Corporate Volunteering Programs
Everything You Need to Know

What is a Corporate Volunteering Program?

A Corporate Volunteering Program is defined by Points of Light as a “planned, managed effort that seeks to motivate and enable employees to effectively serve community needs through the leadership of the employer.”

Corporate Volunteering Programs help businesses increase brand awareness among the community while at the same time giving their employees an opportunity to perform charitable acts in a simulated business environment. A Corporate Volunteering Program also enables a company to build strong ties with local communities and address social responsibility goals which contributes to improved public perception of the business, increased employee retention and stronger on-the-job morale.

Corporate volunteering programs can also be called workplace volunteer programs, employee volunteer programs, and company volunteer programs. These programs are typically built to support a company’s larger corporate social responsibility program or community engagement program.

Companies may have specific reasoning for building employee volunteer programs like building a positive brand reputation or increasing employee engagement.

How Do Corporate Volunteering Programs Work?

A Corporate Volunteering Program is defined by Points of Light as a “planned, managed effort that seeks to motivate and enable employees to effectively serve community needs through the leadership of the employer.” 

Corporate Volunteering Programs help businesses increase brand awareness among the community while at the same time giving their employees an opportunity to perform charitable acts in a simulated business environment. A Corporate Volunteering Program also enables a company to build strong ties with local communities and address social responsibility goals which contributes to improved public perception of the business, increased employee retention and stronger on-the-job morale.

Corporate volunteering programs can also be called workplace volunteer programs, employee volunteer programs, and company volunteer programs. These programs are typically built to support a company’s larger corporate social responsibility program or community engagement program. 

Companies may have specific reasoning for building employee volunteer programs like building a positive brand reputation or increasing employee engagement.

Which Corporate Volunteering Program is Right for my Company?

Thinking of starting on the road to becoming a better corporate citizen, but not sure where to start? There are many things you need to consider before beginning a Corporate Volunteering Program.

Considerations

1

  • Your company's strengths and limitations
  • Where you would like to focus the program

Your company will benefit from determining which programs work best for it and how much time, effort, and money should be dedicated to each. Make sure that the program fits in with your company's vision statement, mission statement and core values.

2

  • The causes your company will support
  • What employees are passionate about

Simply put, make sure they are worthy of your time and effort! Good causes should be manageable given the time available, but also offer the chance to make a meaningful impact; they should also be something that employees can relate to both on a professional and personal level. You need to ensure that the cause is one that employees are passionate about, something they can work towards achieving, which will make them invested in the program's success.

3

Choose a charitable partner for your Corporate Volunteering Program. 
  • Shares the same goals as you do. 
  • A reputable organization with expertise in the particular cause you are supporting.
  • A strong understanding of your business and your goals from the beginning

If all of the above are met, your corporate partner will be able to design a suitable plan for success that is integrated into their company's existing operations.

Why are Corporate Volunteering Programs Important?

Corporate volunteering programs are becoming increasingly important as the demand for businesses to give back to their communities grows. In addition, employers have the resources to make a larger impact than individual volunteers because of the sheer number of employees they can deploy to causes. Not only are employee volunteer programs great for our communities, but they are in the company’s best interest when the following advantages are considered:

  • Improves corporate brand image on local, national, and international levels
  • Supports external relations with key stakeholders
  • Provides employees with team-building opportunities, thus increasing company loyalty and employee morale
  • Provides employees with an outlet to get out of the office and break up their work schedule, thus increasing employee engagement and employee productivity
  • Attractive to Millennial job seekers
  • Places the company as a positive role model in the community

Employee volunteer programs are important for employee morale, better employee retention and more.

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Corporate Volunteering Statistics

If you’re still not convinced that corporate volunteering programs matter, here are a few statistics that prove how valuable they are:

  • 71% of employees firmly believe that their employers expect them to be a socially responsible company.  (Charities.org)
  • 77% of employers believe that offering employee engagement opportunities is essential to recruiting millennials. (America’s Charities Snapshot Employer Research)
  • Corporate volunteering programs have been shown to reduce employee turnover by as much as 50% and increase productivity by at least 13%.
  • 61% of Millennials want to work for a company that offers volunteering opportunities.
  • 86% of employees would consider leaving their current job to work for one with an excellent corporate reputation.

How to Start a Corporate Volunteering Program

Starting a corporate volunteering program can make even the most experienced HR professional overwhelmed. Having a step-by-step plan is recommended so that every consideration is taken into account. You’ll want to make sure you’ve identified the right employees to target and to ensure the program fits the needs of your organization and employees.

How can I get started?

When it comes to Corporate Volunteering, each company faces different restrictions, strengths, and objectives. When picking the best activities for your company, it's important to know what you hope to get out of it. The following are some examples of common Corporate Volunteering events that might assist you in planning:

01

Goods and Services

One approach to help right away is to donate food, clothes, or other needs to a community in need. This activity might also include giving your time to work with those who are less fortunate. Providing goods and services immediately is best suited for larger organizations with a long-term commitment to the cause.

02

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship possibilities are a wonderful method to enhance your company's goodwill. A collaboration with a charity or school may strengthen community ties and provide interaction between you, your team, and the local public. Consider sponsorships as providing you the opportunity to leverage your organization's strengths without having to make a direct financial contribution.

03

Community Outreach Programs

Corporate Volunteering programs are some of the most important activities for your program as they help you strengthen ties with your local communities and give your employees the chance to network with their peers, which benefits business-related activities as well. Programs like employee volunteering, school visits and fundraising events, are all community outreach programs your corporate volunteers can become involved with.

04

Company Funded Projects

When it comes time to volunteer their time helping charities or other organizations in need, your company may benefit from crowdfunding. This method may be helpful for your organization to give back to the community at some point. You will still receive goodwill benefits because you are contributing to a community project without having to put forth significant resources.

05

Wellness Programs

Employees who are healthy and satisfied with their job will be less inclined to take sick days, so offering wellness programs is another wonderful way for your company to give back. This activity will not only create happier and healthier employees, but it will also help them perform better in their daily tasks. You may give health initiatives to employees while also participating in your local community.

As you can see, there are many different opportunities for Corporate Volunteering that will suit any size business or industry. By leveraging the resources your company already has in place, you'll be able to make a long-term impact on your local community. The most successful initiatives all have one thing in common: a well-thought-out plan.

Steps for starting a corporate volunteering program:

Define your focus to align with employee and company values. Tailor the program to fit your company’s specific and unique needs. Create achievable and granular goals to ensure you can both reach and measure them. Put together a pitch to get leadership buy-in and budget access. Get support from company leadership to kick off employee participation. Prepare for objectors. Create a meaningful experience by surveying employees on their expectations and needs. Communicate to employees via email, meetings, social media and company intranet. Integrate volunteerism into your culture. Set quarterly milestones to adjust, tweak, check measurements and connect with stakeholders.


Expand on these steps with more insight and tips in our article, 10 Steps for Starting an Employee Volunteer Program.

Corporate Volunteering Program Development Best Practices

Make it attractive to all employees: The evidence is overwhelming that employees want to give when given the opportunity. So you’ve got to create opportunities for them. From skills development pro bono programs to teamwork-focused outings, there can be programs for everyone to participate in, no matter their fitness or skill level.

Communicate across multiple channels: People can’t join if they don’t know about your program. While email alerts, SMS text, or internal groups as well as traditional means like flyers and company meetings are great to spread the word, there’s nothing like a complete organization management system to coordinate your employees’ philanthropic goals.

Provide alternatives to the main focus: Sometimes dates and times don’t work out for everyone else or people would rather give monetary gifts. Give them options to contribute even if they can’t be physically there or find the time in their schedule to volunteer.

Make it mobile: Today’s workforce needs options that are available on the go. If your program is hidden behind an impenetrable firewall or buried in the company intranet, it may be extremely hard to gain company-wide traction. Offer opportunities that employees can access anytime, anywhere.

Why are Employee Volunteer Programs Important?

Volunteerism in the workplace can increase employee morale, boost retention, and more.

Employee Volunteer Programs Better the Employee's Well-Being  

In organizations where employers provide volunteer opportunities to their employees, workers are happier, less turnover occurs in general, and the workforce is healthier as a result of studies. The company's reputation is improved as a result of this. 

For example, decreased levels of depression across all ranks of employees will result in greater production output per employee. Also, when an organization conducts frequent surveys to assess employee satisfaction with decision-making practices, it may reflect research that shows those who are given these chances for community service are happier at home and at work. 

Employees Receive More Job Satisfaction 

Employees who frequently volunteer not only become more satisfied with their jobs but are also more satisfied with their jobs as a whole. The correlation between job satisfaction and community service has been proven by research.

Employees are More Productive 

Service to the community not only improves quality of work, but it also enhances employee self-esteem, which leads to higher productivity levels. It also lowers absenteeism and employee turnover rates. 

Turnover is a significant expense for any organization since it entails the loss of important skills and knowledge that will have to be recaptured through training or recruitment, which is not inexpensive. Employee turnover also disrupts employees' normal work routines because new workers may not have a solid grasp on how they can help their team

Employee Volunteer Programs Boost Employee Morale 

Employees must be motivated by their employers in order to stay interested and enthusiastic about their jobs. Every business, like any other organization, requires relief from burnout, monotony, and overwork. A corporate volunteer program is the ideal method to boost employee morale while also ensuring that they can give back to society.

Employee Volunteer Programs Increase Community Involvement 

Employees must be motivated by their employers in order to stay interested and enthusiastic about their jobs. Every business, like any other organization, requires relief from burnout, monotony, and overwork. A corporate volunteer program is the ideal method to boost employee morale while also ensuring that they can give back to society.

Employee Volunteer Programs Build Employee Leadership Skills 

When businesses form their staff into teams that volunteer together on a regular basis, such as once a month or every quarter, it's easy to see how this will have a beneficial influence on employee morale. It provides employees with the opportunity to develop leadership abilities when they are allowed to create volunteer initiatives.

Employee Volunteer Programs Strengthen Business-Community Partnerships 

Businesses and communities benefit when they have a positive relationship with key stakeholders, such as suppliers, customers, government agencies, and the community at large.

Employee Volunteer Programs Help Develop Community Leadership 

Employers that regularly involve their workers in volunteerism efforts are also giving them the chance to learn leadership skills and make a constructive contribution to their communities. Employees who frequently engage in volunteerism activities at work are seen as community leaders by their neighbors.

Employee Volunteer Programs Support the Needs of Employees 

Through an employee volunteer program, employees are able to identify with opportunities that are meaningful to them, which is important for employee engagement. Organizations need to make it easier for employees to access programs that will benefit them in both their personal and business lives.

Employee Volunteer Programs Give Back to the Community 

Employee volunteer programs provide organizations the opportunity to give back to the communities in which they operate, which is beneficial to their bottom line as well as their brand image and reputation. Employers who integrate volunteering into their whole corporate plan may profit from attracting skilled employees seeking for methods to make a meaningful contribution in society by offering them opportunities to do so.

Employee Volunteer Programs Reduce Employee Turnover 

A good company volunteer program can assist in reducing staff turnover, which is beneficial for businesses as it means they will be able to keep top employees. When organizations provide their staff with opportunities to volunteer on a regular basis, they can decrease their employee turnover rate and gain from the increased production that comes with a more engaged workforce.

Ideas for Corporate Volunteering

It may be daunting to brainstorm those first few corporate volunteering opportunities, but don’t let that stop you! There are many different ideas out there and, with a little research, you’ll find some that fit the culture you’ve created at your organization. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

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How to Start a Corporate Volunteer Program

  1. Decide if you want a corporate volunteer program for your company and what your goals and objectives are.
  2. Figure out who would like to participate in the program and how to get them involved.
  3. Decide which skills or industries will be needed most in the community you will be volunteering with and at what time.
  4. Figure out where potential volunteer activities can take place such as in a homeless shelter, hospital, library, etc.
  5. Identify an individual or group that will need to approve of the project before it can go ahead into action( this may be the local government.)
  6. Designate a lead person who will organize any necessary supplies and volunteers.
  7. Help the lead person form a committee that they can turn to for help.
  8. Create a date for the event and send out invitations.
  9. Publicize the program as much as possible including through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter or by creating flyers.
  10. Plan a celebration portion as this will help bring people closer together and help reinforce the experience.

Corporate Volunteering Benefits

Corporate volunteering benefits employees and employers in so many ways! In fact, studies show that employee volunteering contributes to a happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce. Some statistics that show these valuable benefits are: 

77% of survey respondents believe that volunteerism is essential to employee well-being 89% think that company-sponsored volunteer activities create a better working environment 77% of Millennials would prefer to volunteer with their coworkers 96% say that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life

 

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Volunteer Program Development Best Practices

Walmart has a volunteer program that encourages its employees to give back. Walmart employees can explore options by department or skillset. In addition, volunteers are available in other countries. Walmart's culture is based on the idea of giving back, which is why they have this initiative.

The Morning Foods Company has a volunteer initiative called "Morning Foods Cares" that is based on the company's original ideals. To increase access to food for low-income families, the business teamed up with Feeding America to create a plan. Donating funds to local food banks and collecting food donations in their region are two initiatives among others.

Employees at Ford may volunteer their time through an employee volunteer program, which enables them to work on projects both inside and outside of the company. The objectives at the business are intended to provide employees with useful skills. Community outreach is one of many themes that runs throughout many of these initiatives, which is beneficial for business since it establishes important connections with other companies

Robotic Hobbyists is a non-profit organization made up of both hobbyist and professional robotic model builders that uses its talents to benefit the community. The group runs several different robotics lessons and events, in which participants learn about robotics ideas by constructing either little models or a complete robot. Members also organize volunteer gatherings at schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers,

Corporate Volunteering Examples

Banks were greatly impacted by the pandemic in their ability to offer back to their communities, but they were forced to pivot to virtual volunteering. US Bank has extremely high participation rates in its volunteer programs, which are a major part of the US bank's culture. Through the U.S. Bank Volunteers program, employees of 70,000 people are inspired to engage in their communities in whatever way they feel called to do so. 

CYBR-US-Bank-Logo-BarRead more about how US Bank successfully reshaped their volunteerism program

During their National Day of Service, members of Clif Bar's CLIF Corps volunteer program got their hands dirty at national parks, monuments, and historic sites across the United States and Canada. For Clif Bar, organizing 25 service projects over several locations on one day with 475 people in total was no easy feat.

CYBR-Clif-Bar-Logo-BarRead more about how Clif Bar organized so many volunteers in a single day

In this new world, there are also some difficulties associated with shifting to virtual volunteering, such as ensuring that participants have the appropriate technology or equipment, potential connectivity issues, working across time zones, and changing family dynamics. Approaching these challenges requires mindfulness of the type of opportunities being presented to employees. 

CYBR-J&J-Logo-BarRead more about how J&J addressed these challenges and offered a variety of flexible options for their employees.

How to Encourage Volunteerism

Encouraging volunteerism in your company can be done through incentives like paid time off, but did you know there are other ways to encourage employees to volunteer? In our article, 4 Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Employee Volunteering, we share a few ideas that may be helpful to your company as well:

#1 - Incentivize Volunteers with Gift Cards - Learn what you shouldn’t forget to do if you choose this option!

#2 - Treat Employee Volunteers to Lunch - No chains, please! Opt for a locally-owned restaurant to support your local community.

Get the rest of the ideas here!

Did you know?  67% of managers were more likely to volunteer if their co-workers participated. 77% of managers are more likely to volunteer if they are able to use their specific skill set. 77% of the millennial workforce would prefer to volunteer with their coworkers.

 

Quick Benefits of Corporate Volunteering

  • Employees can build their skills and give back to the world
  • They help companies make valuable connections with other businesses in the region
  • It builds a sense of responsibility and charity within employees and company culture 
  • It sets up a system where an employee nominates another coworker for one on one volunteering opportunities
  • It gives employees a chance to do something outside of their skill sets and work environment
  • Companies can gain increased customer and community support which is good for business 
  • Companies can create corporate citizenship programs that help increase the company's image in the world
  • Companies can attract and retain employees by promoting their volunteering efforts

Volunteer Incentive Program

From offering employees paid time off or hosting company-wide volunteer events, there’s so much you can do to create a volunteer incentive program. No matter the size of your organization, you can increase employee participation in volunteering by providing incentives. We can learn a thing or two about volunteer incentive programs from companies like Novo Nordisk, PCL Construction, and Cadence. In fact, take a look at this article to get ideas for your very own volunteer incentive program!

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Here are a few simple tips we’ve pulled from these leading companies:

  • Novo Nordisk’s (@novonordisk) “Changing Our Communities” program is genius. It was launched in 2015 to track and help employees find volunteer opportunities. Employees may submit projects they want to work on, and Novo Nordisk will make a monetary donation to the organization in honor of the employee or department.
  • Make this work for your company: Can’t afford to donate to every organization your employees submit? Here’s a budget-friendly solution; host a company-wide contest that invites anyone to submit ideas for a company-wide volunteer day! Set a monetary amount for project submissions like $5 or $10 or more if you want (depending on the size of your company). Then, take all submissions and stack them against each other to get all of your employees to vote for the best one.

Get more volunteer incentive program ideas!

So what do you think? We’re going to keep adding to this page until we’ve compiled the largest collection of employee volunteer program content out there! What do you want to see added?

Volunteer Programs Development Best Practices

Companies that want to devise their own corporate volunteer program should follow these best practices: 

Before asking employees to select what they would like to do, companies should create a list of the skills required for long-term projects.

During long-term volunteer efforts, companies may host team-building events to make workers feel more invested in the project.

Provide a host of potential projects for employees so that they know what kind of volunteering opportunities are available. 

Always set a deadline and give a clear idea about how much time they will need to dedicate before asking them to volunteer for an event/program.

Have a plan in place for what they will do if an employee decides not to participate in a team volunteer effort, which will help decrease no-shows. 

Offer flexible options that allow them to choose how much time they can give during any one event. Employees often have very busy schedules and flexible volunteering programs can help.