Employee volunteer programs are becoming increasingly important as the need for businesses to give back to their communities grows. In the wake of the pandemic, volunteer programs have shifted to support a digital world and virtual volunteerism is here to stay.
In CyberGrants’ video, Managing Volunteering in a Virtual Environment with Johnson & Johnson, Saadia Malik and Yezenia Ramos of Johnson & Johnson discuss the benefits and unique upsides of virtual volunteering. They also share the types of opportunities available, steps to consider, and tips on how to kick off a virtual volunteer program that makes an impact for the causes you care about most.
Why virtual volunteering?
Businesses should consider the following benefits of virtual volunteering:
- Improves corporate brand image on local, national, and international levels
- Supports external relations with key stakeholders and partner nonprofit organisations
- 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 productivity
- Attractive to millennial job seekers
- Places the company as a positive role model in the community
- Improves the ability to recruit high performers and retain them
- Develops employee skills such as leadership, teamwork, and communication
- Determine the duration of your campaign. You can select one company-wide volunteering day or set up your campaign to last the entire month. Each company is different, so make sure to determine the duration of your campaign based on what suits your culture.
- Set achievable goals and guidelines. You set the goals and let your employees decide what charities, organisations, or communities they want to serve. The best way to engage your team is to offer multiple options for how employees can become involved. Offering flexibility with time requirements and duration makes getting involved easy and manageable for everyone.
- Enlist local advocates. You can't be everywhere at once, so developing a team of trusted liaisons to advocate for volunteerism locally will make all the difference. They can help with communication and encourage other employees to share their participation with members of their team as well. On average, 77 per cent of employees are more likely to volunteer if their co-workers participated.
- Provide an incentive. Give employees the ability to set up teams, independently or by department, and make it a friendly competition. You’ll want to offer some sort of incentive to increase employee involvement.
- Acknowledge your teams' efforts. Be sure to track, log, and record your teams' efforts and celebrate their accomplishments. Things may look different this year and whether you are logging hours in person or online, it's important to celebrate your commitment to making an impact in your community.
- Maximise visibility: Amplify your message with bold, clear, concise language and content across preferred channels.
- Consistent communication: Leverage communication teams and intranet sites to share information with all employees and employee resource groups.
- Simplify access: Create an easily accessible virtual menu with skills-based and micro-volunteering opportunities.
- Recognise resources: Establish a subject matter expert network to discover opportunities for skills-based volunteering. For example, financial education for low-to moderate-income (LMI) communities.
- Re-evaluate what qualifies as volunteerism: Encourage employees to tap into their talents or hobbies, try online mentoring, or share acts of kindness in the community.
- Increase rewards: Consider granting employees an extra eight hours of time off to dedicate towards volunteering or set a monetary match for employee volunteer hours to be disbursed to their organisation of choice.