Tag Archives: Volunteers

Benefits of Community Involvement in the Workplace

The workplace can act as an ideal environment to promote volunteer work. Pride and satisfaction are both worthwhile reasons to get your business involved in community service. However, many additional benefits of volunteerism exist in the workplace.  There are numerous reasons to encourage community involvement in one’s place of work. Providing employees with an opportunity to practice and demonstrate leadership can be valuable in employees’ professional development. Additionally, volunteer work can boost employee morale

Employee volunteerism can provide secondary benefits outside the office such as positive media coverage. Community involvement demonstrates to the public and interested job applicants that your business cares about more than making a profit. Volunteering allows employees with a work-life balance and personal satisfaction. This gratification may help employees gain a clearer perspective on the relation between their personal values and place of work.  Community involvement needs to be an essential part of what you do to give back to your community.

Managing volunteer programs requires strong commitment from the employer and involves tracking volunteer hours and promoting events.  Social media, such as Twitter, is an example of a medium your business may decide to promote your recent volunteer activities to the public. The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network is also a valuable network for businesses to use.  They provide volunteer opportunities ranging from helping out at the Bloomington Animal Shelter to Red Cross.

For more information on volunteer oppurtunities, visit bloomington.in.gov/volunteer



Adapted from, “Community involvement benefits the workplace,” by Dr. Tanya Brown http://insidebiz.com/news/community-involvement-benefits-workplace

A Reason to Celebrate: Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Named 2012 Chamber of the Year

Early this month, seven Chamber staff and two of our Board of Directors let out the loudest cheer when we heard our name announced as “Chamber of the Year”! Days before, we lost our dear friend and colleague Morgan Hutton who had served as The Chamber’s Director of Public Policy & Advocacy. Needless to say, the award raised our spirits and our heavy hearts. We all felt Morgan’s presence with us that evening.

Again we thank our members, volunteers and board of directors for the support given as we build better business and better community. It is because of your support and commitment that we were able to bring home this national title…Thank you!

Below is the official press release announcing our Chamber of the Year award:

Bloomington, IN – August 6, 2012 – The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce was named 2012 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) at the organization’s annual conference held in Louisville, K.Y., last week. The ACCE may recognize up to four chambers of commerce a year, one in each of the four annual revenue categories, for work in leading businesses and communities. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce competed in the $501,000–$999,998 total revenue category and was named the top chamber of its size in the United States and Canada.

The Chamber of the Year award involves an intense, multi-stage process. Chambers must first qualify to compete by completing the ACCE’s annual Chamber Operations Survey which is judged by the ACCE based on seven criteria regarding net income, assets, and partner retention dollars and accounts. Only the top ranked chambers are then invited to complete the formal application that provides a comprehensive view of the chamber’s success based on financial and partnership performance, as well as their communication and community programs. The last step in the process was the in-person interview which took place at the start of the conference and ultimately determined the final awardees in each category.

“To be named Chamber of the Year validates the incredible work our board of directors, volunteers and staff accomplish on a daily basis and provides national recognition for the tremendous impact the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has on key community priorities such as education, transportation, healthcare and regional vitality,” said Christy Gillenwater, president & C.E.O. of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful to our dedicated volunteers and members. We are extremely humbled to receive this honor as we recommit to continue to serve our stakeholders with excellence.”

Gillenwater accepted the award at the August 2 ACCE Awards event along with board chair, Jim Whitlatch of Bunger & Robertson Attorneys at Law. According to Whitlatch, it was “a proud moment for everyone associated with the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce” as the prestigious award highlighted some of the organization’s key programs and services.

He explains, “The Chamber serves as a catalyst for consensus, helping to build agreement so that critical projects that will benefit business and the community are realized. To know that our work on I-69 and the S.R. 45/46 Bypass – along with the positive impact The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative has had on area graduation rates, were recognized at this level is so rewarding.” Also highlighted in The Chamber’s ACCE Chamber of the Year application were several key membership marketing and communication pieces.
In 2011, the Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA) recognized the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce as the Indiana Chamber of the Year. Like the ACCE Chamber of the Year award, this also recognizes organizational excellence in chambers of commerce and provides a unique benchmarking opportunity to assess organizational strength.
For more information about The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce visit www.chamberbloomington.org or call 812.336.6381.


Calling All Leadership Volunteers!

Do you serve on a nonprofit Board of Directors, or would you like to?

Do you have questions about what is expected of you?

The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network is pleased to announce the launch of the Nonprofit Board Certificate Program. This certificate will be offered to individuals who complete a ½ day seminar consisting of four one-hour sessions.  These sessions cover the regulations, legal responsibilities, financial and fundraising obligations, and ongoing activities involved in serving as a member of the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization in Indiana. Each of the four sessions includes opportunities for discussion as well as hands-on workshop activities.

Nonprofit Board Certificate Program

Date: Thursday, Oct. 20 from 1-5 p.m.

Cost: $25 per person

Location: Council Chambers of City Hall (8th and Morton St. Bloomington)

To register: Go to www.bloomington.in.gov/volunteer

Mail payment to: City of Bloomington Volunteer Network PO Box 100 Bloomington IN 47402

If you have questions or need an invoice: Contact Bet Savich, Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network at 812-349-3472 or volunteer@bloomington.in.gov


Benefits to businesses of their employees joining nonprofit boards:

  • Nonprofit boards provide a learning environment to cultivate leaders, including the ability to think and act more strategically. These skills will transfer back to your work place.
  • your business or corporation’s name will be extended out into the community through professional networking
  • employee morale, retention and recruitment will be enhanced by the opportunity for board service
  • your employees will contribute critical business expertise to a local nonprofit organization which also contributes to both the quality of life and the economy. These skills include finance, mergers, public relations, human resources, law, real estate, accounting, and other core areas.
  • In addition to the practical skills which your employees contribute, they will also focus their time and attention on the organization’s mission and vision, and how to achieve it. This will carry over to their thinking about your business.

The Volunteer Network’s Purpose in bringing this training to the community:

  • To provide individuals from businesses, from the professions, and from the general community who currently serve or are considering serving as volunteer members of a nonprofit board of directors with a strong grounding in the roles and responsibilities involved with such service.
  • To provide interested nonprofit organizations with an excellent resource for potential new volunteer board members – individuals that have demonstrated interest in nonprofit board service as well as the knowledge needed to be an effective board member
  • To strengthen and transform the Monroe County nonprofit landscape by elevating the performance of its governance teams.

The program will answer questions such as:

–          How do I find out what will be expected of me?

–          What should I expect from the organization?

–          What are my financial and legal responsibilities?

–          What authority do I have – and do others have?

–          Will I have to raise money?  If so, how do I go about it?

–          What questions should I be asking if I’m asked to serve on a nonprofit’s board?

–          How can I make a significant and positive impact on the organization – and on our community?


  • Completion of the four hour Nonprofit Board Certificate Program
  • Completion of an “Areas of Nonprofit Board Interest” questionnaire (given during final session)

Each individual who completes the program may opt to be included on a list available to organizations which are actively seeking board members. After 12 months, individuals who wish to continue to be listed must participate in a free one-hour workshop which provides updated information on nonprofit regulations, the opportunity to share board experiences and the opportunity to update your questionnaire.

This program is supported by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Bloomington Monroe County Alumni Association, NonProfit Alliance of Monroe County, and United Way of Monroe County.

Elizabeth D. Savich, Director
City of Bloomington Volunteer Network


Getting Students Excited About the Real World

If I could boil down the mission of The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative into one sentence, I would say it’s about providing real-world experiences that get young people excited about their future.

Our Franklin Initiative volunteers make this happen.  What better organization to provide real-world career learning than a Chamber of Commerce?  With connections to hundreds of businesses and thousands of people representing virtually every possible career field, The Chamber is uniquely positioned to play this important role.

This was a great year for FI.  Reality Stores, career fairs, company tours, employment fair, classroom speakers, service learning, mock interviews, WorkKeys testing – all these activities use the magic of real world experiences to spark interest in preparing for life as a working adult. Continue reading

10 Things You May Not Know About The Chamber

As I approach my ten year anniversary with The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, I find myself reflecting on the last decade of my professional life and the many experiences I’ve had working for a Chamber of Commerce. Heather Robinson One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, is that once you’ve seen one chamber you’ve seen just one chamber.  Chambers are some of the oldest organizations in the world and are connected by the name “Chamber of Commerce”, and are typically an association of business people.  That’s about where the similarities end.  Chambers are a uniquely diverse group of independent, membership organizations that serve their communities in a variety of ways.   I have also learned that such diversity can lead to confusion about what chambers do.   I have often heard the phrase “I’m not sure if you can help me, but I thought to call the chamber first.” Continue reading

Volunteers Form the Backbone of the Franklin Initiative

The Franklin Initiative is very lucky to have sponsors and donors that value the role of education in the business community. However, without all the help we receive from community volunteers none of our fantastic programs would be possible.

During this busy time of year, we rely heavily on our dedicated group of volunteers who assist us in implementing our programs and events.  Our volunteers come to us with many areas of expertise and help us provide Monroe County students with a variety of creative educational opportunities that otherwise might not be available to them. Continue reading