Tips for Improving Your Employee Volunteer Programs
Employee volunteer programs are an important part of an effective CSR plan.
Creating opportunities for employees to volunteer is proven way to increase morale and engagement in the workplace. According to a 2013 study, people who participate in employee volunteer programs report that they feel better emotionally, mentally and physically. The same study revealed that employers find that volunteering employees are less stressed, more engaged, and are developing important work and “people” skills. In addition to increasing engagement, employee volunteer programs also benefit the company as a whole by creating a positive impact in the local community while also increasing brand visibility. Here are some tips on how to increase participation in workplace volunteer programs.
1. BE FLEXIBLE
When planning company volunteer days and events, solicit suggestions and ideas from staff. Including employees in the decision making process will make them more invested in the volunteer project and more likely to participate. Offer up a few options and have employees vote on which organization they would like to volunteer with. Schedule quarterly company volunteer days and select a different employee (at random) to choose which charity to support for each one. Another option is to let each employee decide where and when they want to volunteer all year round instead of putting limitations on which organizations they can support. The more flexible the program is, the higher the participation rate will be. Be sure to gain feedback from employees after volunteer activities in order to monitor success and improve experiences.
2. CREATE INCENTIVE
Another way to increase participation in your employee volunteer programs by creating incentives. Many companies are now adding "volunteer days" to their paid time off (PTO) packages to encourage employees to give back without sacrificing their time off. Other companies’ will offer extra PTO days to employees after a certain number of volunteer hours have been logged. If PTO days are not an option, gift cards, team lunches, or other smaller participation prizes are all good alternatives. Providing some sort of extra "perk" for volunteering will help motivate employees who are on the fence about participating. Services with employee giving portals make it easy for employees to log volunteer hours, track their progress, and search for new volunteer opportunities.
3. SET UP A VOLUNTEER GRANT PROGRAM
Also known as dollars for doers, these employee volunteer programs allow employees to earn monetary grants from their company for volunteer hours logged. Generally, an employee volunteers for a certain number of hours per year and they are able to receive a grant of up to $X, to go towards a non-profit organization of either the company or the employee's choosing. Some companies may structure the program on an hourly basis instead, allowing employees to earn a specific dollar amount for every hour they volunteer.
4. SPREAD THE WORD
Make sure your employees are aware of all the different opportunities they have to volunteer. Send out emails and newsletters, bring it up at staff meetings, and post flyers in the break room. More often than not, employee volunteer programs see a lack of participation simply because people are not aware of their existence.
If your company wants to reap the benefits of a successful employee volunteer program, DonationXchange is here to help. Learn more about our dynamic giving platform.