How to Find Volunteering Opportunities for Your Team
Struggling to find volunteering opportunities for your team? More than 20 million people formally volunteered in the UK in one year alone (2017/18). A Deloitte study from 2017 found that amongst Millennials, “70% agree that companies who sponsor volunteer activities have a more pleasant work atmosphere.” The same percentage of young employees believe that “volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours’” and 77% say that such activities are essential for employee well-being!
The study paints a clear picture: volunteering is the new norm for employee engagement and well-being. With 80% of managers saying that active volunteers move more easily into leadership roles, it would seem that volunteering is a clear indicator of leadership skills and companies are paying attention. Using such activities in the internal recruitment process, as employees are developing additional skills and showcasing involvement with the company culture and team is one of the best tools available to employers.
What Businesses Can do
In brief, find volunteering opportunities – the right ones. The same study shows that 69% of employees are not volunteering as much as they would like to. This is a clear indicator that businesses can do more to source volunteering opportunities and help employees participate in them. Let’s now look at what a business can do to improve employee engagement, well-being, and skills development internally through volunteering and what factors should be considered when looking for the best opportunity for your business:
- The first step is to officially regulate the company volunteering policy. It is usually part of the CSR strategy/policy and it outlines how employees should volunteer if they have paid volunteering days and how/where they should apply to get them. Nowadays, most companies allow between 1 and 7 paid volunteering days per year and encourage employees to take them. In some cases, businesses can make it part of the CSR team’s KPIs or even part of the annual employee review.
- Following on the CSR strategy, make sure you know what your team cares about – for example, the environment, specific community issues, or a charitable cause. Choosing and sourcing the right opportunity is key. Consider a mixture of skilled and unskilled volunteering opportunities in order to increase update and engagement.
- Allow for both team-based opportunities and individually organised ones. Make sure your policy gives enough flexibility for employees to bring their own causes and get support from the company and their colleagues. Give them the freedom to do their own thing and/or take part in group activities. The platform you use should allow for both of those.
- Depending on your chosen strategy, decide if you would like to involve a nonprofit or organise the event yourself as a company/team.
- There are a few ways to go about organising and execution: a. Consider using external consultancies for planning the event. Or b. There are available marketplaces which will provide you with ready volunteering opportunities and they can also source tailored volunteering for you and your employees at a minimum cost. Or c. Find a nonprofit, vet them, organise the opportunity yourself (might prove a somewhat difficult option).
- The key is to get leadership involved – it will drastically increase team engagement and satisfaction.
Whatever solution your company decides to implement, there are a few key important points to keep in mind to make sure you get the best value and the most out of your employee volunteering, after you find the right volunteering opportunities. Communication is key (king)! Make sure that your team is well informed about your policy – everyone in the company should know about your volunteering: what options they have available, how many days are available for them to volunteer per year, can they organise their own initiatives, how do they participate? Communicate this information through all channels: newsletters, chats, intranet system. Make it extremely easy for employees to understand and as soon as they click a button – take part in the event.
Get Your Marketing Team to Help
Last but not least, engage your marketing team early in the process and communicate externally. In practice, this means sharing your employee and impact stories on the company’s social media channels and outreaching to the local media. This will drastically increase your internal engagement – your employees will be much more involved if they know their stories and volunteering efforts are shared with partners and clients. You will naturally reap more benefits too – your clients will see you as the socially responsible company you are.