Workplace volunteer opportunities have traditionally been one way to engage employees — to give them a sense of connectedness and ability to contribute to social good at work, which helps to keep turnover rates low. With much of the corporate world now shifting to remote or hybrid (i.e., partial remote) work, volunteer program administrators are asking the question: How can we provide these team building experiences to all of our employees?
Many companies are finding success by offering virtual volunteering opportunities. This means providing ways for employees to volunteer either online, from home, or in their local community — even when that is not a location shared with other employees. This new approach can also create opportunities for employees who are dispersed globally and perhaps were never able to be involved in team or company volunteer days in the past.
While it may sound challenging, creating volunteer opportunities that engage remote and dispersed employees can be done.
Three Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Volunteering
1. Is Virtual Volunteering Worth It?
What inspires organizations to offer virtual volunteering options? First and foremost, it is one way to invest in the communities where you operate, and support non profit organizations that so desperately need volunteers.
In addition, organizations, and their employees, reap the benefits of volunteer opportunities — virtual and otherwise. In our Virtual Volunteering Toolkit, we share a series of stats that demonstrate the value of these programs. Specifically, virtual volunteering can lead to:
- Happier employees
- Improved skills
- Stronger team relationships
- Better employee well-being
- Boosted morale
A Deloitte study also found that volunteering helps employees move more easily into leadership roles.
2. How Do You Engage Volunteers Virtually (and Keep Them Engaged)?
Engagement is always a challenge when all, or even some, of your employees work remotely. How can your company keep virtual volunteers connected? Try the following approach:
- Research: Before you start planning virtual volunteer opportunities, talk to your remote workers to learn about what they want. They are your target audience, which makes them your best source of information as you get a program up and running.
- Groups: Some companies use all-hands volunteer or group volunteer days and weeks to get more people involved and to increase engagement. Consider a Day (or week) of Action to concentrate your promotion of virtual volunteer opportunities.
- Skills: A portion of your workforce may have unique skills to offer: health care, accounting, coding, writing, etc. Because geography generally does not limit virtual volunteering options there can be more opportunities to use those skills. That said, there are also countless virtual volunteering options that require no advanced skills at all–so any employee can participate.
- Options: Provide a diverse set of volunteer options that allow your workers to find something that fits their interest and their location while also meeting a need.
- Impact: Maximize your impact by adding a Dollars-for-Doers program, which honors your employees’ volunteer efforts by awarding giving credits that they can donate to nonprofits of their choosing.
3. How Do You Manage Virtual Volunteers?
You can spend a lot of time and effort managing a virtual volunteering program manually. Some companies may use spreadsheets for sharing options and facilitating signups and emails to communicate opportunities. But this approach makes it difficult to promote events, track hours, motivate engagement, and, ultimately, maximize your impact.
Choosing a volunteering platform can transform your virtual volunteering efforts. A quality platform will include tools for offering diverse volunteer opportunities. It will help administrators plan, share and promote events. And it will make managing signups and tracking hours as simple and straightforward as possible.
The more you can simplify and automate your virtual volunteering program, the more time your administrators can spend on maximizing impact (and other parts of their job!).
Maximize Your Volunteer Program
As more and more companies are moving to remote and hybrid work structures, it’s more important now than ever to engage virtual employees around all sorts of programs — volunteering included. The benefits to your organization and communities in need are plentiful.
If you’re looking for a technology partner to help maximize your volunteering efforts, the Bright Funds’ volunteer platform can:
- Connect your employees with 450,000+ volunteering opportunities
- Help administrators plan, share and promote volunteer events
- Manage signups and track hours
Schedule a demo today.