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AngelPoints - Turning Your Volunteers In To Volunteer Coordinators!

AngelPoints – Corporate Volunteerism and Charitable Giving
Increasingly, companies are recognizing the need to have employee engagement programs that focus on volunteerism and charitable giving.  In an effort to recruit and retain employees, employers are offering incentives to volunteer.  Programs like Volunteer for Vacation, Dollars for Doers and Rewards are gaining traction with companies to have the best of both worlds.  With the goals of recruiting and retaining productive, engaged and active employees and increasing their footprint in the community, employers are getting creative to overcome these challenges. 

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Points of Light conference in Houston in October.  Besides meeting some great people who are working diligently to improve their organization’s community involvement, I also learned some cold, hard facts about employee engagement and corporate citizenship. 

What is the #1 reason people who volunteer for the first time give for not previously volunteering?  No one asked me before.  Can you imagine?  The secret to increasing volunteerism in your employee base is as easy as asking them to volunteer?  It seems simplistic and exceedingly too obvious to be true.  However, what if that is the reality?  Just ask and they will volunteer.  Yes, this sounds like a basic approach to solving a greater issue of generating enthusiasm, but could we all be missing the key to how to do it?  I think so.
A philosophy in corporate America is if you cannot solve a problem steal the solution from someone else.  Am I talking about corporate espionage?  Absolutely not.  But don’t all Community Development and Corporate Philanthropy departments have similar goals?  I think yes.  A true example of exchanging ideas, practices and solutions amongst corporate leaders is what happened at Points of Light.
Let me highlight one organization and how they made their program work for them.  Hannah Moore runs the Jewish Board and Family and Children Services in New York.  They had a small staff of three people managing the volume of opportunities.  How would they go about managing their program effectively, while still expanding their reach in the community and generating enthusiasm at various sites?  Hannah’s solution?  Brainwash your colleagues.  Turn them in to volunteer coordinators. 
Your immediate thoughts are probably close to “that seems underhanded and devious” or “why would I want to do that” or “huh?”.  As Hannah explained to the crowd of nearly 500 people, why wouldn’t you want to do just that?
  • These people already work for the programs
  • They understand the program needs
  • They have onsite credibility with employees and other volunteers
  • Coordinators can effectively motivate others to volunteer
Here are some ideas to help you begin brainwashing your volunteers in to becoming volunteer coordinators. 
Recognize their involvement corporate wide.  Most employees like being recognized for their contributions to the company.  They don’t necessarily want to walk around with a sash calling them “Mr./Miss Volunteer 2015” but they certainly like to be able to talk about their volunteerism without out sounding like a braggrart.  Give them the recognition they have earned and ask them to encourage others to participate. 
Make it a competition.  Are you fortunate enough to have several volunteer leaders in your company?  Well if you are that lucky, turn their passion for volunteering in to a competition between the leaders.  Set volunteer goals for each team with awards and incentives for the most volunteers per team, the most hours volunteered or the most repeat volunteers.  This makes the process lively and fun for everyone.
Allow volunteer leaders to help shape the community citizenship program.  Everyone has a passion.  Some are passionate about animals; others are passionate about children while others want to improve the lives of the poor.  Work with your volunteer leaders to learn which causes are important to them and incorporate those causes in to volunteer campaigns.  Rethink your corporate citizenship to make it employee driven.  Let them tell you why they like to volunteer and where. 
My goal is to share ideas, practices and statistics on corporate social responsibility in an effort to help you grow your program.  The resources available to you are considerable, so now we simply need to help you find them.
Thanks and Happy Volunteering!
Posted by Laura Sonnee on Dec 28, 2015 12:11 PM America/New_York

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