Companies that serve their communities stand out to customers and employees. With robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in place, businesses can engage their employees and prove their commitment to bettering the world around them.
With 63 million Americans already volunteering with nonprofits each year, corporate volunteerism is an easy way for companies to get started with CSR. To ensure your program runs smoothly, invest in a corporate volunteering platform. This type of tool facilitates the logistics of corporate volunteerism, making it easy for employees to participate.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of corporate volunteerism and corporate volunteering platforms, including:
- What Is Corporate Volunteering?
- What Are the Benefits of Corporate Volunteering?
- What Are Corporate Volunteering Platforms?
- What Are the Top Features of Corporate Volunteering Platforms?
- How Do You Select A Corporate Volunteering Platform?
What Is Corporate Volunteering?
Through corporate volunteering programs, companies encourage their employees to volunteer their time with charitable causes. These programs typically involve businesses promoting or organizing volunteer opportunities for their team. They may also feature incentives for volunteering, such as volunteer time off or volunteer grants.
What Are the Benefits of Corporate Volunteering?
While corporate volunteering clearly helps nonprofits gain more volunteer support, what about businesses? Why should your company start a corporate volunteering program?
There are so many advantages your company can unlock by starting a corporate volunteering program, including:
- Better working environment. Team volunteer outings allow employees to bond as they work together toward a common goal. As a result, 64% of employees involved in corporate volunteering claim that it has strengthened their work relationships. Corporate volunteering is also a purpose-driven alternative to typical office social opportunities. In fact, 70% of employees believe corporate volunteerism is a more effective morale booster than happy hours and other similar company-sponsored activities.
- Increased employee retention. CSR opportunities such as corporate volunteerism help people feel more engaged with their workplace. When people help to make the world a better place through their work, they’re more likely to stay at their current company, as evidenced by the fact that employees at purpose-driven companies have 20% longer expected tenures and 64% higher levels of job fulfillment.
- Improved employee performance. Some volunteer opportunities help employees work on skills that they can transfer to the workplace. Volunteerism can also improve employees’ mental and physical health, allowing them to perform at their best.
- Enhanced reputation. Consumers want to support companies with strong CSR initiatives in place. Considering that 77% of customers want to purchase from companies that contribute to the greater good, businesses need to actively promote their charitable efforts to stay relevant. Snapping some photos of your corporate volunteers in action and sharing them on your website and social media channels can demonstrate your commitment to CSR.
- Purpose-driven applicant pool. In addition to adequate salary, generous benefits, and opportunities for mobility, 65% of people prioritize companies with CSR programs when applying for jobs. By showcasing corporate volunteerism and other CSR initiatives, your company can attract purpose-driven applicants who will help better your workplace and community.
What Are Corporate Volunteering Platforms?
Corporate volunteering platforms are a form of volunteer management software. These tools help companies manage their corporate volunteerism programs and streamline communication with volunteers. By investing in a corporate volunteering platform, you can formalize your program and take your CSR efforts to the next level.
What Are the Top Features of Corporate Volunteering Platforms?
Each corporate volunteering platform has its unique features. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top features to look for when choosing your own platform:
- Volunteer listings. What’s a corporate volunteering program without volunteer opportunities? Most platforms allow a place for you to organize volunteer outings or promote nonprofit volunteer events. That way, you can keep volunteer opportunities all in one place, as opposed to relying on email or direct mail to inform your employees.
- Recruitment tools. Your corporate volunteering platform should make it easy for your employees to sign up for volunteering. For example, you may upload branded sign-up forms and allow employees to apply for volunteer opportunities straight from your platform.
- Volunteer scheduling tools. Create a volunteer calendar so you can manage and update employee volunteer shifts. You can also add upcoming volunteer opportunities to the calendar so interested employees can save the date.
- Volunteer database. Keep track of key volunteer information using volunteer profiles. Store contact information so you can send reminders about upcoming events and communicate any necessary details. You may also add data about the types of opportunities each volunteer prefers so you can highlight volunteer outings they might be interested in. Lastly, a volunteer database can help you keep track of how many times each employee has volunteered so you can recognize those who have gone above and beyond.
- Mobile app. On the day of a volunteer event, the check-in process can be quite chaotic. To save time, some platforms offer an app that allows volunteers to check in beforehand. The app may also let volunteers access other features of the platform right from their phones or tablets.
- Volunteer hour tracking. There are a few reasons why volunteers may track their hours. One of the most common is for volunteer grant purposes. Companies that give volunteer grants to nonprofits usually do so based on the number of hours their employees volunteer with certain organizations. Alternatively, companies may hold volunteer challenges and offer rewards for employees who volunteer the highest number of hours during a certain period of time.
- Volunteer grant support. Once employees track their volunteer hours, they can complete a volunteer grant request form and send it to their employer. Facilitate this process by allowing volunteers to submit this form and track its progress right on your platform.
- Communication tools. Prevent volunteer-specific communications from getting lost in email inboxes by leveraging messaging options within your platform. Corporate volunteering platforms may offer chat functions for individual conversations and group messaging.
- Reporting capabilities. To understand and highlight the impact of your corporate volunteering program, look for a platform with reporting capabilities. For example, you may report on how many employees participate in your program, how many hours they’ve contributed, and which nonprofits you work with most often.
- Integrations. When investing in a new tool, you’ll want to make sure it works well with the other tools already at your disposal. For instance, you may opt for a platform that allows you to export volunteer reports to Excel if your company uses Microsoft Office. Additionally, if your company offers volunteer grants, you’ll want to choose a platform that integrates with volunteer grant request auto-submission tools. That way, when employees report their volunteer hours to their nonprofit of choice, all they have to do to send your company a volunteer grant request is enter their corporate email address.
Of course, your company may not need all of these features to successfully manage your corporate volunteer program. Take the time to sit down with your team and determine which features are necessary before investing in a platform.
How Do You Select A Corporate Volunteering Platform?
With the different potential features in mind, you may be wondering how you should proceed with choosing a corporate volunteering platform. Follow these steps to make the best decision for your company:
- Determine your platform priorities. What features are essential for your corporate volunteering platform? For example, if you offer volunteer grants, you may prioritize platforms with volunteer hour tracking and volunteer grant request features.
- Create a budget. Like with any new purchase your company is pondering, setting a budget is key. Platform providers may charge a flat fee or charge per volunteer, so be sure to get an estimate of how much different options cost.
- Research different platforms. Now, it’s time to explore the different platforms at your disposal. In addition to the platform provider websites, check out reviews and testimonials from real users to guide your decision-making process.
- Request demos. When you’re in the final stages of platform selection, request demos from the platforms you’re considering. That way, you can test out the software and see if it fits your volunteer management needs.
- Select your platform. Meet with your team to make the final decision. If there’s any uncertainty about which platform is best, consider having a small focus group of employees involved in your volunteer program test your options and report back on which one they prefer.
To ensure your corporate volunteering platform is effective, you’ll want to make sure your employees know how to use it. Schedule a meeting to teach your employees the ins and outs of the platform and answer any questions they may have.
Wrapping Up & Additional Resources
Starting a corporate volunteerism program is a great first step in developing your CSR repertoire. With the right corporate volunteering platform, you can take your program to the next level, engaging more employees and helping tons of worthy causes.
If you’re looking for additional ways to enhance your corporate volunteering program, check out the following articles:
- 23+ Corporate Volunteer Ideas to Build A Better Community. Looking for volunteer opportunities to add to your corporate volunteering platform? Check out this comprehensive list of corporate volunteer ideas for inspiration.
- 9 Volunteer Thank You Letter Samples to Show Appreciation. Your corporate volunteering program would be nothing without your employees. Make sure you know they appreciate your support with a thank you letter.
- Corporate Volunteer Grant Programs: Learn the Basics. Volunteer grants allow you to encourage employee volunteerism and provide extra financial support to nonprofits at the same time. In this article, you’ll learn how you can start your own volunteer grant program.