SOMETIMES COMPANIES CAN STRUGGLE with connecting up with the right kind of volunteering opportunities.

It’s not a matter of finding people in need – there are an overwhelming number of worthy organizations out there who need our help and support.

I was excited to find out that our very own City of Fort Collins has a Volunteer Services Program.  So I sat down with Charlotte Boney this week to find out more.

Charlotte BoneyCharlotte explained that this city-funded effort facilitates connecting up citizens and groups to various needs in City government:  natural areas, public facilities, sports, justice, ….  Our city involves a lot of people!

But there’s even more need in other parts of the community.  Charities, certainly, but plenty of other organizations which may not be as visible.  So this team also acts as a connection point to hook up helpers with organizations in need.

And there’s a lot of people helping out.  Of course, I’m looking at this mostly from the viewpoint of businesses seeking out deeper contributions to the community.  Think of Odell, New Belgium, Cargill, OtterBox, Starbucks … but those are the highly visible ones.  I’ve also talked about other amazing contributions by small companies such as Trebuchet Group and Innosphere.

The most profound impacts come when a company doesn’t just donate some money, but also its time and expertise.  For instance, I’m currently working with three non-profits around the world on pro-bono basis.  It makes much more of a difference to donate my coaching expertise than to write a check.

So here’s an idea for us all:  When we’re looking to improve our communities, look to local governments for help in connecting to the right needs.  They have a different, richer view than when you just look around for charities.

And, by the way, your employees become much more engaged and excited when helping others face to face.