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Reshaping volunteerism: engaging your employees virtually

February 14, 2021
A group of volunteers chats before starting a job. Learn more about reshaping volunteerism in this guide.

With virtual volunteer options, you can motivate your employees to volunteer no matter where they are. This expanded perspective of volunteering means your teams no longer have to be physically together to make an impact. This way, your corporation can continue to support nonprofit organizations and balance their needs against your resources, while expanding service opportunities to remote employees.

In the world of constantly evolving technology, online and remote service should be an integral part of your organization’s overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. Regardless of your team's skill sets and experience, many causes could use more than just in-person help. 

Here are some top strategies your company can use to implement virtual volunteering opportunities into its existing volunteer program.

Strategies for adapting programs and engaging employees

Implementing a virtual volunteer program is similar to the programs you’ve already established at your organization. These programs can have an incredible impact on both your local community and communities across the country. The following strategies will help you reshape volunteerism to adapt programs and provide purposeful engagement opportunities for employees.

Virtual volunteering: Engage employees with web-based opportunities

Explore the considerations for launching and growing your virtual strategy. Bonterra Corporate Social Responsibility (formerly CyberGrants) offers the ability to create and search for virtual events. By exploring virtual opportunities, you’ll find countless skill and interest-based volunteer options to promote to employees. You can also discover organizations that can partner with your company to design specific programs.    

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Partner with an organization that specializes in virtual volunteering, including:
  2. Host your own virtual event or find organizations that you can recommend for your employees. Here are a few examples we’ve seen:

These are just a few examples of organizations that provide virtual volunteer opportunities. Keeping your company’s and employees’ values in mind, be on the lookout for similar opportunities from organizations and causes you already support to ensure high employee participation.

Connect with nonprofit partners to better understand their needs

Next, engage your nonprofit partners. Develop a real-time understanding of their current needs in terms of time, money, and product, if applicable. Communicate that your company is there to support and encourage them to achieve their purpose. 

Nonprofits are adapting rapidly to increased demand for virtual volunteer opportunities. By taking physical events virtual, offering more virtual volunteerism opportunities, and handling increased donations and matching flow, nonprofits are working hard to channel this support into the causes they support.

Other recommendations for success

In addition to seeking out virtual opportunities and strengthening partnerships with nonprofit organizations, there are some policies your company can establish internally to make virtual volunteering more successful. Here are a few tips to consider for making your program run more smoothly:

  • Set clear expectations and ensure eligibility toward corporate volunteer programs, especially because this may be a new approach.
  • Communicate how hours will be recorded. 
  • Set standards for communication among the volunteer teams and team leaders, which may need to be done on a new or existing technology platform.
  • Get employees to talk about their experiences to make the volunteer opportunity productive and meaningful. 

Remember to acknowledge your employees’ contributions to your volunteering program. Send out thank-you messages after employees complete a volunteering opportunity, and publicly recognize top participants in company meetings. You can even offer them rewards like a coffee gift card to incentivize other employees to participate.

Keeping your employees connected: The benefits of virtual volunteering

It is important to keep everyone connected and driven toward a common cause, even when your employees can’t physically be together. Your employees want to help nonprofits succeed, and they need your company’s support to find ways they can make a difference. We all know the statistical benefits of employee engagement for recruitment and retention, but there are also studies that cover the health and wellness benefits of volunteering as well. Your employees will likely embrace opportunities to feel empowered and serve a meaningful purpose. 

In the average year, Bonterra Corporate Social Responsibility customers donate over 50 million hours of volunteer time, and we could not be more honored to help facilitate all the incredible things they do. By expanding your CSR program to accommodate virtual volunteer opportunities, you can get more of your remote employees involved and increase your company’s impact.

Are you ready to adapt or expand your volunteer programs? Contact us now to discuss how to get started.

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