A New Companis Decade Dawns

Dec 20, 2023

We’re excited to welcome 2024 because Companis will be 30 years old in March!  Reaching that milestone offers a chance to reflect on where we’ve been, and where we’re headed.

Since our founding in 1994, Companis has made more than 1,350 placements of volunteer professionals. In that time, Companis Workers have served 216 area nonprofits with compassion, intellect and kindness. Their collective actions have helped the nonprofits they’ve served to grow, bridge staffing shortages, and meet their important missions that make our community healthier and stronger.

As part of that same analysis, we looked at where we’ve been the past five years, prior to and inclusive of the Covid pandemic. Since 2019, 340 Worker placements have served 112 nonprofits. During this time we intentionally expanded our work to Snohomish County, and this year we are serving 20 nonprofits there as our reach continues to grow.

As you can glean from these figures, these recent years have seen demand for our services – and connections with dozens of new agencies – balloon. We’re thrilled. We exist to match people of heart with volunteer opportunities that are fulfilling and meaningful so our nonprofit partners can better deliver their vital human service programs. And over the past five years, Companis Worker placements have provided an estimated $6- to $7-million dollars in services rendered. That’s money our partners save, and what supported volunteerism, as Companis offers, does for our greater community.

The Challenge and an Answer

You may have heard about a recent study showing volunteerism in the U.S. is down. It’s not because of Covid. In fact, volunteer rates across the country have been declining since the early 2000s. That made the pandemic even tougher for nonprofits that rely on volunteer support. As heard in this recent NPR report, Professor Nathan Dietz’ research at the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute shows there’s a tried and true way to set up volunteers for success.

“I think if you give the volunteers a meaningful experience and show them that the work they’re doing really is important to the organization, really does help meet the needs of people in the community…give them a volunteer experience that is well-organized, well-conceived, well-designed and well-managed, then people will want to come back,” says Dietz. And to his point, we say, right on! This is how our program works.

The result is a 96% retention rate among Companis Workers this year. Over the past five years, retention is between 92% and 98%. Compare that with a national retention rate of 65%, and you’ll understand why supported volunteers reap the ultimate reward: the gift that service to others brings back to them. For a current example, check out the story in this newsletter about Companis Worker Elliott Joo. He helps prepare meals for people experiencing food insecurity in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood as a way to connect with others during a time of increased societal isolation. “It’s just good to get out of my comfort zone and get out of my bubble,” Elliott shares with a smile. He is one of 74 Companis Worker placements spread across King and Snohomish counties this year.

Looking ahead to a Presidential election year that promises heated rhetoric and political divisions exploited and laid bare, there’s a desire to “take cover.” Please don’t. The time is right for community service, perhaps now more than ever. We need to know one another to build bonds and common ties that nurture civility and progress in addressing community challenges. And it starts with simply saying to us, “I’m interested in volunteering.” We’ll guide you from there to an opportunity right for you.

To our advocates and donors, our staff and board, I thank you for ensuring we close our third decade with the strength and optimism that informs how we greet this new year, the celebration of 30 years of Companis. You’ll be hearing more about our milestone anniversary in the months ahead. As the darkest day of the year sunsets, we see bright opportunities dawning. Happy Holidays, and a happy New Year to all.



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