From additional days off to financial contributions to employees’ favourite charities, organisations are increasingly offering rewards and incentives to staff who volunteer in the community. The reasons are varied, ranging from supporting the local community, increasing employee engagement, and developing skills, to enhancing business reputation. But is corporate-sponsored volunteering indeed helping organisations reach these goals?
It depends on how it’s done. Here are 5 questions to consider as you plan your employee volunteering programme for this year, to ensure it delivers on its promises:
Why are you encouraging volunteering?
As with any project, clarifying the motivations behind corporate-sponsored volunteering is essential to enable effective strategies and the setting of KPIs. Do you want employees to find their jobs more meaningful? To feel more satisfied at the company? Or perhaps you want to strengthen relationships with the local community? Different goals, different strategies.
What’s in it for your employees?
Communicating the goal of the programme helps ensure support from the leadership and clarify how your employees can benefit from volunteering: are there incentives or rewards? Are they going to develop skills or meet new colleagues? Do they get to choose their favourite cause? It can’t be just about meeting business objectives; volunteering has to be something employees genuinely want to do.
Which causes will be supported?
There are at least two ways to approach this question, and they’re not mutually exclusive: your company might choose causes that align with your business activities and strategy, or you might let employees engage with their favourite causes. Company-wide activities may be great for team-wide volunteering, but employees also appreciate being able to volunteer individually for their chosen non-profits, either within or outside work hours.
How will it look from a logistical point of view?
The practical aspects are the next step. Will the volunteering opportunities be in your office, virtual, or in the community? What’s the time commitment? Will there be training? Do you need an external partner to support you with subject expertise or reaching beneficiaries? It’s also important to consider the length of your volunteering programme: long-term, ongoing programmes usually deliver the most impact for the community and the business.
How will you track and measure success?
To ensure your programme is the best it can be, you will need to track volunteer engagement and impact, and to set aside time to regularly analyse the results. Here are a few examples of KPIs to watch out for: hours of volunteering completed by staff; number and profile of beneficiaries; the effect of the programme on beneficiaries’ lives; the effect that volunteering is having on your employees. Let technology do most of the admin for this and focus on sharing the story of the impact your company is having on all stakeholders.