Written by: Grace Lau, the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad. With over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy she is currently responsible of leading branded and editorial content strategies. Grace has written for domains such as Brightpearl and VoilaNorbert. Here is her LinkedIn.
What Is Corporate Volunteering?
Modern corporations understand the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR creates a positive brand image for the business by showing consumers that the company in question cares about society. Corporations engage in CSR through various initiatives, including corporate volunteering.
Corporate volunteering, also called Employee Volunteer Programs (EVPs), are work-based programs where employees partake in charitable initiatives. They give back to their local communities through endeavors like fundraising, community service, or others. EVPs boost employee morale by creating a culture of giving in the company, making it a more desirable workplace.
EVPs also tell consumers that the corporation cares about the community it operates in. Corporate volunteering boosts good brand association and offers a facelift to companies struggling with their image.
Let’s look at the array of benefits that follow corporate volunteerism.
3 Benefits of Volunteering
1. Employee volunteers help attract A+ talents
Gone are the days when prospective employees would sign on the dotted line because of an attractive paycheck. Millennials look for corporations with lofty standards when choosing their workplace. They are especially attracted to companies that have EVPs in place. As far as growth strategy examples go, EVPs are foolproof.
It’s all about working at a company that shares their core values. Corporate volunteerism appeals to talented individuals looking for meaningful work. According to the Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study, 64% of millennials will turn down a job if the company doesn’t have a solid CSR policy.
2. Boosts employee morale and engagement
Corporate volunteerism promises higher employee engagement rates because it helps them bond with their workplace. Employee satisfaction rises as employees can create meaningful change through their professional roles. It makes them feel autonomous and boosts morale.
People enjoy working in companies that care about their stakeholders. The corporation’s volunteer goals can be aligned with an international organization like UNICEF, to make employees feel a sense of pride and value.
3. Improves brand image
A corporation that has successful EVPs will have a positive brand image. Customers love companies that give back. What’s more, corporate volunteerism also boosts the brand image for investors.
According to a Morgan Stanley survey, 80% of investors consider sustainable initiatives when considering additions to their portfolios.
How to Foster a Culture of Volunteerism
Now that you know corporate volunteerism gives measurable results, here is your guide to volunteering in the corporate world.
# Make your volunteer program personal
Pick a cause that aligns with your corporate values. For example, a company that sells children's toys can have their employees volunteer at local orphanages. Employees will be eager to work for a cause they can make a real difference in while doing a related day job.
# Utilize employee champions and talents
Each employee brings different abilities to the table. Use those abilities and skills when volunteering. Choose employees that are adept at the organization to keep your EVP going. You can do this virtually too, as long as the employee knows how to manage a remote workforce. Creating leaders to champion the cause will motivate other employees as well.
# Spotlight your volunteers
Set up an internal awards program to recognize employees who have done exceptional work. Such an initiative will help reduce employee turnover while keeping current employees happy and engaged.
You can design medals, ribbons, or trophies according to company colors. The awards can also be held digitally, where you highlight the volunteer of the month on your social media platforms. The content piece can have their story, contributions, and a quote or two from them to tie it all together. It will leave the employee with a sense of pride in their volunteer work.
# Recognize big and small acts in the organization
Even small acts of kindness can have a huge impact. Motivate all of your employees by recognizing all of them and the time and effort they spent to help some one else.
How to Start a Virtual Volunteer Program
Remote jobs are increasing in popularity and EVPs shouldn’t be left behind. Here are some ways to hit the ground running.
1. Determine common goals
Sit down and determine the core purpose of your virtual EVP. Note your objectives, values, and mission. Make sure these align with the overall goals for your corporation. Then, if your employees are aligned, you can finalize the relevant cause.
2. Set a budget
Divide your budget into various categories, like supplies, events, capital expenses, hidden costs and marketing costs among others. EVPs shouldn’t eat into a large part of your overall budget so be mindful of this before you embark on yours.
3. Ease employees into volunteering
Virtual programs of any kind require overcommunication to keep them going. Keep in constant touch with your virtual volunteers with frequent check-ins. It can be easy to lose track of virtual volunteer work, so set up a regular video call twice or thrice a week. This way, you’ll stay connected and will be able to work out any kinks in the program as it progresses.
4. Strengthen the culture
It’s not enough to set up a virtual EVP for a few employees in the organization. You should ensure that your CSR becomes a part of the company culture. Hold frequent meetings for volunteers and share their efforts on your social media pages. It will take isolated volunteering moments and turn them into CSR culture.
4 Ideas to Kickstart Your Virtual Volunteering
Here are some ways to kick off your virtual volunteering program immediately:
# Online auction for fundraising
Online fundraising is great for giving back and getting good press. A well-organized fundraiser will return double what you’ve invested into it. The key is to be very organized during the planning stage.
Set up an online catalog for the items that will be auctioned. You can engage a third party for this – just make sure you sign a foolproof agency agreement with them. There are agency agreement templates online if you need to draft a solid contract with your vendor.
The best part is, you won’t need to pay for a venue. Once your catalog is complete, start marketing it on digital and create hype. Make sure you announce the results on your company pages to get positive sentiment from stakeholders.
# Administrative volunteering
More companies than ever are outsourcing specific roles or departments. HR is a prime example. Many corporations hire virtual HR professionals to take calls, read through resumes, and forward interview timings. You can pick a non-profit and offer virtual administrative work. It will solve administration problems for the non-profit and your employees can volunteer in an area where they have expertise.
# Pen Pals for senior homes
Senior centers can be lonely places if you don’t have family visiting or writing. Volunteering at a senior center is one of the most rewarding ways to give back to your community too. Elderly folks don’t ask for much – they need the occasional song and dance to liven up their spirits.
Your virtual EVP can focus on writing letters to elderly people living in these senior homes. Depending on the size of the volunteer program, you can pick one or more homes to write to. These letters can be the highlight of someone’s day, and what better way to bring the community joy than through personalized messages.
Any corporation with a successful volunteer program will get amazing returns. We have discussed benefits like employee morale and a high retention rate, but EVPs go a lot deeper than that. One of the key advantages they bring is giving employees leadership qualities they may not know they had.
Great companies produce great leaders. A leader isn’t someone who enjoys ordering people around. Contrarily, a wise leader knows to take feedback from the whole team and work out an efficient solution that solves a complex problem. Good leaders are adept at organization, analysis, and use just the right amount of compassion when making decisions.
Corporate volunteer, whether virtual or on-ground, allows employees to become effective leaders. It enables them to take leadership roles, connect with underprivileged or needy members of society, and learn humility. They learn that their work becomes meaningful once they’re able to help someone else and in doing so, prosper as leaders of the future.
Want to incorporate volunteering into your company's employee experience agenda? Learn how you can do this with GivingWay here.