A culture of community involvement can do wonders for a company. Not only does it strengthen your relationship with customers and generally improve your image, but employee volunteerism actually makes your employees happier. According to an e-book published by MicroEdge.com, employees who had regular or frequent opportunities to volunteer were more loyal and proud of their company, had a more positive view of the company culture, and were more likely to recommend the company to a friend.
Here are a few ways you can increase volunteerism among your employees:
Many employees will be interested in volunteering, but won't know where to start. By creating specific volunteering opportunities and events, you can give these employees an avenue to get started. Reach out to local non-profits and ask if they have any events that need a large group of people to help out. If you want a more regular opportunity, consider reaching out to tutoring programs or pet shelters: These types of non-profits are particularly likely to have volunteer schedules that run weekly or monthly.
Having a fun opportunity is great, but it's more important to make sure that there's a clear impact. When you send out information about the volunteer opportunity, be sure to include statistics and information about what the non-profit is doing, and how your employees' actions will fit in. When people can see that they're making a difference, they're more likely to be interested and passionate in the activity.
Provide a Call to Action
Once you have a specific event or opportunity in mind, it's not enough to let employees know it exists. Be sure to use action phrases when you reach out to people, like "Volunteer for X" or "Sign Up for Y." Encourage them to reach out with more details if they're interested.
If you can, invite someone from the non-profit to come and give a presentation about the opportunity and its effects. People who attend the informational meeting are likely to move forward in the process and volunteer.
Make employees more interested in volunteering by offering incentives to those who give some of their time to a cause. Make team shirts for those going to events, or reward employees who volunteer with personalized notepads.
To ensure that the volunteering is part of your company's efforts and not just something they do in their spare time, consider giving employees some PTO days specifically for volunteering. You can set aside a number of days per year, quarter, or month that employees can dedicate to a cause: This way you're not inadvertently punishing employees who choose to participate.
Give Some Wiggle Room
The people who work for you might already have a cause or organization they're passionate about. Encourage these employees by letting their volunteer activities count toward any incentives or allowances your company provides.
You can also give employees the chance to pitch their favorite organizations for future company volunteer opportunities. If there's a big event coming up or an interesting program, other employees may also be interested in lending a hand.
Ask for Feedback
Regularly ask your employees to let you know what they think of your company's volunteerism. How often it makes sense to do this will depend on how frequently your company offers volunteer opportunities. If you have two or three opportunities a year, it might be best to ask after each one. If you're volunteering more regularly than that, you may want to send a survey around once a quarter, or even once a year.
Ask your employees if they're enjoying their volunteer opportunities and if there are any activities or causes they'd like to see more of in the future. This is also a great chance to gauge employee satisfaction and see the impact your volunteerism efforts are making.