Employee volunteering programs have proven to be highly beneficial for both sides – the company and the employees. When your team volunteers, this can improve the workplace morale, their mood, and health, as well as your retention rate.
Over the past couple of years, the volunteering business initiative in corporations has started to see more interest. Even though employees are not legally obliged to volunteer – and companies are not obliged to invest in such programs, more and more decide to do this every day.
The 2019 Employee Benefits Survey has reported that 25% of companies have already introduced some form of corporate volunteering for their employees.
Why are Corporate Volunteering Programs Important?
Statistics point out that people are more likely to join your team if you offer them a position in a socially responsible company. According to Charities, 79% of job seekers will pick your company because of this.
This means that you get better odds at attracting the best talent, which is an amazing reason on its own. But, the benefits don’t stop here. In addition to helping businesses attract more talent, volunteering opportunities also:
- Improve the corporate brand image on all levels
- Gives employees more team-building opportunities
- Boosts the employee morale and company loyalty
- Supports relations with key stakeholders
- Makes the brand a role model in the community
Most still view this as an expensive, unnecessary investment. On the contrary, volunteering programs are not only highly beneficial, but they don’t cost too much either. RealizedWorth calculated an average of $179 per employee per year if you implement this plan, compared to regular skills-based training that goes over a thousand.
How to implement corporate volunteering properly
If you are ready to turn this beneficial and rewarding opportunity into reality for your business, here are a few steps that you should be considering.
1. Use the right tools
Unless you’ve done tons of these in the past, chances are you won’t know how to create a corporate volunteering plan. Since this equals an investment of money and time, it’s important to do it right. Only a good plan can result in successful volunteering programs.
Even if you have a good plan in place, managing the program can be a big challenge. How much do you think you’ll achieve with manually filled spreadsheets and tracked processes? Volunteer programs require reporting, payroll deductions, calculations, and more. It can be impossible to handle so many things without making errors – and bad ones.
Luckily, tools like AlayaGood are created precisely for that – to make corporate volunteering as successful for your brand as it can possibly be. This brand is an excellent source for boosting the purpose-driven culture in the workplace and making meaningful impacts in the community. Through a simple and engaging technology platform, businesses can now do good and get accurate measurements for their success.
2. Investigate your company’s needs
Before you start introducing volunteering opportunities to your team, make sure that you choose the right ones. You shouldn’t invest in or bother your team with irrelevant opportunities that don’t meet your company’s or their needs.
There are plenty of volunteering programs these days, making your choices vast. Base your decision on the needs of the community and the interest of your team. Doing this will ensure that more people will join the initiative.
Businesses need to consider many things before they get started. First, there’s the name of the program – what will it be? Make sure to find a name that contains your brand’s name, but can also be easily identified as what it is – a volunteer outreach.
Next, decide on the input of your employees. They need to have some impact on how this goes, so consider who makes the key decisions and whether or not you’ll have a board of directors.
And of course, decide whether or not this will be a paid or unpaid opportunity. This isn’t necessarily an unpaid opportunity and if it is, make sure that people get something out of it if they join. The incentive should be big if you need them to volunteer for free.
When deciding on all this, you might want to give employees a say. This is the best way to determine their needs and expectations, as well as build a connection with them from the start. People should learn as much as they can about the opportunity at the early planning stages.
Look at this as a test trial, a chance to survey your team about their interests and see if your idea will become a success. You can compile a list based on their responses, learn if they are willing to donate their time for the cause, and make the necessary changes before you get started.
3. Add benefits to it
Employees won’t jump at the chance to volunteer regardless of what it is for. They’ll want to know who they are helping, what cause they are following, and why they are spending their time doing so. Understandably so, you’ll get many questions about this opportunity, so you better have answers for them. After all, people will take time out of their schedules to do this, so they definitely deserve it.
Ideally, you should give them paid volunteering days off, but this is not an option for many businesses. The workload will keep piling up and the expenses will be huge.
If this is not an option for you, that doesn’t mean that you can’t provide them with other benefits to entice them to join. You should consider things like in-house fundraising, extended lunches, skill-sharing programs, etc.
Yes, this will boost their morale and give them personal satisfaction, but very often, people will need a bit more to get interested in your program.
4. Document the progress
Things like the associated salaries and costs, the number of people who sign up for the program, and length are easy to figure out. These will fit right into your plan almost instantly. However, finding the actual dollar benefits can take some time – and become tricky.
This is why it is essential to document the progress as your plan develops. Tools like AlayaGood can help a lot in this and automate most parts of it, but even if you decide to do it manually, you need to set aside time almost every day to document it all.
Knowing this information will help you with every stage of the program. You can pick your metrics and use them to follow up on the initial plan. Based on the data, you can track employee retention, their interaction and collaboration, and brand awareness.
5. Make sure your team is prepared
As soon as you start planning for the volunteering program, let people know. This will give you an idea of how many interested team members you’ll have, as well as give you tips on how to improve your plan.
But, it will do something else, too – help you prep your workers.
For example, unless you tell them that the program doesn’t provide lunch, people will know to bring lunch with them. If you tell them that the activity will be held in cold climates, they’ll know to dress warmly.
Unless you do this, they’ll arrive unprepared, which is a waste of time and effort. This is why, when you’re creating your plan, you should also make a written guide that tells the team what they’re getting into.
6. Follow through with all your incentives
Making false promises doesn’t work these days, not when you’re paying people for their work, and most definitely not when they’re volunteering. People won’t jump at the opportunity to participate in your company’s program unless they get what they are promised.
Remember – word of mouth spreads faster than anything else. If you make false promises and don’t follow through, people will know it. Not only will you lose all interested parties, but your team won’t trust your future volunteering plans, either.
That being said, don’t make promises you cannot keep. Don’t create benefits just for the sake of it – follow through in every case. This is why it is extremely important to calculate and plan everything, to avoid unplanned costs and troubles later on.
7. Share your stories
Volunteering programs are not just good for your team – they are good for your brand also. By sharing your progress and your stories, you’re establishing your company as a trusted brand in the industry and the community.
Thanks to social media and technology, this is easily done today. You can create groups, update your social media presence, share photos and videos, and give your team their voice. By creating a narrative around the impact you’re making on the community, you’ll encourage your team to work harder and others to join your cause.
Volunteering programs have become very popular in the last couple of years. The newer generations and talent are much more likely to join a company that contributes to the community’s well-being than join one that doesn’t seem to care.
When you weigh the pros and cons, volunteering wins by a lot. Hopefully, this guide has helped you pave your path toward helping the community.