Steal This Idea: DTE Energy Adds a New Spark to its Volunteer Program

    1Lots of companies have volunteer programs – large and small. What is truly inspirational is when a business with a successful program take a hard look at what’s in place and decides to enhance it for the betterment of its employees and the communities they serve.

    That is why it is exciting to see Detroit-based DTE Energy. Recently, DTE Energy boosting its volunteer program in a way that has real potential to help the city and areas across the states in ways that are both large and small.

    Every person via this super-sized #DTECares effort will be empowered to take what matters to them most and get it on the company’s radar, to get it some funding and to get it noticed for making real change within the city’s 140 square miles.

    The program is called “DTE Energy Care Force.” Along with its spunky new logo, the company and the DTE Foundation are retooling its longtime volunteer efforts. The goal is to increase support for the causes employees care about. Employees will have additional help in the process via an enhanced website, a mobile site, lots of communication and a healthy dose of enthusiasm from everyone in the company from the people who repair the lines to the head honchos.

    4 Paul EngstromOver the past decades, DTE has offered an estimated 2,000 volunteer opportunities and supported more than 200 nonprofits annually throughout Michigan. This enhanced program seeks to grow those opportunities, company officials explained this week during a company rally to introduce the program.

    “Our success in volunteering begins and ends with you,” Mark Stiers, president and COO of DTE Gas, told the more than 100-plus company employees who had gathered for a lunchtime event hosted by television personality Roop Raj Thursday at the company’s Detroit headquarters.

    Stiers, who is known as the company’s “executive champion” when it comes to volunteering, said he loves to see people follow their passions in terms of what volunteer opportunities they find. He said DTE wants to boost that engagement in Detroit and to give those go-getters the support they need mentally, physically and financially, to follow through on their efforts.

    “It’s about accelerating our volunteer efforts,” Stiers said afterward. “We want to keep going with our current efforts but also come up with new ones. It’s great from a company perspective.”

    3So longtime partners like the American Red Cross and Meals on Wheels will still feel the DTE love. But now, it will be easier for people to get the spotlight on new causes, to gain attention for their favorite charities.

    Most importantly, DTE is rolling out an aspect that will allow non-profit organization to reach out to its massive workforce to get specific help in lots of areas. Need help with accounting at your startup charity? DTE has someone in its finance department that likely could lend a calculator to your cause. Need an answer to a tricky HR question? Yup, someone from DTE has seen that one before and could suggest a solution your 501(c)3 might try. They call it “skill-based volunteer opportunities.”

    “Our goal is to bring greater visibility to the causes employees care about and shed light on the impact DTE Energy and employees have in the communities where we live and serve,” said DTE Communications Specialist Annie O’Dell. “Employee and community engagement are the key drivers of this program.”