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Chamber Membership and Volunteerism Within the DSM Community

Volunteerism and Chamber Membership

April 25, 2024

The Greater Des Moines Partnership completed a Volunteerism Study last year to help determine what prompts Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents to volunteer their time, talent or financial support as well as what their perceptions are when it comes to the return on investment of a Chamber membership.

The study targeted 11 DSM counties including Adair, Dallas, Guthrie, Jasper, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek and Warren. Over X individuals participated and could be either non-members or members of The Partnership or Affiliate Chambers.

Survey Findings

About 30 – 35% of survey respondents did not understand or have an awareness of a Chamber’s mission or purpose within the community. This leads to how local Chambers can increase their visibility, collaborate more and encourage community volunteerism. Chambers have historically promoted and served businesses while focusing on bettering the entire community, which requires volunteers and giving back. So, what inspires volunteerism, and how can we rally residents to give their time and donations for civic projects and organizations?

The survey found that the primary motivators for volunteering are that individuals can give back and be helpful and that they have a passion for the cause or issue they are volunteering for within the community. One participant said this about volunteering in DSM:

“I appreciate the opportunity to volunteer and have had wonderful experiences. I love being part of festivals and giving back to good causes. Always interested in new opportunities.”

The survey found that there is an opportunity to increase outreach from community organizations to support more volunteer awareness, too. This can be done through referrals by current volunteers and social media. For current volunteers, key changes can help organizations keep volunteers by decreasing frustrations surrounding many volunteer opportunities. This includes revamping and streamlining communication, training volunteer coordinators, outlining clear expectations for those giving of their time by training them better and finally, offering opportunities for all types of abilities.

Mix of Volunteer Types

Our local employers are key to enabling employees when it comes to volunteering within the community. As an employer, you can increase access to opportunities when it comes to your employees by encouraging volunteerism outside of your workplace, providing activities while at work and allowing employees to use PTO to volunteer, too.

Encourage Volunteerism

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the fourth largest largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, find out about Partnership Member benefits, browse the Membership directory and find Chamber events across the region.

Improving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) community through volunteering and community service is a priority for many. Thanks to community engagement opportunities and leadership connecting local businesses to causes that provide services to improve the region, DSM continues to be a place that provides support for those who live, work and play here.

Jenae Sikkink

Jenae Sikkink is the Senior Vice President of Talent Development and Inclusive Strategies at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.