Today, employees are looking for a more meaningful, engaging, and rewarding workplace. Here’s how you can create the best volunteering programs for your employees.
According to a report from City Philanthropy, 53 percent of under 35s want to volunteer more than they currently do.
Not only is volunteering a good thing to do, but businesses that provide paid time-off for volunteering can retain and attract the best talent, as well as instilling a sense of meaning and purpose in employees and increase productivity.
However, in order to achieve this, you need to create an employee volunteer program with a lot of care. You would also need to set up an employee volunteer policy because it should always go hand in hand with your volunteer program.
Why are employee volunteer programs a good idea?
Before we take a look at the different steps you should follow when creating an effective employee volunteer program, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits you will gain by implementing one:
- Increase employer brand awareness
- Give your employees pride in their place of work
- Boost employee retention rates
- Create a more connected and stronger workforce
- Increase employee empowerment
- Enable employees to develop and learn new skills
- Uncover future leaders for your business
- Enjoy a healthier and happier workforce
How do you create a successful employee volunteer program?
Now that you know all of the benefits associated with employee volunteer programs, it is not difficult to see why they come so highly recommended.
Nevertheless, to experience all of these advantages, you do need to make sure you put together such a program with a lot of care. So, let’s take a look at the different steps you should follow:
1. Assess the current needs in your local community
There is only one place to begin, and this is by investigating what is needed in your own community at the moment. This information can typically be found online with ease.
At the same time, it makes sense to find out what interests your employees have by carrying out a small survey.
Once you have assessed your employee interests and the needs of your community, you can start narrowing your focus. A lot of companies that have thriving volunteer programs will typically focus on one or two areas only.
At this stage, you should also think about what your program is going to be called. This is important because it makes volunteer outreach and branding a lot easier.
You also need to consider if volunteer time is going to be unpaid or paid, as well as determining how much input you are going to allow your staff to have.
2. Coordinate your volunteer program and business objectives
When determining the focus of your employee volunteer plan, you need to carefully think about how this is going to coincide with your existing business plan.
It is important that your successes and efforts are meaningful and can be communicated with the community and your customers with ease.
If you select a volunteer focus that complements the daily running of your business, this will enable your employees to utilise their specialist skills within the community while also being established as experts in their field at the same time.
3. Get support from the top executives at your business
Next, you are going to need to secure support from your CEO or president. This is critical. This person should be actively encouraging and promoting the volunteer program to all workers within the company, as well as supporting the reward and recognition of business-sponsored volunteerism.
It is just as critical for your management team to buy into your employee volunteer program as it is for your president or CEO. Not only are managers going to have the ability to be more generous in terms of determining time off periods for workers, but they are also going to be more inclined to volunteer their own experience and expertise to the organisation of your choosing.
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4. Look for different partnership possibilities
In addition to the different parts that we have discussed so far, we also think that it is important to spend some time looking for different partnership possibilities.
You can strengthen and expand your employee volunteer program with ease when you partner with other businesses and organizations. This is why you should look into the possibility of teaming up with various suppliers and/or customers.
Non-profit organizations and schools will almost always be happy to benefit from extra volunteers.
Furthermore, you may want to look into the possibility of using national volunteer mobilization events, including National Volunteer Week, National Family Volunteer Day, and Make a Difference Day.
5. Match corporate volunteerism and corporate giving together effectively
You should consider concentrating on corporate donations in the same area so that you are able to improve the volunteer efforts at your business.
Should your employee volunteer program focus on a partnership with a non-profit, for example, you can make the most of fundraisers at your business so you can donate proceeds to the organization in question.
6. Quantify and evaluate your volunteer program
As with all of the different elements of running a business, it is imperative that you quantify how successful your employee volunteer program is.
These are the critical numbers that you are going to want to make sure you highlight in both your board reports and community relations pieces.
Some of the vital areas that we advise you to keep statistics on are as follows:
- Pound value of volunteers time
- Amount of money you have raised
- The number of individuals who have served
- The number of organizations that have served
- Amount of time donated per every activity
- The number of employees who volunteer
Another critical piece of evaluation is feedback. It is advisable to survey the employee volunteer program participants to discover the degree to which they have enjoyed the opportunities to volunteer, how satisfying they have been, and whether or not they feel like they are making a valuable contribution to the community.
If your business is able to, you might also want to quantify the improvements in areas like brand recognition or revenue due to the increased marketplace visibility.
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7. Provide rewards and recognition
The penultimate step is to provide recognition and rewards for those who have participated in these programs. Yes, a lot of people believe that acts of altruism are rewards in themselves, and we are sure that your employees will agree. Yet, at the same time, a little bit of recognition and a small gesture can go a very long way.
Some of the small gestures you may want to consider in this regard include gift cards, coupons, plaques, and certificates. These sorts of things can help to ensure your program is invigorated while keeping those employee motivation levels high.
A lot of the most successful employee volunteer programs will host a ceremony every year so that volunteer efforts are recognized formally. You may want to also consider inviting the media to events like this so you can boost public awareness.
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8. Publicize all of the efforts relating to your volunteer programs
The final piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you get the word out about all of the accomplishments that have been achieved as a consequence of your employee volunteer program.
You should use a number of different methods of communication in order to get the word out about your volunteer program successes. This includes both external and internal communication mediums.
There are lots of effective and impactful ways that you can get both the community and your workers talking. This includes traditional advertising methods, as well as online marketing strategies, such as email, an effective website, and social media. Bulletin boards and newsletters can also be very successful in this regard.
There are a lot of different benefits associated with this. Firstly, such marketing material and content can help you to get new volunteers involved for any of the campaigns you have running in the future. After all, they will be able to see the benefits that the campaigns had, as well as the high praise that your workers have heaped on in regards to your volunteering efforts.
Furthermore, we cannot deny that publicizing your efforts relating to volunteering will act as an outstanding public relations tool for your business.
All businesses today need to look for different ways to market effectively and stand out from the competition. Having an effective and successful volunteer program in place is one of the best ways of doing so, as it gives employees extra purpose, which boosts retention and your brand image.
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Final words on creating a great volunteer program
If you follow the advice and suggestions that we have provided above, you should be able to construct a volunteer program that helps you to hold onto your best business talent, as well as attracting leading candidates in the future.