Doing Good is Good for You

We love sharing inspiring content, especially about volunteering and its positive effects on individuals and organizations. The following is a gently edited blog post by RealizedWorth from Kate Rubin, Vice President of UnitedHealth Group and President of UnitedHealth Foundation. We hope you enjoy this research on how volunteering can improve your health.

For organizations like UnitedHealth Group, building healthier communities is part of our mission. We’ve invested in research that demonstrates how volunteering is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In our Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, we learned that people who volunteer feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Doing good is, indeed, good for you! Here are the findings:

Volunteering Makes a Difference

People who volunteered in the past 12 months told us volunteering has made them feel physically healthier and there was an even stronger connection between volunteering and mental health.Volunteers in the study provided higher ratings than non-volunteers on nine well-established measures of emotional well-being, which included overall satisfaction with life, personal independence, and capacity for rich interpersonal relationships. Participants also cited that volunteering improved their mood and self-esteem! Other benefits like lower stress levels can be viewed in the diagram below:

It’s true: volunteering makes us feel better. And while we’re feeling better, other people who benefit from our volunteer efforts feel better, too.  Everybody wins! Continue reading

A BILLION+CHANGE: Companies Pledge To Commit BILLION$ To Skill-Based Volunteering

On International Corporate Philanthropy Day, this past Monday, AltruHelp joined more than 100 leaders in business, policy and civic engagement in New York City to celebrate the continuing success of A Billion + Change, a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer service from corporate America by 2013.  Since the summer of 2011, more than $1.6 billion of skills-based volunteer services has been contributed and 78 pledge companies have joined the movement. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the campaign’s honorary chairman, announced this as part of a program hosted by Morgan Stanley at the company’s headquarters in NYC. The event recognized the innovative pro bono programs companies are developing to deliver high-impact services to address community needs.

A Billion + Change, housed and managed by Points of Light, is seeking 500 companies willing to pledge their best business skills and talents to serve the needs of nonprofits and communities at home and around the world. The campaign’s vision is to inspire the largest commitment of corporate pro bono service in history. A Billion + Change is encouraging companies of all sizes across all sectors to achieve this kind of change. Pledge companies range in size from small businesses, like gothamCulture and AltruHelp, to large companies such as Nielsen, General Mills, Boston Beer Company, State Farm, Hewlett-Packard, UnitedHealth Group and Morgan Stanley. To date, these companies have committed to give more than 11 million hours of time and talent to nonprofits by 2013. Continue reading

Measuring the IMPACT of Networking on Charity

With the recent surge in corporate social responsibility and startups supporting the charity scene – a trend that became more visible at the Social Good 2.0 conference two months ago– AltruHelp has partnered with multiple nonprofits in the community (Animal Rescue League of Boston, Playworks Metro Boston, American Red Cross and more) to pioneer “IMPACT Networking For Charity,” a fun series of speed-fundraising, volunteering & networking events aimed at increasing Millenial volunteerism and community IMPACT.

On January 26th AltruHelp hosted it’s first Winter Impact networking event to kick off a new year of social impact!  Borrowing a page from speed dating, we matched professionals and college students with various speed-volunteer/fundraising stations enabling them to support multiple nonprofits in one night, under one roof, while forming meaningful career connections!

AltruHelp Winter IMPACT Networking at MassChallenge

Over the course of just 2 hours, 100+ local Bostonians generated some awesome IMPACT for the nonprofit community:

AltruHelp Winter Impact NetworkingWhat’s more, the event also raised more than $2000 for Charity! Think of it this way: while attendees were sipping on ice cold Narragansett Tallboys, eating tasty Boloco Burritos/Panera sandwiches, and expanding their professional networking connections, they created more good for the greater community on a Thursday night than the average person does in a year! If that doesn’t deserve kudos, we’re not sure what does!  Continue reading

Volunteering INCREASES Employment: Meet Scott Bailey of MassChallenge

1
Scott Bailey

During these difficult economic times the job search process can be challenging but what if you tried something new? Instead of spending each day applying to jobs online, submitting your resume to Monster.com, Craigslist, Careerbuilder and more, why not try a few days of volunteering? Sounds crazy right??? New case studies show that taking time to give back will expand your network, enhance your character, and potentially lead to full-time career opportunities! This post marks the first in a series of interviews we’ve conducted with successful individuals who have obtained AWESOME Jobs, expanded their network, and increased their personal development by volunteering!

Meet Scott Bailey. Scott knows the key to success, and it’s not based on the money you make.  “It’s a weird thing,” he says.  “Right out of college, people think you need a job that really pays.”As a recent college graduate I certainly questioned this philosophy; isn’t a well-paying job the goal of a degree?  After sitting down to talk with Bailey, the Director of Partnerships at MassChallenge, it seems he had the right attitude as he set forth into the professional world.  Continue reading

Program Spotlight: Trekkers

AltruHelp Program Spotlight: TrekkersIt is well known that one of the greatest keys to success is positive mentorship. During our formative years, we find ourselves deeply influenced by the words and actions of our parents, teachers, community leaders and various others who touch our lives each day. Often though, it can be difficult for young people—especially during their early teen years—to place themselves in positions where great mentors are not only available but relying on positive influence and self-reflection is made the cornerstone of everyday life.

Trekkers, a non-profit based in Tenant’s Harbor, Maine, is an organization that brings the shaping of positive, altruistic personalities to the forefront of kids lives starting in the seventh grade. Continue reading

Cradles To Crayons: AltruHelp Visits the Giving Factory

This past Saturday morning, the AltruHelp team joined dozens of professional groups, families, and individuals at the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory in Brighton, MA.  This nonprofit organization works year-round to provide children up to twelve years old with many of the necessities we often take for granted, such as clean, presentable clothing; school supplies not typically provided in the classroom; new or gently used toys; and other goods that add to the key senses of happiness and security in a child’s life.

During our time at Cradles to Crayons, all volunteers split into small teams and worked together to build winter clothing packages for children in need.  The AltruHelp team Continue reading

Altruism in the wake of Irene

2

As Hurricane Irene tumbled through the East Coast this past weekend, leaving a trail of destruction, the team here at AltrUHelp has been inspired by the stories of Altruism and individuals going above and beyond to help others. Individuals traveled thousands of miles to give their time and energy for the benefit of others. Stories like the ones below are the motivation that team AltrUHelp uses to push forward in creating a social media platform to prove that individuals inspire the uninspired.

Red Cross volunteer travels from IL to Boston to help in Irene recovery (link)

Pat Johnson, a Red Cross volunteer, traveled from her home in Knoxville, IL to travel to Boston, MA to volunteer at a shelter for two weeks. Johnson has been an active volunteer ever since retiring in 2005, and says ““I just wanted to do something and have a sense of accomplishment. It’s been a very great experience for me. I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful people. I have some very good friends I’ve remained in contact with. I feel I’ve received more than I’ve given out.”

Search dogs part of Irene rescue team (link)

Search dogs came to the East Coast from Ohio to New York after training their whole lives to rescue trapped individuals. Continue reading

Lights, Cameras, ACTION: Celebs Taking Altruism to Heart

1

Writing checks, headlining the occasional soiree, a photo-op with some charity – These are the common images which come to mind when people think of celebrities and altruism.  With their otherworldly lives, good looks, and sheer fame, can we expect celebrities to empathize, to really get it, when all the rest has gotten to their heads?

Actually, there are many celebrities out there who do!!!  In fact, a roll call of A-listers are putting their energies and passion toward an amazing breadth of causes. For a dose of true celebrity star power, check out this brief list of celebs: Lady Gaga, Brad & Angelina, Mark Wahlberg, and Prince William & Princess Kate to see the dynamic work they are doing for causes they value.

Lady Gaga

Few celebrities combine fashionista, musical talent, global reach and Twitterati quite like Lady Gaga.  Just 25 years old, she’s already a 5-time Grammy award winner, the holder of two Guinness World Records, and She’s closing in on 10 million followers on Twitter @ladygaga – more than any other twitting being on Earth.  With every red carpet cameo, she upends the fashion world with her avant garde ensembles and slightly absurd sensibilities. Lady G is the quintessential 21st century celeb, and with that comes extraordinary altruistic clout!

Read More

Help Japanese Disaster Victims & The Brave Fukushima 50

Our hearts, minds and prayers are with everyone suffering from the Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami that struck this past Friday, March 11, 2011. The earthquake was one of the worst ever recorded, triggering a tsunami that wiped away entire towns and left massive devastation in its wake.

First, we want to highlight the individuals selflessly placing the interest of the Japanese nation before their own. The Fukushima 50 are the team of volunteers currently attempting to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. The team of 50, who have since been joined by 150 others, are sacrificing their health and safety for the greater good of society. Several members of the team are presumed dead, 15 are reported to be injured and others have said they believe the radiation may kill them as they battle to cool overheating nuclear reactors in Japan. Our prayers go out to the families of these brave individuals courageously working to repair the nuclear plant and inspiring altruism worldwide. Click here to learn more.

Secondly, we want to share a really helpful post from Rinth, a fellow WordPress blogger, that highlights how you can help organizations providing food, shelter and medical response to the victims in Japan.

As Rinth highlights, there are three things we should all try to do. Read More

Why People Do What They Do (via DIY Fitness) & Action Trumps Everything (via L. Schlesinger)

I recently read a blog post where Lyell of Do It Yourself Fitness highlighted the significance of “seeing people you’ve helped, help those around them…and seeing how all your hard work has a positive effect.”

Lyell’s post reinforces an important topic our team plans to explore: does seeing altruism make individuals more altruistic? Here at AltrUHelp, we feel that seeing is believing, because one altruistic action drives a chain of action. We believe that seeing altruism influences action and encourages others to pay it forward.We’ve all heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words,” but how many of us are bold enough to take that first step towards helping a random individual?

As Leonard Schlesinger, the president of my MBA program at Babson College, highlights in his new AWESOME book Action Trumps Everything, “The future may or may not be like the past, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering how the future will play out if you plan to shape it.” Take that first step as Lyell did below and start your own altruistic chain of action. If your not sure where to start but you know you want to help others, send me an email at Mathew@altruhelp.com and I’ll send you an exclusive invitation to join the Beta launch of AltrUHelp.com this Spring 2011. Join the world’s largest online altruistic social experiment to prove that humans naturally want to help others and be helped themselves because altruism is hardwired to the brain and fun!

Thanks Lyell for sharing this great story with us! We welcome everyone’s comments on this topic as we get closer to launching the AltrUHelp Social Experiment. Thanks for reading!

I was asked the other day, “Hey Lyell, how much money do you make with DIY Fitness?” I gave him a “You’re kidding, right?” laugh and then I noticed…..He was serious. When I explained to him that I make absolutely zero dollars, he gave me an equally sarcastic “You’re kidding me” chuckle. He couldn’t understand why someone would spend so much time helping others and gain nothing from it. What the gentleman didn’t understand was that not everythin … Read More

via DIY Fitness

Community Altruism (via AMY VAN ES)

2

Wonderful blog post by Amy Van ES exemplifying altruism exhibited within her community. The story illustrates how people in communities naturally come together to help each other! We will continue to spotlight these inspirational stories as we build our website and prepare for launching the AltrUHelp social experiment. Thank you Amy for sharing this beautiful blog post with us. See Amy’s story below:

As I sat in my car which was stuck atop a snow bank I thought I could get over; baby in the backseat crying; on the phone with my mom; utterly frustrated with myself for getting myself into this situation; a man approached me… Sensing my distress, he asked if he could help. I (obviously) was in no position to refuse help and say I could figure it out. He began to dig. It was about fifteen minutes later that he, too, admitted he couldn’t do it on … Read More

via AMY VAN ES