the help at other times throughout the year as well.

"Volunteerism that is connected to specific days or events is incredibly powerful in that it demonstrates the needs facing our neighbors and amplifies the collective impact that happens when we all rally around one cause,” said Bill Golderer, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “But the fact is -- volunteers are needed every day of the year.”

Golderer said that the United Way works with companies such as CSL Behring to ensure that volunteerism is a year-round priority, so nonprofit organizations have the leadership and resources needed to ensure they can best help their communities.

For the past several years CSL Behring has celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by offering its employees the opportunity to go outside of the office and participate in a service project of their choosing. In 2018, the company expanded upon this concept to allow employees the flexibility of choosing their own Day of Service, starting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and lasting for an entire month

“Our employees have shown a real commitment to their communities, and leadership at CSL Behring puts a high value on giving back to the communities in which we serve,” said Karen Etchberger, Executive Vice President of Quality and Business Services and Site Head at CSL Behring, King of Prussia. “We realized that offering our employees a more flexible timeframe to participate in a community service project would help to increase participation in the program and provide more benefit to the community.”

Through partnerships with the United Way as well as the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, CSL Behring employees also have other opportunities to give back outside of the office throughout the year. Along with UNITED2FEED, these events include stuffing backpacks with school supplies at the charity’s Backpack-A-Thon, and preparing meals for Ronald McDonald House families through their Guest Chef program.

The people served by nonprofit organizations aren’t the only ones who benefit from community outreach initiatives. Companies who encourage their employees to volunteer also benefit. The United Way pointed to a study by Cone Research that found that 79 percent of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company. A separate Deloitte study notes that “corporate philanthropy and volunteerism help businesses attract, develop and retain talent.” That same study states that employees see a benefit from volunteering.  Ninety-two percent of respondents agree that volunteering improves both broader professional skill sets and leadership skills. 

For many who volunteer, there are less tangible but equally powerful benefits.

“I can’t even put into words how much I got out of the experience,” said Marlene Gregory, Regional Sales Manager at CSL Behring. Marlene was among a group of employees who read to children at Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown, Pennsylvania, through a United Way early childhood literacy program. “The children were adorable, well-mannered and so engaged. It was an amazing way to spend my day.”