A Volunteer Refresh: 8 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Corporate Volunteer Program

Several new volunteer strategies are emerging as a means to more effectively utilize the talents of participants in volunteer programs and magnify the effects of their philanthropic efforts. In the spirit of this refreshing summer season, we offer you 8 ways to help bring new energy to your current corporate volunteer programs and examples of companies that are already finding immense success by incorporating them.

1. Team Volunteering

A great benefit to team volunteering is that it gives employees an opportunity to volunteer in a more social environment. As the millennial generation in particular gradually begins to permeate the business world, companies are being encouraged to find ways that support their desire to work collaboratively. Team volunteering provides exponentially increased value to non-profits because the more individuals involved, the more they are able to accomplish.

Verizon Wireless has begun implementing this collaborative style of volunteering by matching teams of 10 or more volunteers up to $10,000. Interested in learning more? Click here.

2. Skills-Based Volunteering (SBV)

By focusing on personal and professional skills of the individual volunteer, skills-based volunteering is able to provide more long-term value to the non-profit; up to 500% greater than traditional volunteering. Additionally, skills-based volunteerism expands the employee’s skill sets and provides for a greater sense of satisfaction by using their personal expertise. For instance, a technology firm might utilize SBV by cleaning up a non-profit’s donor database, or an accounting firm might do a non-profit’s taxes for free.

Deloitte offers 1,200 pro bono projects that specialize in their extensive knowledge about consulting, tax, and advisory service. Discover more about what Deloitte does here.

For more ideas, please watch our 6th episode of #GDGShares that provides additional information on the benefits in utilizing skills based volunteering here.

3. Virtual Volunteering

In this age of rapidly growing technological advances, what could be more convenient than volunteering that can be done via your computer? Virtual volunteering offers a solution to those who don’t have the time to actually work on site at a non-profit. By making volunteer opportunities accessible any time or any place, corporate volunteer programs are able to reach an entirely new population of volunteers that have yet to be utilized.

Hewlett Packard’s HP Life program virtually trains students, entrepreneurs, and small business owners from all over the world to help create stable jobs and prosperous companies. Find out more here.

4. Community-based Volunteering

This style of volunteerism is a fun way to get involved not only with your local community, but also with your family, friends, or your customer base. One of the largest benefits is that this will extend the company’s volunteer impact beyond its own employees to include the surrounding community.

Belk does a great job of focusing on assisting nonprofits local to their stores to help improve the surrounding community in a more immediate and impactful way. Hear more about how Good Done Great participated in one of Belk’s community based volunteer opportunities here.

5. International Volunteering

Many large companies offer employees the opportunity to volunteer abroad. By extending volunteering internationally, the corporation has the opportunity to gain insight about expanding into different global markets. Employees increase their leadership and management skills as well as develop their own professional abilities. Volunteering internationally allows the company to serve a more diverse population of recipients. It also generates global improvements more than any of the other volunteer strategies.

The Grameen Foundation offers a program called Bankers without Borders (that’s not just for bankers), which helps connect professionals with international volunteer opportunities.

PepsiCo has created many international volunteer projects for its employees. Past international volunteer opportunities have included groups of employees from around the world meeting in Ghana to help improve access to safe water and promote eco-tourism. Learn more here.

6. Day of Volunteering

A day of volunteering within a company is a wonderful way to boost employee engagement. Not only does volunteering build teamwork within departments, it also builds leadership and utilizes the professional skills of those involved. Most volunteer projects are long term and require months or even years of planning, but by creating a day of volunteering people can come together to make a big impact in less than 24 hours. Building a home with Habitat for Humanity, building a community garden, or picking up trash at a local park are all great quick days of volunteering.

Good Done Great’s employees spent a fun day outside by volunteering with Keep Charleston Beautiful. We were able to collect over 620 pounds of litter, 25 bags of trash, and five tires from the surrounding marshlands.

7. Disaster-Based Volunteering

Disaster-based volunteering extends the impact of a traditional matching gifts disaster relief program by supplying properly trained employees who can offer specialized disaster relief assistance. Ready When the Time Comes is a program sponsored by the American Red Cross that trains corporate employees to volunteer based upon their rigorous standards. Appropriate disaster-based volunteer training prevents the challenges of working with employees that might not be knowledgeable about how to apply their specific skill to disaster relief.

Volunteers from Tyson Foods were able to provide more than 17,000 meals to victims and relief workers that were affected by the destructive twin tornadoes in Pilger, Nebraska. 

8. Dollars for Doers Programs/ Volunteer Grant Programs

The Dollars for Doers programs incentivize volunteering by providing cash grants to non-profits. An employee will volunteer for an organization of their choice, and in return the employer will send a charitable gift to the non-profit they volunteered for based upon the number of hours the employee volunteered. This style of volunteering allows the employee to choose where they would like to volunteer based on what is important to them. Because this style of giving is personalized, the individual employee engagement is much higher.

Microsoft offers a dollar-for-dollar match to nearly any school or organization the employee wishes and limits each employee to a generous $15,000 matched donation per year. Read more here.

We hope this inspires you to revitalize your company’s corporate volunteer program. These strategies will create more effective volunteering programs, encourage employee participation, and increase philanthropic donations. So get outside, take advantage of the beautiful summer weather, and make the world a better place!

This post was authored by Juliette Cheatham, Good Done Great Marketing Intern.