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How to encourage your employees to volunteer at work

Published: Tuesday 8th June 2021

With the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK, there has never been a better time to encourage your employees to volunteer. Sharp rises in homelessness, mental health awareness and other important social issues have made way for a wave of employees volunteering at work. For managers, helping to strengthen a workplace’s team spirit can be tough. Maybe your colleagues are disengaged or lack motivation. Maybe the office culture is stagnated and boring. By giving your employees a platform in which to represent the company in a positive way, you can both enrich the lives of those you help and improve the morale of your team. So, how can you do this?

Team of volunteers walking into the distance

Encourage employees to volunteer by listening to them

The easiest way to establish employee volunteering at work is to listen to your employees. You will find that different people may hold different causes close to their hearts. It is also important to understand what your business wants to achieve in the long run. You may opt to perform one-off fundraising events. Alternatively, you may propose a partnership with a charity over a certain number of months or years.

You will also need to find out what motivates your employees to represent different causes. It might be from having been affected by a particular social issue, or perhaps they just want to broaden their skill sets or build stronger relationships with their workmates. Therefore, the more you understand what motivates your employees to volunteer, the more effort and enjoyment you will get out of them!

Find an employee volunteering at work partnership

Decide what causes you want to donate to. You will need to approach different local charities to pitch your proposal for a partnership. It is important to research who the charity is and the work they already carry out. Some partnerships may expect a monthly fundraising event whereas others may be more sporadic or seasonal.

Encourage employees to volunteer by aligning your organisation’s values with those you are in partnership with. This will make it easier to improve relationships and build brand new ones as you expand your charity output. In many cases, you may even find charities approaching you first if you have an established number of successful partnerships.

Offer skill-based opportunities for employees to volunteer

Often, allowing your employees to volunteer for something that will improve their skills can be a very popular option. You may decide to offer charity work depending on what your employees want to experience. This may involve stepping out of their comfort zone or tackling something they have never experienced before. This will benefit the fundraising campaign and you will also be able to witness first-hand your employees growing as individuals as they overcome some of their personal difficulties.

Let everyone know

Spread the word! You won’t get employees to volunteer if you don’t tell them the time and place. Set up media campaigns, send out emails, create flyers and posters and make it a topic of discussion in team meetings. Make sure the charity you are representing is also campaigning. If you can draw attention to the cause, not only will employees get involved, but you will also raise more money and promote your own business at the same time. 

The key to a successful charity event and subsequent events is to allow an open dialogue regarding their success. Make sure you take on board advice and feedback from the charity and from your employees. This will set you up for the future as you aim to become an organisation that is renowned for its volunteering work.

Encourage teamwork

Volunteering is popular amongst many organisations because it benefits all parties involved. It is a great opportunity to gel as a team and become a tighter unit. The more this is done outside of a work environment, the more this will be reflected in their day to day interactions. Popular charity events such as football matches, hiking, music festivals and fairs require large amounts of communication and if this becomes second nature to your colleagues then you won’t need to address it in the workplace.

A man helping his friend during a walk

Let your hair down!

Remember to put time aside to celebrate your achievements. Post about the success of your work online. This can give healthy exposure to the good work your employees put in. Plus, will make them want to do it again. Incorporate an award that recognises fantastic commitment to worthy causes. Employee volunteering at work boosts your local community, is fun and provides an opportunity to make friends, help the vulnerable and increase employee satisfaction.

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