Passionate Work

by Kristen  Merrifield

As we are just coming off one of the most generous and philanthropic seasons of the year, and with a brand new year at our fingertips, now is an important time to consider how we will continue to support our communities in the coming year. As business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs, you have an important opportunity to engage in and support the nonprofit sector as we work together to make Arizona a place we are all proud to call home.

The business (or for-profit) community is a critical and valued partner in the important work nonprofit organizations across the state are doing to support our communities and the causes and people we care most about. We rely on our business colleagues to support our missions in a variety of ways: as board or committee members, through employee volunteerism, sponsorship, partnership, in-kind services and the list goes on. 

As you think about your strategic plan for the coming year, what your priorities will be, and how you will engage your employees and teams, we encourage you to include philanthropy, volunteerism and partnership with the nonprofit sector. But we aren’t only considering the community impact or our own needs when suggesting these activities. Ryan Scott, in an article for, said, “A culture of giving back is not only one of the most inspiring ways to engage employees, it also offers something even better than engagement: worker passion. When you build a culture of giving back, especially when you lay out an ambitious agenda for impact, you set the stage for a purpose-filled environment that inspires passion.”

According to Deloitte’s “2017 Volunteerism Survey”, nearly 9 out of 10 (89 percent) working Americans believe companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those that do not. In fact, 70 percent of respondents say that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours, and 77 percent say that “volunteering is essential to employee well-being.”

Deloitte leader John Hagel goes on to say that sustained increased performance improvement comes from a worker who is passionate about what he does. Hagel lays out employee passion as embodying these principles:

  • A long-term commitment to achieving an increasing impact in a domain
  • A questing disposition that creates excitement when confronted with an unexpected challenge
  • A connecting disposition that motivates the individual to systematically seek out others who can help them to get to a better answer faster when confronted with an unexpected challenge

One option is to consider engaging your employees in Arizona Gives Day, coming up again on April 2, 2019. This year, we are rolling out employee giving landing pages you can set up with just a few clicks. You can even engage in a little friendly competition with other local companies, and maybe even win some prize money for your favorite nonprofit. You can check out more details at

Whatever you choose, we applaud you for being that company that everyone loves working for — engaged, passionate and supportive of the world around you. 

Kristen  Merrifield, CAE, CNAP
Chief Executive Officer
Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

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