Is your organisation early on in building your corporate volunteering program?
While corporate volunteering programs can bring numerous benefits to the community, the employees, and the company, they can also pose certain challenges and difficulties in their organization. Some of these include:
Time constraints: Corporate volunteering programs often require significant time commitments from employees, which can be challenging to manage and coordinate with their regular work schedules.
Limited resources: Companies may have limited resources to support their volunteering programs, including funding, staff, and logistical support, which can hinder the success of the program.
Employee engagement: Encouraging employees to participate in volunteering programs can be difficult, particularly if they perceive it as an additional work obligation rather than a fulfilling experience.
Finding suitable opportunities: Identifying appropriate volunteer opportunities that align with the company’s values and goals can be challenging, especially if the company operates in a niche industry or location.
Measuring social return on investment: This can be challenging, especially if there are no clear metrics or benchmarks in place.
Kickstart your Corporate Volunteering Program
Listen to your employees about the causes they care about
One of the most important steps in building a successful corporate volunteering program is listening to your employees and understanding their interests and passions. By taking the time to understand what causes and issues are important to your employees, you can design a program that is more engaging, meaningful and rewarding for them.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Surveys and feedback: Conduct surveys and collect feedback from employees to understand their interests and preferences. This can be done through email surveys, suggestion boxes, or focus groups.
- Employee-led initiatives: Encourage employees to lead volunteering initiatives that align with their interests and passions. This can include identifying local charities or social causes that are important to them and organizing volunteer events around those causes.
- Employee resource groups: Create employee resource groups (ERGs) that focus on specific causes or issues, such as environmental sustainability, social justice, or animal welfare. These groups can help to mobilise employees around shared interests and passions.
- Collaborative decision-making: Involve employees in the decision-making process for selecting volunteer opportunities and designing the program. This can be done through brainstorming sessions, group discussions, or surveys.
Find opportunities that are flexible in commitment
Corporate volunteering programs have evolved over the years to include more flexible opportunities that can accommodate the changing needs of employees and the community. Some examples of flexible corporate volunteering opportunities include:
- Virtual volunteering: This involves volunteering online or remotely, allowing employees to participate in volunteer activities from anywhere, at any time. Virtual volunteering opportunities can include things like tutoring, mentorship, fundraising, or social media management.
- Project-based volunteering: This involves short-term, focused volunteer projects that can be completed in a few hours or days, rather than long-term commitments. Project-based volunteering can include things like community cleanups, building homes or shelters, or organizing charity events.
- Skills-based volunteering: This involves using specific skills and expertise to support a cause or organisation. Skills-based volunteering can include things like pro bono consulting, graphic design, web development, or legal services.
- Team volunteering: This involves volunteering as a team, where employees can build camaraderie and strengthen relationships while making a positive social impact. Team volunteering can include things like community service projects, fundraising events, or disaster relief efforts.
These opportunities can also help to attract and retain top talent, as employees increasingly look for companies that offer opportunities for personal and professional growth, as well as social impact.
Make strong community relationships
Building strong relationships with not-for-profit organisations is essential for the success of any corporate volunteering program. This can lead to more meaningful and impactful volunteer experiences for employees, as well as greater support and visibility for the not-for-profit organisation.
Here are some ways that corporates can build strong relationships with not-for-profit organisations:
- Identify shared values: Look for not-for-profits that align with your company’s mission and values. This can create a strong foundation for building a long-term relationship based on shared goals and interests.
- Understand their needs: Take the time to understand the not-for-profit’s goals, challenges, and needs. This can help to build a more collaborative and supportive relationship, where both parties can work together to achieve common goals.
- Offer support beyond volunteering: Consider ways to support not-for-profit organisations beyond volunteering. This can include things like providing pro bono services, fundraising support, or in-kind donations.
Gain executive & middle management buy-in
Getting buy-in from leadership is critical for the success of a corporate volunteering program. Without the support of senior leaders, it can be difficult to secure funding, resources, and time for the program. Additionally, leadership support can help to create a culture of volunteerism within the company, where volunteering is seen as a core part of the company’s values and mission.
Here are some ways to get buy-in from leadership for your corporate volunteering program:
- Make a strong business case: This can include things like increased employee engagement, improved morale, and a positive brand image.
- Start small: Starting with a small pilot program can help to build momentum and demonstrate the value of the program to leadership. This can help to secure more resources and support over time.
- Engage leadership in the planning process: This can include things like involving them in program design, seeking their input on volunteering opportunities, and regularly updating them on program progress.
Spotlight your volunteer stories
When employees hear about the positive impact that volunteering can have, they are more likely to want to get involved themselves. Especially when this recognition can support their career progression within the organisation and establish their influence as a cultural influencer.
Here are some ways you can get the message across:
- Share stories internally: Corporates can share employee volunteering stories on their company intranet, in company newsletters, or at company meetings. This helps to build a culture of volunteering within the company and can inspire other employees to get involved.
- Create a social media campaign: Companies can create a social media campaign around employee volunteering stories, using hashtags to promote the campaign and encourage employees to share their own stories. This can help to reach a wider audience and engage employees who may not be as connected to the company intranet or newsletters.
- Host volunteer spotlight events: Companies can host volunteer spotlight events where employees who have volunteered can share their stories with other employees. This can help build awareness and interest in their volunteering program and inspire more employees to get involved.
In February 2023, Communiteer’s team practiced what we preach with Cleaning Up Australia’s DIY group clean up kit. See how we told our volunteering story below as an example!
Start your Corporate Volunteering Program with Communiteer!
Our corporate volunteering programs combine learning, engagement and team building to mobilise employees towards social impact.
Whether you’re looking for volunteering events, longer term campaigns and culture-shifting programs, we work with you to find the right solution for your organisation and employees.
We also offer training and support for corporates to help them build their volunteering program, and provide tools to help manage and track employee experience and engagement. Including our corporate volunteering platform focused on skills-based and event volunteering that tracks every contribution employees make to the community.
Contact us below to learn more about our services!