74% of employees believe volunteering provides them with a sense of purpose, and employee turnover drops by an average of 57% when employees are deeply connected to their companies’ volunteer efforts.
While these statistics are proof that company volunteer programs work to improve employee engagement and reduce turnover, organizations must have a healthy participation rate in their volunteer program to see notable results.
Although a 100% participation rate isn’t realistic, we uncover 5 tactics for how your organization can motivate your employees to become active volunteers.
Create team volunteer opportunities
Host and organize company-wide volunteer events. Your employees may not have the desire to pursue volunteer opportunities at an individual level, but with the ability to join forces with their colleagues to partake in a volunteer day, their outlook toward volunteering can certainly change. Group volunteering spurs collaboration, communication, and creativity, enabling employees to work cohesively as a unit and form tight-knit connections.
For instance, a company-wide volunteer day could involve helping to maintain a community garden. Throughout the volunteer day, employees can work in small groups to gather resources such as seeds, soil, and planting equipment and then each disperse to plant different flowers and vegetables around the garden.
Incorporate virtual volunteering
If you want to create social volunteer opportunities but operate with a remote employee base, virtual volunteering is the answer. Thanks to video conferencing technology, employees who work in different locations can effectively brainstorm to achieve a common volunteer goal.
For example, a virtual volunteer opportunity that can be performed in a group setting is a school supply giveaway. Employees can spend a day brainstorming resources over Zoom for a select school (i.e., water bottles, backpacks, pens and paper etc..), coordinate the distribution logistics over Slack, and then select one employee located nearby the school of choice to drop off the supplies.
Share photos and accomplishments
Regardless of whether a group volunteer opportunity was conducted in person or online, post-event acknowledgement is essential for continued volunteer involvement. For an in-person volunteer event, appoint select employees to take photos throughout the day of individuals engaging in that volunteer activity and working together!
While no physical presence is required at a virtual volunteering event, photos can still be taken and shared. For instance, if your employees virtually helped organize and manage a school supply giveaway, ask the school to take photos of all the supplies they received! Once the images are received, share them with the rest of your organization to acknowledge the commitment and enthusiasm of your virtual volunteer team.
Rewarding hard work and dedication can take form annually, aside from regular recognition through activity feed posts. For example, at the end of each year, the employee(s) who have accumulated the most volunteer hours or surpassed a specific volunteer goal can win a gift card or an all-expenses-paid spa day!
Additionally, a great strategy to reward all employees (no matter the number of volunteer hours they contributed) is to send a handwritten card to each volunteer. These personalized tokens of appreciation show your employees that their passion for their community is admired.
When employees are recognized for their volunteer contributions, they will be more likely to discover and connect with subsequent volunteer opportunities to participate in at a group level or individually.
Give employees autonomy
While company volunteer days encourage participation among employees who want to get involved in the community alongside their colleagues, employees should be able to take the reins and mould their independent volunteer experience(s).
It should be up to employees to decide the location, frequency, and volunteer activity they wish to participate in. A volunteer platform fits the bill here, where employees have full control over:
- Browse through independent volunteer opportunities in any focus area. Some focus areas include environment, animals, education, etc.
- Apply to any volunteer opportunity, directly connecting with the nonprofit or charity responsible for the volunteer event.
- Seamlessly log their volunteer hours after each opportunity, enabling employees to look back and see their volunteer footprints grow.
- Share photos and videos from each volunteer day on their profile. Like social media, this post appears in the activity feeds of those who follow that employee.
When employees become active contributors in their company’s volunteer program, volunteering becomes a dynamic and organic activity embedded into a company’s culture.
Starting a company volunteer program is a great first step. However, it is from the efforts of your employees that your organization will begin to make a real impact. By maximizing participation, your organization will accumulate volunteer hours while your employees will continue to provide vital services to the community.