When I joined the dymaptic team, I was glad to see that Volunteer Time Off was included in our company's time off policies – up to two days off per calendar year for employees to use to volunteer for an organization of their choice. As an individual at a new job, I was happy I could use some time to support the Chrysalis Foundation, a non-profit that works to increase resources and opportunities for women and girls in Des Moines. For the company, the research on this type of benefit is clear. The Harvard Business Review has reported that employee volunteer programs “boost productivity, increase employee engagement, and improve hiring and retention.”
Why does this work? In general, volunteering has been shown to improve people’s health, well-being, and sense of purpose. Also, people tend to encounter the same situations in volunteer roles that they see in the workplace – the need to collaborate, the need to communicate clearly, and the need to create and execute a plan, to name a few. Volunteering can be an outlet where a person develops skills that will serve them well in their workplace. Volunteer time is also an important aspect of company culture; according to the Society for Human Resource Management, workers are increasingly interested in seeing their employer’s commitment to social responsibility.
With all that in mind, we have been reflecting on the role of volunteerism and social responsibility at dymaptic. As a company, social responsibility has been part of our ethos since the beginning. We are proud to count several nonprofits among our clients, including EarthDay.Org, EarthAdvantage, and Direct Relief. We have been awarded the Nonprofit Specialty by Esri, based on our ability to serve these clients. In 2023, dymaptic was awarded the GIS for Good Award from Esri, for “compelling use of Esri technology to make an impact on current issues around the world.”
To further dive into the question of volunteerism and our company culture, I recently asked some of our team members to share their experiences on volunteering, both on their company volunteer hours as well as on their own time. The responses were across the map – professional organizations, school-related activities, arts & culture events, and community-serving programs.
CEO Mara Stoica uses her professional skills to volunteer as a mentor for Women in GIS, helping women get into the field or move up in their careers. She also fosters cats and kittens for the Oregon Human Society – with the added perk of regularly showing up on video calls with cute animals! Lead GIS Developer Jessica Lott also volunteers for a professional organization, assisting with communications and events for the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals. You can also find her contributing to various community organizations in Paducah, Kentucky, including the Lower Town Arts and Music Festival, and the Throw Pink Charity Disc Golf tournament. Over in Nebraska, Opportunity Analyst John Watermolen spends his volunteer time supporting his son’s Speech and Debate Team, jumping in to help with concession stands, garage sales, or other fundraising needs. Graphic Designer Chantelle Campbell shared that she contributes at this time of year by participating in Operation Christmas Child, which sends gifts to children in need around the world. The entire dymaptic team also took time together, on our monthly company social in September, to participate in the Women Who Code To The Finish Line, walking and fundraising to empower women in tech.
This wide array of volunteer activities that team members participate in makes a strong statement about who dymaptic is – a company that cares about our impact. We demonstrate that through our work, in building GIS solutions for governments, businesses, and nonprofits. We also have an impact individually, and as a team, by showing up and caring about the places around us. As GIS experts, you could even say that dymaptic is committed to doing a world of good.