PSA is Doing Good. Better. The Ripple Effects of Strategic Volunteering

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For years, PSA has been giving back to the community through periodic canned food drives, giving employees a day off to volunteer for their cause of choice, and fund raising events with dunking booths, bake sales, and more. But recently, we have decided to evolve our efforts to a more purposeful approach. With the help of Business Volunteers Maryland (BVM), we’re not just partnering with our community on a service level, we’re making a deeper impact through strategic volunteering. In short, PSA is “doing good. Better.”

With BVM’s guidance, this past year we’ve implemented a number of improvements to our volunteer efforts. First, we’ve surveyed our employees to gauge their service interests. Then we formed a volunteer committee of employees from each department with roles of a chair, secretary, marketing leader and events planner. BVM led our first meeting and helped us develop a mission statement: Engage PSA partners to connect, support, and set an example in our community.

To generate employee excitement and interest in our fine-tuned volunteer program, PSA held a T-shirt design competition for the shirts our volunteers wear during community service. It has been a fun project, and our employees are proud to show off the winning T-shirt design with our slogan, “Who gives a Shift? PSA does.” Check out fun photos of our employees in action on Facebook.

‘BVM works with many companies, and PSA sets the bar high. We are grateful to be working with them. They care about making a difference and seem to be having a lot of fun in the process of doing so much good.’ – Alissa Ganser, Interim Executive Director, Business Volunteers Maryland

Meeting monthly, the PSA Volunteer Committee develops goals for the company’s strategic volunteering program and decides on community engagement opportunities for PSA. The committee has chosen to focus on three non-profit organizations each year moving forward. This year we’ve been partnering with Meals on Wheels, Civic Works, and Community Assistance Network. Rather than a dispersed service approach helping many causes, focusing on these three organizations represents a good mix of opportunities for PSA employees to address a wide array of human needs. It also allows us to make a more meaningful impact by helping with more activities in each organization, ranging from service- to strategic-level initiatives.

We are also more intentional about measuring our impact, which is why we have built a system to track and better allocate our support where it’s most needed.

Comprehensive volunteering

PSA’s goal for the year was to see 51% of employees engaged in volunteer work through use of their volunteer day off. I am delighted to note that by today we’ve exceeded that goal and inspired about 66% of our employees to get involved at all levels of giving back.

We’ve also built a plan to donate. Every year, employees contribute a small amount per pay to a Good Will fund in exchange for the ability to wear jeans on Fridays. While this money has always been used to give back, we now incorporate these funds into our overall giving strategy to support our selected organizations.

These are just few of the comprehensive service areas where we’ve been plugging in with each organization to address their greatest needs:

  1. Meals On Wheels—We’ve helped with meal prep in their kitchens, delivered food, organized various fundraising events throughout the year to ensure a constant stream of monetary support, donated 150 home-bound health kits, and are exploring board participation.
  2. Community Assistance Network—We’ve donated 2,147 pounds of goods and a total of $1,591. Unlike in the past, this year we also delivered and stacked the food and hygiene products we donated through our annual canned food drive, as well as handed out packages to their clients at CAN’s facility.
  3. Civic Works—During the good weather seasons, we’ve volunteered to help out with various farm work. We also organized a fundraiser night for PSA employees playing bingo, which helped us raise and donate $7,157.

“PSA’s employee Volunteer Committee followed the community engagement plan BVM created and has accomplished a tremendous amount in a short period of time. Their efforts are now strategically aligned within PSA—top down and across departments empowering employees to get involved. Now they also better address the strategic needs of the organizations they are serving.” – Alissa Ganser, Interim Executive Director Business Volunteers Maryland

Anyone can serve for one day, and the impact of hands-on service should not be underestimated. However, when you make the conscious decision to support fewer organizations, but with higher levels of service in each, you make a ripple effect, which propels that organization to serve even more people. And that is smart, strategic volunteering. PSA is doing good. Better.

Stay tuned for future posts discussing more of efforts and results of our strategic volunteering program. In the meantime, contact me at if you are interested in learning more and creating a strategic volunteering program at your organization.