At Online Optimism, we love spending days in our office working on SEO, SEM, and social media campaigns for our clients. But every now and then, stepping outside our comfort zone to do some corporate volunteering matters. All of our employees are members on New Orleans’ Young Leadership Council, the organization that hosts Wednesday at the Square, among other community events. Recently, we stepped outside our typical work environment to volunteer at WATS in Lafayette Square. Our job was simple: stand at a tent, and sell food and drink tickets to the event’s attendees while showing off our very own “Online Optimist” tees.
Everyone at our agency, from our CEO to our specialists, got a lot out of corporate volunteering at Wednesday at the Square. We’ve done a lot of volunteering as an agency, but this particular event taught us that one annual volunteering event can make all the difference. We feel other small businesses should take advantage of corporate volunteering for the following reasons.
Corporate Volunteering Is a Great Way to Gain Exposure
We handed out tickets to hundreds of attendees, all while wearing company t-shirts. The people who came to our ticket stand asked us questions about who we are, what we do, how big our company is, and so on. Each time we were asked a question regarding our business, we got the opportunity to answer and become better known among the community. Even though we do a lot of online PR for ourselves as an agency, getting the opportunity to word-of-mouth advertise was great.
While promoting your company this way might not always bring in new business, putting your company out there is important. Anything you can do to grow your business is worth a try. Volunteering in matching clothes is a great way to do just that. We had a great time educating New Orleans about who we are, and we think you’ll enjoy this opportunity, too. It’s the perfect opportunity to advertise and network.
It Improves Office Relationships
Everyone at OO gets along. However, with the exception of our company-wide Friday lunches and daily morning meetings, we rarely get time to just hang out as an agency. Being at an event outside the office and doing something other than digital marketing work allowed us time to chat about non-work-related things. For instance, our dog-friendly company enjoyed sharing our love of dog watching. Many WATS attendees brought their dogs, and we can assure you that we took breaks to pet every single pup we saw.
In any business, productivity is critical to success. In order to be productive, communication is key. In order to communicate better, office relationships need to be nourished. This is why spending time together outside the office is so important.
Your Business Gets to Give Back
We think all businesses should have the opportunity to help others. Businesses spend a lot of time focusing on themselves. While our agency’s services help our clients, we at OO spend a lot of time on our own business as well. Taking just three hours out of our lives to volunteer at WATS let us give back to our community by helping to support this event.
Our content strategist, Lauren Walter, enjoyed getting to give back to the New Orleans community she loves. She feels good about the work she did while at this event.
“Corporate volunteer opportunities might not be top priority for a business owner, but they can make a real difference to employees and the community,” Lauren said. “It feels good to get out of the office and give back. Being helpful is a core value of our company, so it’s always nice to put that value into action.”
Everyone Gets to Enjoy Free Entertainment
While we did good deeds and gave back to our community, we got to enjoy free entertainment at the event in return. Everyone who volunteered at WATS got their own t-shirt, three drinks, and seven tickets for food. Our agency got to hear all the music that was played right from our ticket stand tent. Along with that, we also got to eat the delicious foods served at WATS for free, including quesadillas, po-boys, pizza, crepes, and more. Who doesn’t love excellent free food?
When we weren’t working, munching, or sipping away, we got to meet plenty of inspiring people. In fact, we got to meet two digital marketing producers from BuzzFeed LadyLike, Kristin Chirico and Freddie Ransome. The two producers stopped by the event while they were in town filming some short YouTube videos. As a digital marketing team, we were equally entertained and inspired when we ran into them. You never know who you’ll meet in life, even at volunteer events.
We all had a fun time at this event, but long-time NOLA resident Patrick Rafferty, our business development director, loved getting to come back to WATS once more.
“I’ve always loved Wednesday at the Square, so it was great to help out with putting together such a wonderful event,” Patrick said. “I can’t wait to volunteer again in the future.”
Overall, there are many benefits of corporate volunteering. We look forward to volunteering at more events in the future and hope more small businesses like us get out of their comfort zone and give back, too. Our CEO, Flynn Zaiger, could not be happier with how our most recent volunteering opportunity went.
“Being able to volunteer for an organization like YLC is really exciting for Online Optimism as a company,” Flynn said. “Not only does it bring our team together, but it’s always nice to be able to give back to the community.”