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More businesses are starting to see the benefits of offering employee volunteer programs and other corporate philanthropy initiatives. In fact, nearly 60% of companies provide paid time off (PTO) for employees to volunteer (America’s Charities, 2018).
In turn, many nonprofits like yours see the value in engaging more deeply with these corporate philanthropy programs. More than 49% of nonprofits identified workplace giving as an important element of their organization’s growth strategy (America’s Charities, 2018). Nonprofits are viewing corporations and businesses as valuable sources of not just more financial support and volunteers, but also skilled volunteers.
If you’re looking to recruit more corporate volunteers, these four best practices will help get you there:
1. Offer engaging group volunteer shifts.
2. Improve how you communicate about corporate philanthropy.
3. Promote your volunteer events as professional development opportunities.
4. Recognize your corporate partners.
To offer the best experience possible, it’s crucial to properly plan and make sure you understand the best practices for successful corporate recruiting. Let’s dive in!
Volunteering is one of the most powerful and meaningful things employees can do as a team. It’s a great way to engage employees, promote collaboration, and create stronger group bonds. Most importantly, it helps corporate groups connect with your local community and make a difference in the lives of others.
Design volunteer opportunities that are specifically tailored to corporate volunteer groups. For example, you might offer an experience that’s part volunteer opportunity, part corporate retreat. Invite corporate groups to participate in your volunteer activities in the morning, for example, and then conduct team-bonding activities using one of your meeting rooms in the afternoon.
“[O]ffer an experience that’s part volunteer opportunity, part corporate retreat. Invite corporate groups to participate in your volunteer activities in the morning, for example, and then conduct team-bonding activities using one of your meeting rooms in the afternoon.”
You can even offer virtual volunteer opportunities to corporate volunteer groups. Corporate volunteers often have busy schedules, and virtual volunteer opportunities allow them to cut out the commute to your volunteer site. These opportunities can include everything from uploading data to a virtual database or manning an online helpline for community members. Incorporate a live video chat option to facilitate the group volunteer experience.
Offering engaging group volunteer shifts is a great way to build team spirit and improve productivity among corporate groups. Provide opportunities where employees can socialize with each other and complete tasks as a team rather than individually. This will help boost their performance both at the volunteering site and in their workplace.
Whenever you’re promoting corporate philanthropy or trying to urge one of your corporate partners to get more involved in philanthropy, you want to make sure you have the most persuasive arguments in your toolkit. You can enhance your pitch using corporate volunteering statistics and data points that highlight the benefits of corporate philanthropy.
For instance, you might use your email newsletter to emphasize the fact that 77% of employees said that company-sponsored volunteer activities are essential to their wellbeing (Deloitte Impact Survey, 2017). Or, you could create a social media post about the fact that 92% of individuals involved in hiring processes agree that volunteering improves employees’ wider professional skill sets (Deloitte Impact Survey, 2017).
“By communicating the importance of corporate volunteerism for your organization, you encourage your existing corporate partners to get more involved with your volunteer opportunities.”
You might also write a blog post about your corporate volunteers’ impact with some statistics and share it on your social media platforms. Remember to focus on the outcomes of each initiative. For example, instead of saying “employees volunteered over 200 hours last month,” you can say “45 families were fed and received weeks’ worth of food and water.”
By communicating the importance of corporate volunteerism for your organization, you encourage your existing corporate partners to get more involved with your volunteer opportunities.
Volunteering is the perfect way to help corporate volunteers enhance their current skills and develop new ones. Highlight opportunities for corporate volunteers to develop specific skills during volunteer opportunities, whether it’s coding skills, public speaking practice, or graphic design experience.
For instance, let’s say that your organization is redesigning your nonprofit website. You can engage a group of employee volunteers from a website design agency to help you create a mood board and implement the changes effectively.
Remind volunteers that working in a volunteer setting can help them improve their strategic thinking, learn about current philanthropic trends and issues, and grow project management skills — all of which can improve leadership potential.
Remember to request feedback from volunteers and ask whether or not your volunteer opportunities taught them something new or helped them improve existing skills. Their feedback will highlight the strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities of your volunteer opportunities.
Showing recognition to your corporate volunteers by acknowledging their hard work will go a long way in improved volunteer engagement and performance. This can help you maintain a positive, long-lasting relationship with your corporate partners, wherein they feel motivated to continue engaging in your volunteer opportunities.
There are plenty of ways to show appreciation to your corporate partners. Here are just a few:
When your employee volunteers know that their contributions were appreciated, they’ll feel more inclined to participate again in future events. And, when they feel valued and satisfied with their experience, they’ll discuss your organization with family members and friends, helping you attract more new volunteers.
Nonprofits have a great opportunity to build trust with their corporate partners and the wider community through designing impactful, meaningful volunteer opportunities. Now that you’ve learned some of the best practices for recruiting corporate volunteer groups, it’s time to start planning.
It starts with having a proper strategy in mind and knowing which organizations to partner up with. From there, you must provide constant support, inspiration, and appreciation, and there’s no doubt your corporate volunteers will have a memorable experience with you. Good luck!
America’s Charities (2018). Snapshot Employer Research The New Corporate DNA – Where Employee Engagement and Social Impact Converge. https://www.charities.org/Snapshot-Employer-Research-Corporate-DNA-Employee-Engagement-Social-Impact
Deloitte (2017). Deloitte Volunteer Impact Research. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/citizenship-deloitte-volunteer-impact-research.html