Workplace volunteer programs serve as opportunities to connect with communities where you operate. But, equally as important, they offer your organization a chance to engage with employees beyond day-to-day business. Employees want to work for companies that are engaged in social good.
Engaging workplace volunteer programs don’t happen by accident, though. It’s important to follow proven steps to maximize your efforts and to create something lasting and beneficial for your company and the communities where you work.
Here’s a look at six steps your organization can take to create a program that truly engages your employees.
1. Plan for Engagement From the Start
You need to plan for employee engagement before anything else. The best corporate volunteer programs use effective strategies for launching volunteer programs that will resonate and connect with their employees. Check out our recent blog post for five best practices for launching your program.
Spending a disproportionate amount of time on this first step is essential to creating engagement down the road. Effective planning will help ensure the long-term success of your workplace volunteering program.
2. Share and Promote the Event
Developing excellence in workplace volunteer programs means developing excellence in marketing and communications. Your event organizers need to share and promote volunteer opportunities in a way that connects with your workforce.
Get your entire organization excited about upcoming volunteer opportunities by communicating consistently. Your company likely has in place several internal communications channels. Identify the best channels for your volunteer program, and then communicate regularly as the event or volunteer opportunity draws closer.
It takes many touchpoints to move any audience member to action, no matter the campaign. Consistent communication can help engage your employees and get first-time volunteers to commit.
3. Connect Employees With the Bigger Picture
Some companies drive better engagement by connecting their volunteer programs with the bigger picture. Quotient, a leading digital media and promotions technology company, did this by completely revamping its philanthropy program to focus on three pillars: economic stability, technological equity and environmental stability.
The new program, called Quotient for Change, also incorporated specific tactics to drive greater engagement and participation. One such tactic was to shift from their previous offering of an annual giving day, and replace it with a Week of Action that expanded the company’s philanthropy program and also engaged a greater percentage of its workforce through both in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities.
When supported by a user-friendly platform, this type of connection between giving and volunteering campaigns can lead to better engagement. “With Bright Funds, we now have a singular platform where people can sign up to give or volunteer, regardless of their location, while easily tailoring the experience to align with our program’s mission and values,” explained Rachel Moret, Quotient, Senior Specialist, HR Programs.
4. Actively Motivate Employee Involvement to Amplify Impact
How can you motivate employees to participate in your program? The greater the percentage of employees who participate, the larger the impact your program can make. Try these approaches:
– Master Logistics
Highly organized volunteer programs result in better engagement and increased impact. Effectively managing logistics for your programs can include accessible signup portals, an engaging interface, and accurate tracking. You want to reduce any barriers to your employees getting involved as volunteers. An online, easy-to-use signup process, supported by confirmation emails and reminder messages that include key logistics, is a great start.
– Track Participation
By tracking hours, you set your organization and its volunteer program on a path to build momentum and perpetuate its volunteer program over the long term. You’ll want to eventually share the results of your volunteer program (more on this below), and you can only share impact results if you’re already tracking your total volunteer hours. Using a platform where employees can see the hours they volunteer begin to accumulate will go a long way toward keeping them excited and can even be used to set up team incentives and friendly competitions.
– Provide a Dollars-for-Doers Incentive
Creating a dollars-for-doers program is a great way to encourage volunteerism. In a dollar-for-doers program, a company gives credits (equal to dollar values) to employees based on volunteer hours they performed and they can use the credits to make donations to charitable organizations. These programs lead to greater participation in volunteer events.
5. Share Your Success to Build Momentum
Your volunteer event shouldn’t end with the event itself. Make sure to take photos and videos during the event. Track the number of volunteers and the number of hours worked. And use everything you have to build momentum for the next volunteer opportunity.
Studies indicate that the best corporate volunteer programs are ones that find the “sweet spot” of effectiveness. This includes a level of engagement and participation that’s high enough to create a positive impact without the company applying so much pressure that the program feels involuntary. To support this balance, continue to find ways to share the impact of your programs and recognize volunteer commitment. This approach can help maximize the impact your team makes through a nonprofit organization.
6. Find the Right Platform for Program Management
The right platform for volunteer program management streamlines both the employee and administrator experiences, empowering your organization to increase impact and engagement.
An effective volunteer program management platform can help you:
– Manage logistics effectively. Facilitate the creation of events.
– Create an easy, frictionless signup process.
– Track volunteer hours.
– Gather data to demonstrate impact.
At Bright Funds, we offer an employee volunteer program platform that supports an outstanding user experience while also lessening the administrative burden. Learn more: schedule a Bright Funds demo.