Volunteering best practices: Guide


As a corporate volunteer leader, you may find yourself searching for the best ways to support your people in finding a sense of purpose, connection and impact. We’re here to help!

Each person has a different volunteering journey motivated by their own passions and individual purpose. They’re seeking hyper‑personalized experiences that suit their interests. And they may have varying levels of comfort in volunteering in‑person vs. remotely.

Expanding your volunteering program to offer more relevant choice and encompass everyday actions — big or small — can drive major positive impact, for your people and your communities. Follow these 12 best practices to boost employee engagement and plan a safe and successful volunteering campaign this year:


1. Actively create volunteer opportunities that your employees can sign up for

Programs that provide volunteer opportunities have a 12X higher volunteer participation rate than those that don’t, according to 2019 Benevity client data.

Here's a quick guide on how to create a volunteer opportunity.


2. Enable and encourage employees to create volunteer opportunities for issues they care about

Each person’s journey with volunteering is unique, and your people will be more likely to get involved if there are opportunities that mean something to them. This will also help if you’re strapped for time and need help generating content.

To enable user-created volunteer opportunities, please send a request to help@benevity.com.


3. Build a culture of service so your employees know you’re behind them

This could include giving employees paid time off to volunteer, or your leadership setting an example by volunteering themselves or sponsoring an event.


4. Expand your program’s definition of volunteering

Consider including small acts of Goodness to your definition of volunteering. This allows your people to track the time they spend doing good for others and their communities. You can also reward this activity in the same way as you do with traditional volunteering.


5. Meet people where they are with the Benevity app

To make volunteering easy and accessible, give your people access to our mobile app. They can discover and sign up for opportunities, log volunteer hours and keep track of positive actions in real time. By uploading and sharing photos with Activity Streams, your users can help make the volunteering experience more social.

Find more information about the Benevity App in the Knowledge Base.


6. Combine giving with volunteering

Among employees who volunteer, 70% also donate money through their workplace giving programs. And when they do, they give twice as much as those who don’t volunteer.


7. Reward volunteers for their time — no matter how long or short

Offer rewards — like dollars for doers — as a way of recognizing people’s contributions (and providing them with financial incentives that they can direct to a cause of their choice).


8. Help your people easily find and identify virtual opportunities

Create an Event Descriptor with “Virtual” or #remote that’s tagged to virtual volunteer opportunities and create a Quick Filter for it. You can also create a Cover Story linking to the Quick Filter to see all remote opportunities in one place.

Here's a guide on how to set up Quick Filters


9. Include safe, in-person volunteering options

With the COVID-19 vaccine being rolled out worldwide, there will likely be a relaxing of in-person restrictions to allow for safe, in-person volunteering such as socially distance community clean ups.

Download the National Volunteer Week content kit for resources and ideas. Here are a few additional resources to help you navigate guidelines and recommendations:


10. Empower your Employee Resource Groups to inform, educate and engage

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are grassroots groups focused on building inclusive workplace cultures. Leverage their unique insights to educate and engage your people in important causes and expand their social impact.


11. Integrate Missions with your volunteering program

Missions empowers and motivates your employees to do more good through gamified and easy-to-complete activities. Consider integrating special volunteering opportunities that are only available to people participating in a Mission.

Here are some resources on Missions.


12. Make use of your local champions!

No one is more in touch with local nonprofits and employees than your champions. They can research and partner with organizations who need volunteers and encourage those organizations to create volunteer opportunities.

Check out our Goodness Guidebook and our Growing Global Employee Engagement Programs webinar to help you create your own Goodness community.


Download the full PDF version of this best practice guide by visiting the 2021 National Volunteer Week content resources.


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