Volunteer work is a great way to make your employees feel more engaged with the company while fueling positive social change and raising awareness about particular issues in society. Along with that, it also presents a chance for your business to make a meaningful connection with the local community by finding ways to improve their lives.
Statistics show that 65% of people want to work for companies with a solid moral conscience. It’s vital that you find a way to incorporate CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs in your organization, as it will definitely boost employee morale while creating a more substantial and more purposeful company culture.
Most executives and HR specialists already know this, so nowadays, most companies have at least one CSR campaign under their belts. However, most of them fail to fulfill their mission of getting employees involved and helping inspire some social change. In this blog post, we will be giving you a ton of ideas for volunteer work that might genuinely be a good fit for your business and the people who work in it.
5 Steps to Starting a Successful Volunteer Program
If this is the first time you’ve ever thought about starting one or more corporate volunteer programs, then there are a few things you should consider before making your choice on which ones to take up in your own business.
Nowadays, volunteer work is not what it used to be. Today, in order for it to grab your employees’ attention, it should be a mix of physical and virtual opportunities (especially considering the Covid situation and the increasingly popular “work from home”). This will make it more sustainable in the long run, and that way, you will be able to maximize the benefits of having employee volunteer programs in your company.
How can you do that? Well, let’s take a look at five steps to starting a successful volunteer program.
1.Connect it with your company’s core values and mission
The purpose of your company is already likely aligned with its mission. It’s a good idea to connect that purpose to the CSR programs you want to run in the future. That way, you will effectively show your employees, customers, and shareholders that the values you talked about in the beginning genuinely matter to you and you’re willing to take action on them.
Alternatively, you can include all employees in the discussion instead of letting only the upper management participate in selecting causes to support. You can do that by running a survey in the whole organization so that you can see what causes truly matter and think about why the company would want to participate in them as well.
2.Set up an action plan and align a framework
Launching a corporate volunteering program is not an easy task, as there are many things to consider. The most important one is, how will you capture the interest of employees with your CSR program?
Will you just have specific volunteer programs that happen once or twice per year? Or will you opt for an ongoing program that will last for a long time? Or alternatively, try to do a combination of both?
Usually, the best of both worlds is the perfect option. For example, having dedicated volunteer work around the holidays and running a sustainable program at the office is an excellent illustration of how you can have short- and long-term CSR initiatives running.
3.Use a digital platform
Before the pandemic hit, having a virtual volunteer option was considered “good to have.” But nowadays, it’s turned into a “must-have,” since “going volunteering” is getting more and more challenging to organize.
Finding ways to have volunteer work that’s accessible to everyone is a good way to show you are truly dedicated to the cause. Thankfully, doing things online is getting easier by the day since there are many useful platforms that allow you to host and manage CSR programs.
Using an online platform also lets you boost employee engagement, as people can participate anywhere and at any time, allowing your teams to work together even if they’re not actually in the same room.
4.Engage the right teams
Setting up corporate volunteer programs requires the work and effort of a lot of the teams in the organization, which is why it’s essential that you involve all the key ones from the start.
The first one is obviously the leadership team – they have to be the ones that set an example and act as role models for their teams. Then, we have the HR and Marketing teams, who are responsible for popularizing and communicating all the volunteer work you want to do. Lastly, the legal and IT teams have to be involved so that you can be confident you’re not breaking any laws and all systems are functioning correctly.
5.Expand your volunteer work options
There are a lot of CSR programs you can choose from, both virtual and real-life ones. It’s essential that you give your employees as many options as possible so that anyone can participate and find something to be genuinely passionate about.
In this blog post, you will find many volunteer work ideas that are both inclusive and engaging, so choosing only one or two might be a difficult task.
10 Best Corporate Volunteering Ideas for Your Company
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 15 of the best volunteering programs that you can implement in your company.
Help Out Locally
No matter where your company is located, there are likely tons of volunteer opportunities that are unique for your region. If you want to find something appropriate, try using a service like VolunteerMatch that will help you learn more about what you can do to give back in your area and the variety of causes you can support.
Once you are set on a cause that fits your company’s core values, you can begin thinking about the way you will launch it and how you can get your employees to want to take part in supporting it.
Make Care Packages
One of the best ways to make a real impact in the community is by assembling care packages for people in need. For your company to do this, you might have to partner with another organization that can let you know exactly what should be included in these care packages and where your donations have to go.
For example, you can find non-profit organizations that work on helping underprivileged community members and supporting their causes.
Do a Clean-Up of a Local Area
Most people have begun caring about the Earth and the ways our actions are negatively impacting it. Choosing an environmental cause is a great way to get many employees engaged.
One of the simplest ways you can make an impact is by cleaning a public space in your city; it can be anything: a nearby forest, beach, park, or river. You have to organize your employees, make a trip to the place, and then clean up all the trash you find on the ground. This is a terrific way to create a sense of community within the organization while reducing pollution and making an impact locally.
If you don’t know how to organize such an event, you can contact one of the environmental organizations in your city and partner with them.
Host a Fundraiser
Workplace fundraisers are a fairly common activity. Typically, they involve organizing an auction or a dinner fundraising event. However, you don’t have to follow these standards and can instead create something far more interesting. For example, you can have a bake sale in a local cafeteria or a pub quiz game night where teams participate in the hopes of winning while donating money for a noble cause.
Have a Charity Team Building Activity
Charity team building activities are popular in the United States, and for a good reason. They are a fun way to nurture the company culture while giving your employees something fun and exciting to participate in. For example, you can organize a charity bake sale, where all employees contribute homemade sweets and the profits go to an organization that you choose, or you can get the team to help out at a local homeless shelter by preparing and serving food. With these sorts of activities, people learn to work in teams while doing something useful and helping out disadvantaged community members.
Virtual Games and Quizzes
In the current situation that we’re living in, organizing online volunteer work is vital. It’s the best way to get everyone in the company to participate, no matter if they’re working from home, are in quarantine, or are in the office.
Additionally, virtual events such as competitive games and quizzes always fire up the spirits and get employees excited about doing charity work. Suppose you truly want to make it an excellent experience for all the participants. In that case, you can partner up with a company that specializes in doing virtual quizzes and create a game that somehow ties into the industry your company operates in.
Support Local Veterans
All around the country, there are brave men and women who fought for the country. If you want to find a way to support them, you can first search for local opportunities available in your region.
Additionally, you can form partnerships with organizations such as Fisher House Foundation and Wounded Warriors that provide veterans education and housing opportunities while raising money and awareness for veteran issues.
Grow a Community Garden
If you have some eco-friendly ninjas on your teams, then they might want to get their hands dirty and try to grow a community garden. This is a fantastic way for your company to build a relationship with members of the local neighborhood while doing something that’s beneficial for the environment.
To get the project started, you first have to gather volunteer groups, then plan where to do it and gather resources like seeds and soil. From there, the teams have to create a schedule for taking care of the crops so that they can grow.
Help the Homeless
According to statistics, there are more than three million homeless people in the United States today. Most of us turn a blind eye to these numbers. However, it’s an important cause that your company can easily support by doing volunteer work.
You can partner with a local homeless shelter or a food bank and see how you can make a difference for people there. It can be through volunteer work hours, by hosting fundraising events, or by making donations.
Start an Eco-friendly Challenge at Work
Making an environmental impact starts with everyday actions that any individual can do. If you want your company to do better, you can get your employees to participate in an “eco-friendly” challenge that might make your offices more “green.”
There are two ways to go about starting such a program. One way is to begin on your own and create simple challenges that your employees can complete, like cycling to work or not using any plastic around the office. Alternatively, you can use a service like Eco Challenge, so your company can join an already existing program.
Organizing volunteer work events and starting CSR programs are things that every company has to do. It’s been proven to be the best way to make employees feel more connected to the organization. Launching such initiatives shows your employees that there’s a soul behind this business and that you’re willing to invest in charitable causes that help disadvantaged individuals and the community as a whole.
That being said, if you genuinely want your volunteer work to get your employees excited, it has to tie into your corporate mission and the values you’ve determined to be vital for your company culture. Additionally, you want to find ways to constantly give back to the community so that you can build a real connection to your local area and show the people living there that your brand is one that’s worth supporting.