Stelter’s Volunteers: Helping Our Iowa Community

April is National Volunteer Month. For those of you who work in the nonprofit world everyday, volunteers are your lifeline.

We can talk all day about targeted campaigns, donor lists and multichannel marketing, but without volunteers to go out into our communities, advocate your mission and support you with their time and service, you’d be sunk. Volunteers are your tribe who take up your mission and multiply your work. They help keep us all afloat.

The good news? Volunteering is alive and well in all corners of our country. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service:

Nearly 25% of us volunteer nationally. That’s:

+ 62.6 million Americans
+ 7.8 billion hours
+ $184 billion in service

BONUS! The more people volunteer the happier they are, say researchers at the London School of Economics.

Making Time for Doing Good

If it’s one thing we do well at Stelter, it’s rallying the troops. Where there’s a need—client or community—we pull together and answer the call. In fact, Stelter has a Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program that enables each employee to receive eight hours of paid time each year to volunteer with their local charity of choice.

That’s nearly 900 hours of donated time and service every year.

“Stelter helps many organizations voice their missions,” says Jessica Durand, chair of Stelter’s philanthropy committee. “This is a chance to reach out individually and work with the organizations that are important to each of us.”

A Day in the Life of VTO

“To give back in such a simple way that helps to preserve the memories of those who’ve sacrificed so much was a blessing and an honor, and I hope to make it a tradition,” says Greg Schlaefle, client success manager.

VTO-Collage-1
From left: Jessica’s dog, Bear, hangs out with the residents at Plymouth Place retirement community. • Greg and Brian raise headstones at Glendale and Iowa Veterans Cemeteries. • Luke spreads six truckloads and 11 wagonloads of mulch at the Brenton Arboretum.

“The mom and her three kids had been living for a year at the House of Mercy and had nowhere to live when they graduated from the program,” says Danny Herzberg, associate product manager. “A whole bunch of us helped get them set-up for their new life.”

VTO-Collage-2
From left: 11 Stelter employees volunteer at a local animal rescue. • Bev and Danny help deliver appliances to a deserving family’s home. • Madalyn and Jessica deliver goodies to local firefighters and police officers.

Stitches of Love

A group of crafty employees, the Stelter Stitchers, meet about once a month, weaving a little love into every handcrafted creation they make for local community groups who serve people in need.

Stitchers-Collage
From left: The Stelter Stitchers make blankets, toys, hats and activity bags for the NICU at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. • Amanda, Diann, Terri and Jill get ready to pack up their handmade blankets for delivery • The Stitcher’s annual Valentine’s Day bake sale raises more than $300 for a veterans hospital.

A Pie in the Face

Turns out we’re also slightly competitive—yet still good-natured—when it comes to supporting a good cause.

A recent food drive for a local food pantry network pitted two homegrown Stelter teams against one another: Iowa State fans vs. University of Iowa fans.

The team that donated the most food won the right to rub it in, literally, against the other team, with a pie in the face. The internal competition created so much fun and so many donations that the food pantry network is looking to take the Stelter game concept to other groups.

“I love a good competition, especially when it helps a local charity,” says Wendi Lanning, client services manager.

Tailgate-Collage
From left: Wendi stands in front of the winning pile of donations. • Cyclone fan Betsy gets to award Hawkeye fan Chris a pie in the face. • Mike is still proud of what the Hawkeye team was able to donate despite the loss.

Philanthropy luncheons, our Fight for Air Climb team, countless individual acts of service… I wish I could list all the employee projects and volunteer efforts that make us Stelter proud each year.

How does your organization give back? We’d love to hear how you motivate your staff for good. Share your volunteer stories in the comments below.

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