A successful corporate volunteering strategy can be a great way for companies to give back to their communities and make a positive impact on society. By encouraging employees to volunteer their time and skills, companies can foster a sense of community and social responsibility, while also boosting employee engagement and satisfaction.
Communiteer is proud to present ways organisations can improve their corporate volunteering strategy from those that have created successful programs, lifted employee engagement levels and scaled social impact as part of our Leaders in Corporate Volunteering series.
In our second event, we had the privilege to feature Louise Dean, Global Sales Strategy & Enablement at Dell Technologies (Social Impact). Louise is the Environmental Social Governance Lead for Asia Pacific. She is a passionate protector of our beautiful planet for today’s and tomorrow’s generation.
I especially love working for Dell Technologies, who put sustainability first, whilst designing award-winning products and packaging solutions. Dell’s inspiring vision for 2030 #ProgressMadeReal promotes the advancement of the circular economy. I am proud to be a Dell CSR Ambassador, helping global enterprise customers to sustainably transform, scale and thrive.
Here are 8 ways to improve your corporate volunteering strategy
1. Social impact is no longer just a good thing to do
Social impact is being demanded by the industry and by investors. That’s why something like ESG investing is being talked about so much right now. Louise even believes that if the 2020 buzzwords were sustainability and climate change, the 2021 buzzwords are ESG investing and biodiversity loss. If everyone is demanding social impact, you need to have a solid program delivering that.
Businesses must also communicate their social impact to the world. This can be done through various channels, such as social media, advertising, public relations, and marketing campaigns about their corporate volunteering strategy.
By telling the world about their social impact, businesses can not only build brand loyalty and attract customers but also inspire others to make a positive difference in their own communities. Additionally, communicating their social impact can help businesses stay accountable and continue to improve their corporate volunteering strategy.
2. People want to work for companies with a purpose
Businesses that make a social impact can also attract and retain top talent who are looking for companies that are purpose-driven and have a positive impact on society.
This is especially the case with younger employees. It’s no longer just about the paycheck for them, they want to be associated with the right company that shares their goals.
Regularly communicate the company’s social impact initiatives and progress to employees through company-wide emails, newsletters, or internal social media channels. You can also invite guest speakers who have experience in social responsibility or community impact to speak at employee events or training sessions.
In a more official capacity, publish an annual social responsibility report that highlights the company’s social impact achievements, corporate volunteering strategy and goals, and make it available to all employees.
You need to drive awareness first if you want your employees to volunteer. At Dell Technologies, this translates to regular emails detailing all the volunteering events that are happening. Every quarter they also get everyone in the company on a call to share their Progress Made Real volunteering opportunities.
3. Set specific goals and measurements
Setting goals and measurements can help a company communicate the impact of its volunteering program to its stakeholders, including employees, customers, and shareholders. This can build trust and credibility with these stakeholders, and help to demonstrate the company’s commitment to social responsibility and community engagement.
Dell has some very specific goals and measurements, and they’re tracking them every quarter, every year, for every milestone. That’s because they believe it’s essential to:
- Call out the goals
- Measure those goals
Louise strongly believes that “what gets measured gets done”, so it’s worth taking time to come up with very specific goals and measurements for your corporate volunteering strategy.
This could be anything from providing a certain number of volunteer hours, to a specific cause, to achieving a measurable outcome such as reducing waste in the community or improving the education of local youth. By setting these goals, a company can ensure that its volunteering efforts are aligned with its overall mission and values.
4. Conversations around change have to come from the top
Before implementing a corporate volunteering strategy, it’s important to secure buy-in from top leadership. Executives should understand how volunteering can help the company achieve its business goals, and how it can contribute to the company’s overall mission and values.
While you want your employees to volunteer, it’s ultimately up to the leaders to advocate for that change, so ultimately it’s top-down driven. In fact, at Dell Technologies, every leader is told it is their job to integrate social impact into everyday conversations, not just those in the Corporate Services Team or Social Impact Group. How are you going to mobilise your leaders to drive that social impact and achieve your corporate volunteering strategy?
When executives and leaders actively participate in volunteering efforts, it sends a message that volunteering is important to the company and that everyone should be involved. This can inspire and motivate employees to participate in corporate volunteering activities as well.
5. Corporate volunteering ideas don’t have to be physical
There are so many options to volunteer and some of the ways don’t have to require going to a physical event. Louise makes the example of donating clothes and books, as well as recycling, all of which are still counted as volunteering hours.
Of course, the virtual corporate volunteering strategy was popular during COVID-19, and it’s here to stay. Louise speaks of an example at Dell Technologies, called Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, where only 15 minutes is needed to contribute to science – all from the comfort of employees’ own homes!
6. Think global, act local
As Dell Technologies is an international company, they know all too well that whenever there is a new social impact program, the first question is always: “What does it mean to us locally here?”
To answer this question, Louise reminds us of the “glocal” concept. You have to think globally and act in line with your global strategy, but you have to act locally. There must be a local task force to come up with the goals and steer the local company towards them. Including specific targets that are locally relevant and specific local charities to partner with.
7. Promote the joys of giving
Louise’s tip is to concentrate on promoting the positive feelings of volunteering as an integral part of the communication plan within the corporate volunteering strategy. Often, we hear about the cause to try and tap into people’s emotions. At the end of the day, it has to be enjoyable for people to spend time doing it. Finding out what they enjoy is just as important as finding out about the causes they care about!
Companies should share success stories of employees who have participated in the corporate volunteering strategy and activities. This can inspire and motivate others to get involved and can highlight the impact that volunteering can have on individuals and communities. Also making it a fun and enjoyable experience, such as team-building activities or social events.
8. Promote the career benefits of volunteering
Louise finds that those who engage and take action are the ones whose careers are fast-tracked. She strongly believes she was promoted to her current position because of all the volunteering committees and opportunities she was involved in!
So, the next time you’re trying to get your new employees or graduates to join volunteering activities, concentrate on building a corporate volunteering strategy that promotes direct career benefits. Such as recognition, rewards and incentives, learning and development opportunities or external community engagements. Integrating career progression into corporate volunteering strategy is a key component for some of the most successful programs within Australia.
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Whatever corporate volunteering ideas you choose, it’s important to make sure that your efforts are well-organised, well-communicated, and aligned with your company’s values and mission. By making a difference in your community, you can not only help those in need but also strengthen your company’s reputation and employee engagement. So why not start planning your next corporate volunteering project today?