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I have spent most of my career working for nonprofit organizations that rely heavily on volunteerism.
Because of this, I understand the importance of everyone getting involved in helping our communities and the world’s nonprofits fulfill their mission.
Volunteers help bridge the gap in human capital and bring valuable skills to organizations that rely on free labor.
Whether the volunteer opportunity is to help the American Red Cross with disaster relief, deliver flowers to patients in the hospital, or pick up trash on the highway – volunteers positively help the community.
Employer-Sponsored Volunteer Programs
Many organizations have employer-sponsored volunteer programs to help employees get involved.
These programs adopt nonprofit agencies that they support financially and offer employees opportunities to serve.
Volunteer programs help educate employees on the importance of giving back to the community and provide opportunities for employees to help others.
Additionally, employer-sponsored volunteer programs are another way to improve employee engagement.
United Healthcare did a study among over 4500 adults over 18, some of whom volunteer and others don’t.
There were some interesting findings in this study.
There were many positive effects on employees who volunteer through a work-sponsored program and senior citizens who volunteer in their communities.
The study revealed that:
- 25% of volunteers do so through their employer.
- Employees who volunteer believe more people would volunteer if their employers promoted volunteerism.
- Employees who volunteer through work have a more positive attitude toward their employer.
- People who volunteer report better physical and emotional health.
- Volunteering gives people a purpose and a more positive outlook on life. They are also less likely to experience isolation and despair.
- Seniors who volunteer have a more positive outlook on getting older and are more optimistic about life.
7 Benefits of an Employer-Sponsored Volunteer Program
1. Demonstrates Social Responsibly
We all share this same planet, and we all must participate in efforts to make it better.
Businesses that stop what they are doing and reach out to help their community demonstrate social responsibility.
For instance, some businesses may sponsor the cleanup of roadways in their community. They will recruit employees to help pick up trash and improve the local roadways.
2. Employees Develop New Skills
Many volunteer opportunities involve skills different from what employees do every day.
Corporate volunteerism exposes employees to experiences and skills their employer may not otherwise offer.
For instance, I worked with an organization that provided volunteer opportunities to help with disaster relief. These corporate volunteers learned building demolition, mold remediation, and drywall installation skills.
3. Team Building
Volunteer opportunities often involve teamwork. Employees will learn to collaborate and work with teams for a common goal.
These team projects result in stronger relationships with coworkers and improve their communication skills.
Teamwork and collaboration are skills that employees bring back to the workplace, which enhances work relationships and improves productivity.
4. Improves Recruitment, Retention, and Engagement
Employees aspire to work for an organization that makes a difference.
A corporate volunteer program will improve employee morale and help with recruitment, retention, and engagement.
And while many organizations have missions to help other people, those that don’t can participate by supplying free labor to help get the job done.
When employees are allowed to give back while at work, they are easier to recruit, become more engaged with their employer, and hang around longer!
5. Employees Speak Highly of Their Employer
Employees who are allowed to volunteer through work talk about it.
They will share the experience with family and friends and give credit to their employer.
And these positive employee experiences will also improve the customer experience, ultimately affecting the bottom line.
6. Great for PR and Marketing
Organizations with a strategic approach to public relations and marketing understand the value of giving back to the community.
These organizations use volunteer opportunities to highlight their community’s visibility and draw attention to their products and services.
7. Tax Benefits
Every state is different. However, some areas offer tax incentives for employer-sponsored volunteerism.
The goal is for these tax breaks to offset the cost of operating a community volunteer program.
Employees can also deduct mileage costs on their taxes for volunteer miles.
Develop Your Own Volunteer Program
These are remarkable findings that should be enough incentive for businesses to develop an internal volunteer program.
Many resources are available to help organizations identify volunteer opportunities and create structures to get their employees involved.
Volunteer Match is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities.
It allows you to search by location or interest and has tools to help employers track volunteer hours and engage employees.
The needs of our communities are ever-increasing, and we all need to give back.
Developing an employer-sponsored volunteer program can be the first step in educating employees on the significance of giving back, improving employee engagement, and ultimately improving the bottom line.
Does your organization have an employer-sponsored volunteer program?