5 Steps to Launch Work Volunteer Efforts
April is National Volunteer Month, and it’s a great time to start researching ways you and your company can start giving back.
In addition to the many benefits of volunteering for the nonprofit sector, there are many benefits to individuals who volunteer, including boosting your health and well-being. With April approaching in National Volunteer Month, it’s a great time to start.
Volunteerism is a not only a great way to help underserved communities, it’s also good for your overall health, boosts employee morale and office culture, and promotes teamwork.
According to a study by United Health Care: 88 percent of people who volunteered in the past 12 months noted an increase in self-esteem, with 93 percent noting an improvement in mood, 78 percent felt they have greater control over their health and well-being, and 7 percent experienced lower stress levels.
Additionally, according to Volunteer Hub, volunteerism has a financial value of over $184 billion.
Here are five tips I have found helpful to motivate my colleagues to get involved and give back to the nonprofits in the communities where one works and lives:
1. Start a volunteer committee or employee resource group.
Creating a committee among employees helps to identify causes that are important to the group. A committee will ensure that multiple voices are heard and a variety of causes will be represented, ultimately leading to higher participation rates. Have each committee member be responsible for recruiting and promoting the opportunity within their department.
2. Consider launching a matching gift program.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brownstein launched its “Karma Bucks Program,” providing employee-directed charitable donations on behalf of those who volunteered for firm-sponsored volunteer events. Creating a matching gift program incentivizes participation, increases collective impact, and can also provide educational opportunities around philanthropy and charitable giving.
3. Schedule a variety of different volunteer opportunities.
Create a monthly or quarterly volunteer event where employees can easily sign up to volunteer. Consider including a variety of dates, times, and locations to accommodate varying schedules. Virtual opportunities are an additional way to diversify options. Select multiple nonprofits and causes to appeal to employees with differing interests.
Encourage employees to bring family, including children! We have found that causes that cater to animals, food relief, and children are especially engaging and can provide impactful volunteer opportunities.
4. Don’t reinvent the wheel — consider skills-based volunteering.
Skills-based volunteering is when an individual or company uses their professional skills to assist a nonprofit organization free of charge. For example, those in finance or accounting can help a nonprofit with a review of their accounting system; an attorney can help with a variety of legal issues, such as reviewing a nonprofit’s bylaws or anti-discrimination practices; and those in marketing can assist with a marketing or branding plan.
Skills-based volunteering is a great way to leverage employees’ skill sets to create social impact. Importantly, skills-based volunteering relieves a nonprofit’s limited assets and helps to keep their overhead costs down. To get started, I encourage you to visit Catchafire for this type of volunteer effort.
5. Start or launch a board service program.
Help employees identify a nonprofit board to join. This is a great opportunity for employees to share their expertise with nonprofits, expand their networks, and gain leadership skills. Nonprofits are often looking for board members with different backgrounds and talents to help oversee the nonprofit and ensure a sustainable future.
At Brownstein, we share board opportunities in a monthly newsletter, and offer individual consulting to our employees to find a board opportunity that meets their needs while providing annual board service trainings. Spark the Change Colorado is a great resource to help guide board service programs.
Volunteerism is a not only a great way to help underserved communities, it’s also good for your overall health, boosts employee morale and office culture, and promotes teamwork. When working with colleagues on something for the greater good, employees feel more connected as a team, which also benefits the work being done day-to-day in the office. If your company is open to starting or expanding their volunteerism efforts, these are some easy steps to get the program started and inspire others you work with to give back.
Jayme Ritchie is the Director of Community Relations for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.