Spectacular corporate volunteer programs need equally spectacular nonprofit organizations to support. One doesn’t come without the other. However, these volunteering opportunities are not so easy to come by—especially if you’re building your program from scratch.
Corporate groups want nonprofits that resonate with their mission, their employees, and their customers. They also want nonprofits that will genuinely benefit from the aid they’re able to provide. It’s a lot of boxes to check and we’re about to unpack how you can check all of them.
In this article we’ll explore:
- Why all companies need corporate volunteer programs
- The different types of volunteer opportunities out there
- Field volunteering
- Virtual volunteering
- How to find the perfect nonprofit organization & volunteer opportunities
- How Alaya can help with your employee volunteer efforts
You should walk away from this article feeling fully equipped to source the best volunteer opportunities for your program.
Why every company should invest in corporate volunteering
A corporate volunteering program is absolutely essential for any business to have in place. Why? The wealth of benefits it brings your brand, business, employees, and the planet. To name a few:
- Over 70% of US citizens want socially responsible companies
- People trust business leaders over NGOs, governments, and the media to make positive change
- You’re 73% more likely to attract talent if your values publically align with the candidates
- 42% of a company’s reputation stems from its CSR initiatives
This is a top-level overview of the benefits a corporate volunteer program can bring, if you want to go into more benefits and build a business case to win buy-in for your program then see our article: What is corporate volunteering? Benefits & costs.
Now you’ve got benefits under your belt, let’s explore the different types of corporate volunteering opportunities your business can consider.
Types of Volunteering Opportunities:
Volunteering is a key pillar of your corporate social responsibility efforts. However, depending on your business niche and the operational structure, the types of volunteering you’ll want and be able to achieve will differ.
We’ve broken them down into two overarching themes: field volunteering and online.
Field Volunteering Opportunities
This type of volunteering looks at opportunities within local communities. It refers to places that employee volunteers can physically visit to make an impact. a few types of field volunteering are:
Helping the elderly
This is something that, due to COVID, had to go on pause for a long time with most organizations. However, today most corporate volunteer programs are re-adopting this initiative to support elderly people in their local communities.
For example, your team could go to old people’s homes to help them fight loneliness and provide something different to their days. Or, your team can make visits to old people in their own homes and help them with around-the-house chores that are too taxing for them.
Donating blood is a fantastic cause to lift your corporate volunteerism scheme. The UK’s NHS Blood and transplant need nearly 400 new donors a day. There’s a huge demand for it.
Donating blood is also a great moment for employee engagement as entire teams can go to the blood bank and donate together. If your volunteers are strapped on time, then donating blood is a quick solution to do something great for those in need.
Volunteering at a local community initiative
If your offices are based in a relatively large town or city, then there’s a high chance you’re surrounded by shelters and community centers that would welcome volunteers with open arms. Consider things like:
- Community gardens
- Animal shelters
- Homeless shelters
- Community libraries
Online Volunteering Opportunities
On the other side of the coin, you have virtual volunteer opportunities. One of the benefits of online volunteering is you’re not limited to local nonprofits.
When employees volunteer online, you’re able to include your entire workforce—no matter where they are in the world—with the same initiative. Plus, you can find virtual opportunities with underserved communities across the globe.
Let’s explore what some of these opportunities look like:
Online lessons & mentorship
This is also known as skills-based volunteering and essentially means your employees can donate their knowledge and time to help support nonprofits in need. In this case, volunteer time is utilized to provide specialized workshops, management tools, educational resources, or 1:1 Q&As so the nonprofit gets the knowledge it needs to thrive on its own.
The great thing about this meaningful opportunity is that anyone in your business can participate; from board members and business leaders to interns. Everyone will have a unique skill set to provide.
Digital asset-building & aid
One thing many nonprofits struggle with is building resources to help them spread their mission. This could be:
- Blog articles
- SEO strategies
- Social media campaigns
- Business operational aid or strategies
The list is long, but there’s a high chance your team has the talent and resources to help with this critical need.
For example, PWC united employees with a virtual hackathon team-building event. In this session, various members of the organization got together online to brainstorm solutions for nonprofits in need.
How to find volunteering opportunities
When you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity to help fulfill your corporate social responsibility goals, there are a few things you need to consider.
1. Employee values
Corporate volunteerism needs to be aware of what employees value and are looking for in a volunteering opportunity.
- What are your employees passionate about?
- What motivates them?
- What do they want to go home and the end of the day and tell their family about?
Finding this information out can be a lot easier than you think. It’s a good idea to start with qualitative questionnaires. Essentially you’ll want to send around a questionnaire where employee responses are typed by them. Ask them to give input in full sentences and explain their answers.
Once you’ve got that initial round of answers. You can start to narrow things down. Analyze your results and identify trends in causes and volunteering types. Rework this data into quantitative polls. For this round, you don’t need written answers from employees, you can give A-D answer options or yes/no answer options.
From this, you should be able to narrow your results down even more and be able to define those causes and volunteering opps that truly resonate with your workforce.
Once you have a clear understanding of what your employees feel is relevant in volunteering, you’ll be able to build out opportunities to answer those and give yourself a higher chance of winning employee buy-in from day one.
2. Company mission and vision
It’s so crucial that your relief efforts reflect your company’s mission and vision. Corporate volunteering can be a huge aid toward your branding, but only if it’s in line with your company and what your company stands for.
Lego is a great example of aligning its corporate volunteerism with its mission, vision, and even its product. Lego’s explains their local community volunteering initiative:
“With the help of our passionate LEGO employees, we aim to leverage the transformational power of learning through play to inspire and develop children. Our local community engagement program currently operates in 26 countries […] The program relies on our employees in each country volunteering to help create projects to inspire children. These projects meet local needs, provide opportunities to local children, and leverage the skills and interests of local employees to have the greatest impact on the lives of children.”
Take a closer look at your business mission and vision and identify what you can build on and what echoes the path you’re trying to take. When you build opportunities that are in line with what your business stands for, your customers and employees will understand it and adopt it better.
3. Company type & structure
A corporate volunteer program needs to be conscious of its environment. Your program will need to consider the type of company you work for. Your product, customers, and employee locations will also determine if you can host online volunteer work or field-type local opportunities.
For example, if you don’t have a physical office, and are a globally distributed team, you’ll have a hard time trying to coordinate field work volunteering. However, if you’re a small team in the same office, then field work will be that much more appealing and doable for you all.
By deciding on this before you start your search you’re already narrowing it down drastically to find results that are operationally doable.
4. Nonprofit legitimacy
Unfortunately, this is one you need to worry about when looking for volunteering opportunities. For as many fantastic causes out there to help people, animals, and places in need, there are also some looking to capitalize on people’s generosity or naivety when it comes to vetting an organization.
At Alaya, we vet all of our volunteering opportunities to ensure you’re volunteering for an XYZ-approved nonprofit. By doing so, you’re able to make maximum impact with your money and resources, as well as able to claim back on a certain amount of your volunteering spend as a business CSR expense.
5. CSR goals
What are your CSR goals for the business? Did you implement CSR to improve employee engagement and retention? Maybe you started a CSR program to give back a certain amount to a cause that resonates?
Consider things like educating children in need with online volunteering, supporting vulnerable women with field volunteering, making the homeless employable with local volunteering, creating a greener planet with community gardens.
What quarterly and yearly targets does your CSR strategy hold and how can your volunteer programs support those goals?
For example, EHL group’s CSR goals are to:
- Integrate Sustainability in Education
- Care for People
- Contribute to our Communities
- Respect our Environment
To help the business hit these goals, the Group centered its volunteering program around two annual events: Solidarity Month and Sustainability Week. Both helped encourage employees and their communities to give back and build awareness about critical environmental causes.
“This is a strong call to action that should empower each of us to do more and play our part in making the world a fair, ethical, and sustainable place.”—Michel Rochat CEO, EHL Group.
Find volunteering opportunities with Alaya
Now you’ve aligned on how to hone in on the perfect volunteering opportunities for your business, it’s time to find those opportunities as efficiently and securely as possible. For as great as Google is, it’s time-consuming and can’t always provide you with a reliable result that checks all your boxes.
However, when you use Alaya to find volunteering opportunities, you have a catalog of over 1.5 million nonprofits and access to an onhand team to help you find the perfect match.
Whether you’re looking to manage employee volunteering donations, or are looking for a field or online volunteering opportunity, the team at Alaya is here to help.
Volunteering Opportunities FAQs:
You can find volunteer opportunities by using volunteer management software like Alaya. Via the Alaya platform, you’ll have access to over 1.5 million vetted nonprofits, as well as a customer support team to help you find an opportunity that’s a perfect fit.
You can create a best-in-class volunteer program in eight steps:
• Align your core company purpose and values
• Set your employee volunteering goals
• Set up the framework and positive impact plan
• Engage internal teams
• Identify internal volunteer champions
• Onboard a digital tool or platform
• Find your volunteering options
• Launch your initiative
To see examples of how other businesses are creating these programs, read here.