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Developing your corporate volunteer program

Corporate volunteering programs have become more in vogue. Companies are learning how corporate social responsibility affects both their office culture and bottom line.

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The “whys” behind corporate volunteer programs

Anyone who loves a good pros/cons list can also appreciate a valid set of reasons for implementing anything into their business model. A report from Cone Communications says, “74% [of employees] say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact at work.” And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Every company wants to have a positive company culture. Things like open office plans and meetings can lead to camaraderie, however, volunteering together takes your team dynamic to another level. According to optimy.com, the five main benefits of corporate volunteering programs are improved employee engagement, improved corporate visibility, employee recruitment, skill development, and employee retention. What does that mean for you?

A study by the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) reports that 78% of employees, both volunteers and non-volunteers, say it is important to them to work for a “socially responsible” company. When you engage your employees in volunteerism, they bond as a team while creating an impact in the community. People who may not ordinarily connect in the workplace may forge new friendships when volunteering together. The same MGSM study states, “Employees who volunteer through the workplace had higher organizational commitment and job satisfaction than those who had not volunteered.”

corporate volunteer initiatives

Companies with corporate volunteer programs stand a chance to have better visibility to the public.

Online reputation management is not the only thing companies need to consider. The day-to-day word-of-mouth shared by the public is framed by how the community perceives a company. When companies dedicate time to giving back to the communities they are in, the public takes note.

According to Forbes, a Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that 66% of consumers will choose to spend more of their money on products from sustainable brands.

A 2018 Pew Research Center article reported that, at the time, more than one-third of the American labor force was millennials. Since then, that number has only grown. How does this apply to corporate social responsibility?

  • The 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study discovered that 64% of millennials polled will decline a job if the company lacks strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values.
  • Don’t forget about Gen-Z. A WeSpire report found that Gen-Zers “need to see a connection between what they are doing and broader social impact.” This is proof that the younger and more socially conscious generations making up the workforce value the impact they make with their company over salary. As more Gen-Zers join millennials in the workplace, companies that forgo CSR of any kind risk losing candidates during the recruitment process.

Corporate volunteer programs are a good way to help employees develop, or advance, skills that they can utilize at their job. By participating in skills-based volunteering, employees have the opportunity to share and hone their skill set, which can make them more effective employees. Skills-based volunteering can also help employees develop better leadership, communication, and time management skills.

Having a company-wide volunteer program in place leads to increased employee retention. The MGSM study mentioned above found that employees who volunteered through the workplace were more likely to remain committed to the company. Workplace volunteers were also more satisfied in general with their jobs than non-volunteers, according to the MGSM study.

The VMLY&R Foundation is a prime example of corporate volunteering programs done right. This employee-funded nonprofit provides volunteer service, pro bono work, community leadership roles, and financial contributions to employee communities. Are you ready to get your volunteer program in place?

Plan your corporate volunteer program

Once you understand all the benefits of implementing a corporate volunteer program, you can set your planning process in motion. Read on to see how to create committees, incorporate incentives, and compose community opportunities.

The first step to planning your company’s volunteer program is establishing your advisory committee. This committee will lay the groundwork for the mission of your corporate volunteering and operate your program moving forward. It is important to define the roles and responsibilities of this committee early so that everyone understands who does what from the start of your endeavor. Having roles and responsibilities in place helps create clear lines of communication throughout your program.

Next, establish participation incentives. These incentives can range from company gift-matching to peer-to-peer points. When your company matches employee donations, you can amplify their overall gift to another nonprofit. Incentives such as peer-to-peer points can be redeemed for tangible items like gift cards or company-branded swag.

It is key to find diverse community-serving opportunities for your team to participate in. Sourcing a wide array of community projects will lead to your team making a bigger community impact. However, finding these projects can seem intimidating with all of the projects that are available to join. Keeping in mind that people only have so much bandwidth, VOMO developed Virtual Volunteer Coordinators to make the process of corporate volunteering as stress-free as possible. Having someone who can find service projects for you allows you to focus on showing up and making an impact with your team.

With incentives established and serving opportunities found, it is time to make sure you have systems in place to track employee volunteer hours and your corporate impact. While tracking volunteer hours will help you know when to dole out those incentives, it serves a bigger purpose. When you are able to streamline your process for tracking volunteer hours, you can utilize those numbers for community impact reports. There are also solutions available that convert volunteer hours to volunteer economic impacts. Along with economic impact reports, digital tools can help you keep track of volunteer demographics, recurring volunteers, and first-time volunteers. These reports are great for keeping boards and executives up to date on the progress your employee volunteer program is making.

Spread the news

Grow your online presence by sharing your business’s volunteer program and encouraging employee volunteers to do the same.

corporate volunteer social posts

If a person volunteers and no one shares a picture on social media, did it happen? The answer, of course, is ‘yes.’ However, we live in a digital age where the quickest way to share your impact in through social media platforms. Encourage employees to share pictures from their serving events to social media and to leave reviews of their time with your corporate volunteering program on Glassdoor. These free insights will show individuals outside of your company the good you put back into your community.

It is also important to post about your impact across your company’s social presence and well as on your website. You can re-share posts from employee volunteers, or have your marketing team create company posts. As for your website, create a landing page for your corporate volunteer program to feature the mission of your program. Here you can showcase event photos, impact reports, and the missions you support. You can also write blogs that feature your employee volunteers and recap volunteer experiences.

Implementing a corporate volunteer program can benefit your business and overall reputation. Take action today and start making an impact in your community.

Ready to talk volunteering as a corporate team? Our experts want to talk with you. Reach out today.