Whether your business is large or small, and whether you are a CEO or a new add to the team, helping your business add on elements of community mindedness has benefits beyond employee morale. This week, we’re sharing ways to expand through ‘Easy CSR’ and adding an employee volunteering benefit.
The easiest way to offer this with minimal ongoing management of the program is to simply offer a few paid hours or days to each employee to volunteer in his/her community. This consists of enacting a policy and ensuring all of the department heads are on board with the value of this benefit. Trying to offer this during a busy season is going to be met with unnecessary resistance. Some basics of this ‘Easy CSR’ is to ask that your employees request time in advance and bring dated proof back to their manager.
Alternatively, for a more directed approach, someone from your company – an eager employee or committee of employees, your wellness or human resources team, or even the founder/CEO – can identify a favored charity whose mission resonates with the work of your business and work directly with the nonprofit to arrange for a volunteer day. If your business is a restaurant, for example, a good nonprofit match might be a homeless shelter since your team is intimately familiar with food.
When going this route, bear in mind that the nonprofit generally has to undertake some costs for accommodating such a large group including the staff time to train and guide your employees for the day, in addition to materials and possibly snacks or a meal. With that, many nonprofits request a per person fee for coordinating such an experience – this is entirely normal and to be expected. And even if it isn’t required, it is an important gesture to consider making a financial donation to the organization at the same time you are completing your volunteer engagement.
If you have the staff or volunteer bandwidth to offer a coordinated employee volunteering benefit, we always recommend this over allowing your employees to volunteer on their own time individually. When employees volunteer together as a team, it gives them an opportunity to connect and communicate outside of the office – breaking down silos and helping them grow together. From there you can always add on elements like allowing employees to suggest nonprofits, or identifying ways to incorporate the nonprofit programming into your product or service. Creating a contest or other similar opportunity in which employees can recommend and/or advocate for a cause area or organization can make the whole experience more meaningful.
In need of ideas? If you’re based in Los Angeles, the Downtown Women’s Center provides a purposeful group experience. From the Washington, DC area, Martha’s Table has a number of different types of team volunteer opportunities. And in the New York City area, Bike New York relies on group volunteers for their events and community outreach.
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