As corporate citizenship continues to grow in popularity, an increasing number of employee volunteer programs (EVPs) are appearing. In an attempt to better understand this volunteer demographic, VolunteerHub recently surveyed a group of nonprofits on the subject. Among the many findings, we found that a majority of nonprofits (70%) report partnering with corporations to gain volunteers.
Although businesses desire to show commitment to their surrounding communities, they also expect tangible returns by implementing employee volunteer programs. Below we offer tips for better engaging EVP volunteers and executive leadership.
Design Team Projects
Many for-profit organizations use volunteerism as a team-building exercise. Because of this, it’s best to work closely with the EVP administrator to set up volunteer projects. Ask plenty of questions and be sure to gain buy-in from your corporate partner.
From your organization’s standpoint, peer groups can also be very beneficial. Instead of waiting for volunteers to arrive and matching their skills to your needs, you can rally your EVP groups around a common task or goal. This can make the volunteer experience more valuable and streamline your operations.
Use Customized Landing Pages
If you are using an online volunteer management system, take full advantage of its customization options. For example, VolunteerHub allows volunteer coordinators to create an unlimited number of EVP-specific registration pages.
Research shows that this level of customization can help EVP participants feel more welcomed and engaged, particularly if the company’s branding is utilized. EVP participants also appreciate a more streamlined approach to registration, especially if your organization can present a pre-filtered list of opportunities that are specific to their company.
Before launching a group of corporate volunteers into a project, take ten or fifteen minutes to educate them about your organization. Let them know your mission and vision and explain how your organization is impacting the community. Don’t be too statistic-heavy, but include important facts, such as annual clients served. Taking time to explain your organization’s worth and impact will help new supporters to better connect with your cause.
Emphasize your gratitude for the time donated by volunteers. Have refreshments at the ready. If the EVP participants worked as a group, consider giving away t-shirts branded with your logo. If the cost is prohibitive, see if your corporate partner would donate funds to defray the cost. In such circumstances, you may offer to co-brand the t-shirts with both of your logos.
Also, make sure your volunteer management software is properly configured to send personalized thank you emails. Even the smallest sign of gratitude can go a long way.
Reporting to Corporate
Remember, your corporate partners are very focused on tracking key performance indicators. Therefore, the executive management at your EVP will appreciate data related to its employees’ impact at your organization.
Immediately after an EVP event, be sure to follow up with a thank you message to your main contact at the company. Include the names of those who volunteered, hours worked, and an overall summary of what the company’s volunteers accomplished. Be sure to include a value on the time donated. (The average volunteer hour is now valued at $23.) Again, tell your story. How exactly did the volunteers contribute to your overall goals?
Build Trust with Corporate Volunteers
Building trust with corporate volunteers is a multi-faceted process. Focus on delivering an exceptional experience not only to the volunteers, but also executive and managerial contacts at the for-profit entity. In doing so, you’ll lay the groundwork for an ever-increasing flow of highly engaged corporate volunteers.
The preceding is a guest post by Corbit Harrison, Chief Operating Officer for VolunteerHub, a cloud-based volunteer management software application that offers online event registration, email and SMS (text) messaging, report generation, and much more. Corbit has been actively helping non-profit organizations better engage constituents for over 10 years. Connect with Corbit on LinkedIn. This is part of our ongoing VolunteerCorner series – focusing on issues that you need to know about in the nonprofit sector.