At Yelp, we are always looking for new ways to serve our communities across America. From supporting local business owners with free Yelp tools to employee groups that give back through service projects and the Yelp Foundation’s nonprofit grant program, Yelp actively works to better the community.
That’s why we were thrilled to be honored for our philanthropic efforts by the San Francisco Business Times and thought it would be a good time to speak with a leader of the YelpCares employee volunteer group to hear how she gives back locally.
Employees at Yelp have the opportunity to join YelpCares, an employee volunteering group with active participants at many of our offices.I chatted with Yelp Local Sales Manager Amy Bothman to get some insight on the work she is doing as the co-head of YelpCares in our Phoenix office. With 215 members, Amy and her co-head, Lisa Wayland, coordinate groups of 10-30 for various service projects with several organizations YelpCares has developed relationships with.
When did you first get involved with YelpCares? How does it work?
Lisa and I started working with YelpCares in November 2015. The first year we tried to do one local event with a different organization per month. Now, we pick one of four main organizations who we contribute to every quarter. The overall goal is to build strong partnerships with organizations in the Valley so they know they can count on us to send out a group and get people to show up. This is why we continuously volunteer with a select few to really foster a strong relationship with Yelp.
We want volunteering to be part of the Phoenix office culture. There are so many new hires every month who also care about giving back, and we want to include every employee! Yelp Cares PHX is slowly growing in size, but we are trying to grow more rapidly.
Does the Phoenix office have a favorite local organization?
People love when we do service through PlayWorks. It’s fun because it’s an organization that gets volunteers together to rehab playgrounds at less funded elementary schools in the Valley. How we got involved with them is really cool, too. PlayWorks was a Yelp Foundation grant winner, and after they were awarded the grant they reached out to Yelp and told us they love large volunteer groups. We’ve been serving with them ever since!
We volunteered with Ronald McDonald House last month. We have a group who go grocery shopping and then we show up and cook a meal for the families there. We also work with Ballet Arizona and ICM Food and Clothing Bank.
Do you have a favorite memory from a YelpCares volunteer experience?
One of my favorite events was ICM Food and Clothing Bank because we did an interoffice food and clothing drive where we encouraged employees across the whole office to bring in canned foods and clothes throughout the week. On Saturday we arrived at the drive and handed out all the things we collected to people in need.
Measuring the impact of the donations we were making and seeing how much things meant to everyone there was incredible. We had guys asking, “Do you have a suit jacket in this size because I have a job interview,” and it made me realize the impact we were having on this community. It was really special. Moments like that remind me to be grateful. It’s what really inspired me to make YelpCares more consistent so more people could experience something similar to what I did.
What makes YelpCares special?
My favorite part of being involved with YelpCares is meeting employees throughout the office that share a mutual connection through a love of service. It’s cool to find commonalities through the workplace that aren’t necessarily career related.
I definitely felt more connected to Phoenix through volunteering with the community. Giving back brings me happiness and having a platform where other people can give back is why we started it.
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