Volunteering best practices: Guide

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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 choices 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. Create volunteer opportunities
  2. Encourage user-created volunteer opportunities
  3. Build a culture of service
  4. Expand your program’s definition of volunteering
  5. Meet people where they are with the Benevity app
  6. Combine giving with volunteering
  7. Reward volunteers for their time
  8. Help your people find virtual opportunities
  9. Include safe, in-person volunteering options
  10. Empower your Employee Resource Groups
  11. Integrate positive actions
  12. Make use of your local champions

Be sure to download this guide and share!


 

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

Adding volunteer opportunities to your corporate purpose program increases overall participation by 67%.

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

 

2. Encourage and enable 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 (available in app stores). They can discover and sign up for opportunities, log volunteer hours and keep track of positive actions in real time. They can even make their volunteer experience more social by uploading and sharing photos.

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 nonprofit 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 more widespread vaccinations and restrictions lifting in many regions, more in-person volunteering will likely start to take place. 

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 positive actions with your volunteering program

The Missions module empowers and motivates your employees to do more good through gamified and easy-to-complete activities. Consider integrating special volunteer 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 Ambassador Guide 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.

 

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