Running Your Business

How to Encourage Employee Volunteering at Your Company

  • Offer your staff opportunities to volunteer at work, as well as a list of off-site events they can participate in

  • Incentivize volunteering by paying your employees for the time they spend helping others

  • Financial contributions are also a great way to give back to your community as a company

Posted by July 30, 2019

We all know that employee volunteering is a valuable way to give back to the surrounding community. But it also benefits companies themselves, fostering collaboration, improving engagement and potentially boosting your reputation as a great place to work.

You’re probably thinking, that’s all well and good, but how do I entice my staff to participate?

First off, it must be abundantly clear that while corporate social responsibility initiatives enhance your company’s image, volunteering isn’t a publicity stunt. You want to emphasize that helping other people is simply the right thing to do. And through volunteering at work, your employees can do just that—together.

On a professional level, volunteering can help your employees form close-knit bonds within their teams. And on a personal level, it can bolster their self-confidence. After all, doing good makes you feel good, too.

Your employees may be on the fence about using their limited time to volunteer, so here are a few ways you can encourage them to give giving back a chance.

Let Them Volunteer on Company Time

Want to see an increase in employee volunteering in your organization? Incentivize it. Humans are busy. Your employees are already on the clock for 40—or more—hours per week and have commitments outside of work that consume the rest of their time. They may want to volunteer but find that life keeps getting in the way.

So, consider letting them give back while on the clock. By establishing a policy that gives employees paid time off to devote exclusively to volunteering, you’ll give staffers who are normally too busy to participate a chance to join in.

This time away from the office can also provide your more burnt out staffers with a much-needed break, meaning they’ll be more likely to return to work refreshed and energized for the tasks ahead.

Offer Volunteering Opportunities

Besides finding the time to do it, your employees may also be struggling to choose a volunteer opportunity that they truly care about. Provide them with a variety of on-site employee volunteering options, such as assembling care packages for soldiers overseas or workshopping essays for local students, so they can serve a cause they’re passionate about—without having to leave the office.

Another option is to create a running list of volunteer opportunities that staffers can sign up for at any time. Routinely reach out to community organizations to find out how your company can help, and then refresh this list monthly on your organization’s intranet. Let employees contribute their own ideas, too. They may brainstorm creative volunteering options that you hadn’t even considered, such as mentoring student athletes or assisting a senior community with strenuous tasks.

Volunteer as a Group

Planning a group volunteering event, whether on-site or off, can encourage more employees to give back. Sometimes, social anxiety might prevent them from volunteering. But if they can do it with their peers, they might sign up after all.

Try sponsoring a large group event, like repainting a community playground or representing your company in an all-fitness-levels-welcomed 5K for charity.

You can also donate your company’s services. For example, a marketing company could volunteer to produce the branding and website design for a local animal shelter. Your company’s industry can influence which off-site and in-house volunteering options may suit your staff.

Make Financial Contributions

If accommodating employee volunteering is logistically challenging, there’s still a way you can empower your staff to be philanthropic. Let your employees choose a charity for your company to donate to. Then, encourage your staff to donate by matching their contributions. Make sure they know that donating is optional, but that even a small gift can make a big difference.

There are so many ways to give back as an organization, but it’s important to afford your employees the opportunity to join in on these efforts. Employee volunteering boosts morale and serves the broader community. By giving your employees the time and tools to volunteer, you can help them promote their community’s flourishing.

Looking for tools and resources to increase engagement at your office? Check out United Concordia Dental’s Benefits Bridge for more best practices.

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