The initiative is dedicated to supporting West Virginia businesses in their volunteer and community involvement efforts. The spirit of volunteering in West Virginia is strong. However, until now West Virginia businesses have not had a resource to support their corporate volunteer efforts.
About one in four West Virginia residents volunteer every year, and many of them are choosing to do so at their local schools, according to Volunteering in America: State Trends and Rankings released last year. The study tracked volunteer efforts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 2002 and 2005 and found that the commitment to volunteering was steadily on the rise.
West Virginia saw the number and proportion of people who volunteered between 2004 and 2005 increase by 2.4 percent. West Virginians volunteered an average of 52 hours a person a year, higher than the national average.
The West Virginia Business Volunteer Council is a coalition of businesses, associations, and labor organizations that provides leadership and assistance in meeting community needs through business and employee volunteerism. Established in April 2006, the founding members of the Council’s steering committee believe that volunteerism is essential to the well-being of West Virginia communities and that it is good business to engage employee volunteers in meeting community needs.
The Business Volunteer Council is supported through a partnership with the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, the state’s volunteer agency, and Volunteer West Virginia, Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Commission has developed a web-based matching database at www.volunteerwv.org and a network of community agencies that support volunteer efforts.
The Council plans to use the Web site as a clearinghouse for employees to sign up as volunteers, encourage organizations in their communities to post volunteer opportunities, and log their volunteer hours for their own efforts. This three-pronged partnership of the private sector, government and non-profit agencies is the approach that works to address our communities’ pressing needs.
The Council will offer companies training, volunteer opportunities, recognition and other services that facilitate private sector involvement in volunteering. West Virginia businesses are asked to complete a brief 10 question online survey at www.wvbizvol.com so that businesses and their volunteer efforts are better served.