Skip to content
We are now Bonterra

How to increase employee participation in volunteer programs

March 12, 2021
A group of volunteers participating in a corporate volunteer program by packing free meals to donate during an outdoor charity food drive.

One of the greatest benefits of offering corporate volunteer programs is their ability to engage your corporation’s employees through meaningful experiences that give back to your community. Even better, 71% of surveyed employees say it is imperative or very important to work for a company with a culture that supports giving and volunteering.

Employees want to volunteer, but you can still take action to further encourage them to participate in company-wide volunteer programs. We have a few suggestions on how to jumpstart participation in corporate volunteer programs.  

Offer paid time off to volunteer

Volunteer time off is a form of PTO that allows employees to give their time to causes that matter most to them. While many employers already offer paid time off to their employees, volunteer time off is becoming increasingly popular as an additional benefit.

How can you implement a volunteer time off policy? You can have an open policy that allows employees to contribute to the organizations and causes that are most important to them, or you can specify which organizations they can volunteer for to count towards the time off, focusing on those that your company prefers to support. Once you’ve mapped out your policy, communicate this information to your employees and watch them jump at the opportunity.

Launch a company-wide day of service

Most companies encourage employees to give back and contribute to making their community a better place. Some may already do so by donating money or giving their own free time to local organizations. But by initiating a company-wide day of service, employees can volunteer together without needing to use any of their individual time off.

Opportunities like this increase employees’ appreciation for their employer and inspire them to get more involved with other corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Get inspired by these facts about how volunteer programs benefit your company’s employee retention:

  • On average, 90% of Gen Z believe companies should take action on social and environmental issues, and 75% will perform their own research to see if a company is being honest about their support.
  • Successfully increasing employee engagement leads to 59% less turnover.
  • Of employees who volunteered, 76% say volunteering helped them develop core work skills.

Aside from being highly successful in driving participation and engagement, days of service offer company leaders the opportunity to have their staff help organize tasks, lead teams, and develop leadership skills outside their usual role.

Consider skills-based work

There is a growing trend towards skills-based volunteerism that can play off the workforce’s strengths. Companies are starting to see the value, strategically and socially, in adapting their programs to use and hone their employees’ skills.

Not only is this approach highly efficient from a business standpoint, but it does wonders for employee engagement and development. Skills-based volunteerism allows people to use their professional skills to offer support in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Mentoring youth or underprivileged adults to achieve their career goals
  • Translating documents for a nonprofit
  • Preparing communicational documents such as newsletters or marketing materials
  • Conducting an IT audit for a local charity

Offering up skills for a cause bigger than themselves gives employees a sense of meaning and fulfillment. Your community is rewarded, and the individual has the opportunity to strengthen their own skill sets. They may even have the chance to explore new outlets and learn new skills that can add value to your company. 

Let’s get to work

There are no right or wrong ways to incorporate volunteer programs at your company. Your employees want to give back, they just need the opportunity. Giving back to your community positively impacts the workforce, increases employee happiness, and in turn, helps your business thrive.

Ready to Get Started?

    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Volunteerism
  • Corporations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Employee volunteering