With the holidays fast approaching, you and your team may be looking for ways to give back to the community. Many organizations have paid time off for employees to volunteer as one of their perks. Why not host a company volunteer day!
Volunteer days are about much more than getting some excitement in the office. There are also other benefits of a volunteer day:
Employees like environments where they are compensated fairly, challenged, and have similar values and ways of living. Volunteer days can demonstrate and promote company culture.
Aiding a cause can make your company appealing to employees, most of whom see social purpose as important. On top of employees seeing volunteer work as important, the same applies to the consumer, many of whom see social responsibility as impactful on their decisions.
It can also be a great opportunity for employees to develop their skills or frame them in new contexts, such as cooperation, taking leadership positions, or exploring new perspectives. All of which can be helpful back at the office.
But maybe the most impactful benefit of a volunteer day is the help itself. Everything else is just the cherry on top!
There are many avenues for achieving these volunteer-based goals. This includes Volunteer Time Off (VTO) which encourages employees to volunteer while providing them compensation, volunteer programs that can be coordinated with non-profit organizations or by the company, or the volunteer day, which provides the most choice between the three options and brings the team together.
Once you decide that your company could benefit from a volunteer day, it's time to start planning. It’s a good idea to start planning several months in advance to consider the schedules of employees. A good idea can be to select several dates and times, then take a poll.
Who needs help and what can you do? This is the best place to start your planning process. Look for local organizations that could benefit from more people helping or global organizations. It can be helpful to look for organizations that can benefit from the knowledge work that your team can offer, such as helping them with their website, or doing a social media audit.
Ask your team for organizations they’ve worked with before, places they have connections to, or ones they care about. Also align with management to double-check that your selected nonprofit aligns with corporate goals and standards.
Will you choose a VTO option, a volunteer program or a volunteer day? What is the date with the least amount of conflicts for the event? What sort of activities will employees be able to contribute to? How will you promote the day and get the team involved? Ensure there is management buy-in and support for the event, which will ensure employees get the day off to volunteer and encourage participation.
Organizing, incentivizing, and accounting for your volunteer day can take many different forms, but be sure to check with accounting and HR. Work closely with the chosen organization to ensure things run smoothly and all logistics are planned out. Send emails and Slack messages to encourage participation. When the day is near, send updates to all participants so they know where they’re going, what they’ll be doing, for how long, what to expect for lunch, any post-volunteering events, etc. Epoch can help streamline this process.
Gather the team after the volunteer day and look around. What are everyone’s thoughts and impressions? After this feedback, consider how everyone returns to work. A lot of benefits from a volunteer day come in the days after the volunteering takes place.
For some extra recognition for the partner organization and from consumers, create a blog post, edit a video, or write a newsletter about the volunteer day. While beneficial for branding and marketing, it can also excite your team for the next volunteer day.
If you wish to make your team a part of the volunteer experience, think about gathering everyone for a volunteer day. Benefits include brand recognition, increase team synergy, and aid those who need it all at once.