Pay It Forward: 5 Creative Ways to Encourage Employee Volunteering
If you ask your employees if they’d like to volunteer, chances are, the majority of them won’t show any interest to your broad question. To really engage your employees and foster a group attitude towards volunteerism, you have to get creative with your approach.
In our recent article, Why Your Small Business Should Embrace Employee Volunteering, we outline in detail just why employee volunteering is good for business. Today we want to feature creative ways you can get your employees excited and motivated towards giving back to your community.
Creative ways to get your employees motivated about giving back
1.) Send a Newsletter to Share Information
Although many individuals will say that they’re just too busy to volunteer, that’s not necessarily the whole truth. The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent economic news release shared that, “Volunteers spent a median of 52 hours on volunteer activities during the period from September 2014 to September 2015.” Meanwhile, a Nielson report shares that the average American spends 5.11 hourswatching television each day.
You’ve got to really motivate your employees to convince them to ditch Netflix in exchange for helping a community program in need of volunteers. One of the main ways to engage your employees is to make volunteering as easy as possible for them.
Go ahead and do a little research to find local outreach programs, non-profit organizations and other community groups in need of assistance. Organize and prepare a monthly newsletter that will provide the following information for volunteer options:
- • A list and description of 3 charities in the community that are in need of volunteers with a variety of skills. Don’t just find manual labor options. Be creative and present volunteer opportunities to mentor children or read to the elderly.
- • A detailed description of the requirements and expectations for each charity’s volunteer needs. With all 3 charities offered, be sure to list out all duties and tasks the volunteer will need to perform.
- • A full month’s calendar of various days, times and schedules that are in need of coverage. Be sure to find different time options as your employees all have different personal schedules they need to work around.
- • A way for your employee to sign up for specific charities and volunteer jobs.
2.) Know Your Employees More Personally
How well do you know your employees? Did you know that Angela in accounting has a mother suffering from epilepsy and is a moderator for a support group website? Did you know that Peter in sales helps his kids make homemade holidays decorations for elderly homes in the area?
When you get to know your employees, you can find out what they’re passionate about and help them find the perfect volunteer group to join. Start the conversation in your office and encourage people to share stories that are close to their hearts. When you know these personal details, you can create personalized opportunities for your employees to really get the most out of their volunteer work.
Hold meetings to present volunteer programs to your staff and gauge their interest. Ask for their input and encourage their feedback, suggestions and ideas.
3.) Coordinate Projects on Company Time
Consider the costs associated with hosting a volunteer event during working hours to get full participation. If you can make it happen, shoulder the costs of paying for your staff to help out as a team.
Our live answering service hosted a Feeding Children Everywhere event where our staff packed over 5,000 meals for hungry children. The event took place right on our call center property and out virtual receptionists were split up into 2 teams in order to maintain constant phone coverage for our clients. You can see our Youtube video of the event here.
In just under 8 hours, our virtual receptionists were able to pack meals that would be delivered to over 5,000 hungry children all over Central Florida. We think that’s an extremely high return on our investment; such a nominal sacrifice for being able to feed hungry children in our community.
If your business can’t afford to pay for your entire staff’s volunteer efforts on company time, consider offering incentive programs to your team instead. Give vouchers for extra personal days or paid time off when an employee reaches a specific number of volunteer hours.
Employee volunteering is good for business and you can offset the costs you incur by networking with likeminded individuals within your community and growing your brand’s reputation.
4.) Make Goals and Track Progress
The great thing about committing to a goal is that you can track your progress and gain the motivation needed to move forward. Gather your team of volunteers and set company goals for the group.
There are many creative ways to track your volunteer progress. You can decide upon a reasonable number of hours to volunteer each month. If your team prefers the 1-on-1 volunteer opportunities, set a goal for a number of people you’d like to help each month. Set a realistic dollar amount you’d like to raise each month to donate to a charity mutually agreed upon.
Document all of your employees’ volunteer work in detail and create colorful charts to share with your staff on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Sharing the team’s progress will encourage people to do what they can to meet the goal. You may even start a healthy competition to up the chances of meeting difficult goals.
At the end of the month have a special meeting to announce the final volunteer numbers. If you succeed in reaching the company goal celebrate with a special treat.
5.) Make Donations in Their Name
Include specific employee names when making a cash donation to a local charity or nonprofit organization. This small gesture could really make a significant impact and have a positive effect on your boss-employee relationship.
Be creative and think outside of the box when offering a money donation on behalf of an employee. Create a Volunteer of the Month contest and the person that volunteers the most hours for the month gets a special incentive. The winner can get a cash donation in their name to a charity of their choosing.
Every year A Courteous Communication buys corporate tables at charity events, galas and banquets. We then allow our employees to attend on our behalf and learn more about the charities we support. At these events, our staff often hears personal stories shared by people effected by the cause they’re supporting. After the event our team is informed and super energized to help in any way they can.
Volunteering Can Have So Many Positive Benefits for Your Business!
We hope these creative ideas will help you motivate your staff into devoting some of their personal time towards helping others. Employee volunteering is good for business and the team’s volunteer work will improve your office’s morale, relationships and reputation.