Has your organization tapped into the benefits of volunteering for the community as a group? With so many initiatives that affect your company’s bottom line taking priority, it’s easy to view corporate volunteerism as something you’ll address when you have time. However, we recommend organizations consistently encourage volunteering and create a community involvement program that runs year-round. Why? Because genuine community engagement will yield outstanding results from your team.
Various studies have found that countless benefits, to both the employee and employer, rise out of volunteer opportunities encouraged at the organizational level. A 2010 study conducted by Corporate Citizenship, a corporate responsibility consulting group headquartered in London, found that group communication improved among teams, individual employee morale rose from achievement in personal goals, and employees’ soft skills like negotiation and conflict resolution were strengthened. Another study conducted by Junior Achievement in 2009 concluded that companies with extensive corporate community involvement programs attract the best talent, effectively enhance their reputation, create strong brand recognition, and increase consumer loyalty.
Need more proof?
The HandsOn Network, a subgroup of the leading volunteer organization Points of Light, conducted a 2010 study titled, “Trends of Excellence in Employee Volunteering.” The study found that financial investments put toward volunteer efforts were much lower than those made toward traditional employee training programs. However, the volunteer-related options also resulted in improvements in employees’ professional skill sets.
Last but not least; VolunteerMatch, a service provider committed to recruiting eager volunteers for various nonprofit organizations, compiled a number of studies conducted in 2010 to find that 94% of companies surveyed said employee volunteering provides a way to raise employee morale, 92% of people who volunteer through their workplace reported high rates of physical and emotional health, and 66% of employees reported a greater commitment to the company as a direct result of volunteering.
So, if you haven’t already started on your organization’s volunteering initiatives, here are some simple steps for starting a sustainable and effective program:
- Make sure you’re supporting your organization’s strategic goals. Is there a push to improve heart health, fight child abuse, or encourage environmental sustainability? Connecting efforts to the mission and values your team originally signed up for when joining the company will trigger a stronger investment from your team.
- Engage the right people to lead this initiative. Especially if you’re a small business, it’s important to have someone at least partially invested in informing your team of upcoming opportunities. These individuals also play a large role in keeping their co-workers motivated and involved.
- Keep the flow of information and opportunities consistent. At RAS & Associates, we send opportunities to the team at least once or twice a month. This allows for people to pick and choose the events they can attend and when. It’s also a great reminder for individuals whose schedules (and e-mail!) fill up fast.
- Don’t forget the perks. Aside from offering hours for their time, companies can create traditions to make events more appealing. For example, the participating group always goes out for drinks or a meal on the company’s dime post event. Or, all who participate in the event will be featured in an upcoming newsletter or company-wide communication outlet.
- Let the public know! Don’t be afraid to tweet or share pictures and event information over your organization’s social media outlets. At RAS, we’ve found that followers enjoy the personal touch.
Many volunteer programs start to lose the interest of team members shortly after they are implemented. However, knowing the benefits of encouraging volunteerism and making community involvement initiatives a priority can result in an organization-wide effort to continually provide opportunities that support the community, your organization’s values, and your team’s professional skill sets.
Recently, RAS & Assocaites’ Managing Partner, Brett Petruzzi, and Vice President of Business Development, Rob Ernstsen, joined boards of local organizations that make huge strides to support the future generations of Colorado. Brett is now on the Associate Board for ACE Scholarships, and Rob is a member of the Associate Board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. Rob Swanson, RAS & Associates’ founding partner, joined the board for the Tennyson Center for Children in August 2012. In November 2013, Rob Swanson was almost named the Denver Business Journals’ Corporate Citizen of the Year due to his outstanding philanthropic initiatives. These leaders are incorporating the firm’s values into their personal lives and serving as role models for their employees.
Since January 2013, the RAS & Associates’ team has donated over $47,000 and their time to Denver organizations like Food Bank of the Rockies, American Lung Association (Fight for Air), Tennyson Center for Children, Friends of Children, Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 16 Ways Foundation, and the American Heart Association (Heart Walk and annual DCP Midstream Charity Golf Tournament). To the RAS & Associates’ team… Thank you!