“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” - Elizabeth Andrew
In the chaotic business world, there are precious few moments to spend on things other than work – but organizations that give back tend to find it’s more than worth the effort. 71 percent of employees who volunteer through work report feeling better about their employer.
Whether you organize a single-day employee volunteering opportunity or develop a long-standing relationship with a nonprofit, the knowledge that you’re making a difference creates satisfying bonds within your organization. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Work to identify a cause that employees are passionate about. Reach out to employees to gauge interest, and discuss which issues are important to them and their coworkers. Larger organizations can send a pulse survey to gather and understand charitable interests and motivations. If you’re struggling to find the right match, there are organizations that help companies find and pair up with the right cause.
Once you identify a cause, give employees time to make a difference. Consider allowing time off for opportunities like these:
Although it’s great to work as a group, employee volunteering doesn’t have to be a team effort. Sometimes an employee has a cause they’re particularly passionate about, or one that requires travel or time commitments not possible for their coworkers. Organizations that offer paid time off to volunteer allow employees to contribute to causes that matter most to them.
Natural disasters create urgent community needs. Make an effort to quickly respond as a company when clean-up is needed following a tornado, hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. Your resources may provide you a unique ability to respond in a meaningful way.
Organizing off-site events can present difficulties, such as transportation and time constraints. But you don’t have to leave the office to make a difference. Host a drive for needed items such as food, clothing, books, or shoes. Start or contribute to a meal train to provide nourishment for new parents or people dealing with illnesses and injuries. Design cards for veterans or holiday messages for those in a local hospital or nursing home. These on-campus opportunities are simple to set up, easy to join, and are highly visible to employees.
Rather than donating time or money, employees can offer expertise through online platforms such as GlobalGivingTime and Catchafire. There are causes that need website design, social media copy, content writing, research and analysis, and much more. Employees are able to lend their specific skills in small time chunks at their convenience.
When employees know their contributions will be matched, they A) are more likely to donate, knowing their dollar stretches further, and B) feel their organization values the same things they do. The 2015 Millennial Impact Report found that 69 percent of millennials are more likely to give if they know their efforts will be matched.
It may seem arrogant to publicize your charitable contributions, and it certainly can be if you overdo it. But you also don’t want to hide your work from the world. Document employee volunteering events, in-office contests, and local work on social media and your website. This not only creates goodwill outside the office, but it showcases your effort to employees, who feel proud of their workplace and may be more willing to contribute when the next charitable opportunity arises.
Looking for more ways to increase employee engagement? Download our free ebook, 200 Employee Engagement Ideas for HR and Managers.