Promoting Employee Volunteer Experiences: 4 Strategies

Andy Howell
CEO, Uncommon Giving

To succeed in the long term, your company must operate in harmony with its community. This means staying tuned into what’s most important to your employees, consumers, and other stakeholders. One of the most effective ways to strengthen your company’s connection to its community is by managing a strong employee giving and volunteering program.

By engaging your employees in social impact initiatives, your company can demonstrate its commitment to impacting the world positively. According to Double the Donation’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) statistics, this is exactly what employees and consumers want to see: 93% of employees think companies should lead with purpose and 77% of consumers want to purchase from businesses with CSR initiatives.

However, to make the biggest difference possible, you need to get your employees involved. In this article, we’ll walk through four strategies your company can implement to better promote employee volunteer experiences and encourage participation.

1. Invest in corporate volunteering tools.

An engaging employee volunteer program provides a variety of experiences to each employee, allowing them to find opportunities that appeal to their skills and interests. To create these experiences for your employees, you’ll need a comprehensive corporate volunteering solution. With this software at your disposal, you can facilitate numerous critical tasks and activities, from sharing volunteer opportunities to tracking volunteer hours.

Uncommon Giving’s corporate volunteering platform guide recommends following these three steps to find the ideal solution for your company:

Three steps to choosing corporate volunteering software to help promote employee volunteer experiences, as discussed below.
  1. Assess your volunteer program’s needs. Depending on the opportunities your company offers, you may prioritize tools that process volunteer grants, allow for mobile engagement, or report on volunteer impact. If you have additional workplace giving initiatives, you can look for features beyond employee volunteering, such as payroll deductions or matching gift processing.
  2. Research options and read reviews online. While many promising employee volunteering platforms are available, your company needs a modern, flexible platform that fits your priorities and budget. Read online reviews from similar businesses to learn about their experiences and find a solution that will help you accomplish your goals. Also, reach out to peers to get their opinions on their own volunteer software solutions.
  3. Schedule demos to assess top picks. As you narrow down your list of potential platforms, request demos to get a firsthand glimpse into how they perform. Ask the software vendor specific questions, such as how the implementation process works, what integrations are available, and more.

Using your corporate volunteering platform, you can share upcoming opportunities with nonprofits in your community and plan your own volunteering events. The more flexibility you provide employees, the more likely they are to stay actively involved in your program.

2. Communicate the personal benefits of volunteering.

While many people choose to volunteer because they’re inspired to contribute to a worthy cause, volunteering offers many personal benefits as well. When promoting your workplace giving initiatives, be sure to highlight these compelling reasons to get involved:

  • Improved physical health. Many volunteering activities, such as community cleanups or tree planting, allow your employees to get active and spend more time outside. Regular volunteering can promote regular exercise that improves their health in the long run.
  • Enhanced mental well-being. According to Mayo Clinic Health System, volunteering reduces stress, depression, and anxiety by releasing dopamine. This means that participating in a volunteer opportunity can give employees more chances to unwind from stressors.
  • New social connections. Your employees can connect with other service-driven individuals at volunteer events and bond over shared experiences, whether they’re packaging meals at a food bank or building homes for underserved communities.
  • Personal growth. Through volunteering, your employees can take on new responsibilities, tackle challenges, and develop new skills that lead to personal and professional growth. By stepping out of their comfort zones, employees can gain confidence that they can later apply to other areas of their lives.

As you spread the word about your company’s volunteer program through internal communication channels and other employee materials, summarize these benefits to win over employees who are on the fence about getting involved.

3. Discuss upcoming opportunities on multiple platforms.

Your employees all have differing preferences for consuming content and keeping up with news. To spark interest in upcoming volunteer experiences, promote them on multiple platforms to maximize your reach.

Consider sharing volunteer opportunities by:

  • Dedicating a section about them in your email newsletter.
  • Designing a series of social media posts.
  • Mentioning them during all-hands meetings.
  • Featuring them on your website.
  • Printing out flyers to display around the office.
  • Implementing a peer-to-peer referral program (every volunteer that an employee recruits earns the recruiter an entry in a gift card raffle).

With a strategic combination of text, visuals, and audio, you can grab the attention of employees and get them excited about participating in your volunteer program. Since 91% of businesses already use video in their marketing strategy, why not produce short, engaging videos to show your employees just how fulfilling their volunteer experience could be?

4. Share employee stories and impact.

To engage more employees in philanthropy, your company needs to demonstrate why getting involved is so important and what you can all accomplish together. When employees sign up for your volunteering opportunities and events, recognize them for their commitment to the community.

There are several meaningful ways your company can reinforce volunteer participation, including:

  • Creating a set of branded eCards, which employees can send to one another to recognize volunteering efforts.
  • Developing employee awards or certificates for standout contributors, like a “Social Impact Star” award.
  • Presenting small gifts following a company- or team-wide event, such as a branded t-shirt or gift card.
  • Hosting an appreciation event for employee volunteers, offering a free meal and a chance to celebrate together.

No matter which options you choose, be sure to specify the impact of volunteer participation. For example, you might share something like, “Thanks to your help, we were able to assemble 450 meal kits for families in need during our last company service day.” When employees can see a clear connection between their involvement and social good, they’re much more likely to stay invested in your volunteer program going forward.

As you continue sharing volunteer opportunities with your employees, send out quarterly or biannual surveys to collect their feedback. Based on their input, you can determine whether you need to make any further adjustments regarding your workplace giving software, volunteer event planning, and more. By maintaining an improvement mindset, your company can set its volunteer program up to thrive in the long term.

Andy Howell
CEO, Uncommon Giving

As the CEO of Uncommon Giving, Andy Howell is passionate about pushing forward positive social impact. Andy has a long history of working for companies focused on social good. Along with his team, he works to amplify generosity through Uncommon Giving’s corporate giving and volunteer solutions.

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