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6 ways to make volunteering more inclusive

by Emily Sugrue

How to make volunteering inclusive

Launching a volunteer program is stressful, especially when many volunteering professionals have a plethora of responsibilities for different aspects of the program. This can seriously limit the time they have to develop and bring their programs into fruition. On top of that, there is the added pressure to make sure that their volunteering programs are DEI (diversity, equality and inclusion) compliant. So how can you avoid this headache and make your volunteering programs more inclusive? We at Optimy have come up with a few suggestions.

What is DEI? 

DEI stands for diversity, equality and inclusion. It is the practice of ensuring that your organization adheres to all of these principles. Diversity refers to the involvement of people from different genders, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in an organization. Equality is the practice of treating all employees equally regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., and promoting these ideas. Inclusion is making sure each employee has equal access to opportunities and resources within an organization. 

Why is diversity so important in volunteering?

Diversity, equality and inclusion is hugely important in volunteering. Not only will your organization be able to contribute multiple skill sets, opinions and ideologies to your volunteering programs, but it will also make your program more productive. The more points of view contributed, be that from age, gender, race or other factors, the more your volunteers can contribute unique ideas and learn from each other for future projects. Additionally, it will strengthen ties with your community and increase your social impact, which is, of course, the objective of any volunteer program. DEI is present in all aspects of our daily lives, and is therefore everyone’s responsibility

How to get started making your volunteer programs more inclusive

  1. Ask your employees

Getting input from your employees is a great way to identify what volunteering opportunities you should invest your time and resources in. Asking for input from a broad range of people will present your organization with an ever broader range of opportunities.

  1. Identify any gaps

By carefully surveying and analyzing the demographics of your employees, you can easily identify any gaps in the diversity of your organization. Making sure that these gaps are filled will ensure that your organization is DEI compliant in its volunteering activities. 

  1. Gather insights from others

There is an abundance of resources available to give you insights into how to make your volunteering programs more diverse and inclusive, such as articles, journals and software. Our Optimy platform can help you to organize these insights and data with easily exportable charts and graphs.

Check out some of our suggested articles on DEI and volunteerism:

  1. Create a system

Implementing change in an organization can be difficult. But by making systematic changes, you can inject DEI ideologies into your company culture with ease. Diversity training is one such way of doing this. By making your volunteers aware of the benefits of diversity and inclusion and teaching them to promote it, it helps to make a more inclusive program. Alternatively, numerous consulting organizations offer services in collaborating with organizations to ensure DEI policies are adhered to.

  1. Eliminate barriers to volunteerism

Make sure your volunteering programs are accessible and inclusive. Offer variety in your programs that will cater to different interests and skill sets. Adapt volunteer roles to suit the individual needs of your volunteers. Provide appropriate training and support. 

  1. Focus on the individuals

By focusing on what your volunteers are passionate about and what their skill level is, you can greatly increase the productivity of your volunteering programs. Volunteering requires teamwork, but individuals, particularly in a diverse group, offer unique insights and contributions. 

How Optimy can help you make your volunteerism efforts more inclusive

Optimy is an all-in-one online tool that supports volunteerism management. Our system can help you to ensure that your volunteers are being listened to when it comes to the causes they are passionate about. Volunteers can select and apply for the causes that mean the most to them, be it helping people, the environment, or the local community. The opportunities for volunteering are endless. As the organizer of your organization’s volunteering efforts, Optimy will help you to streamline the application process and budgets with our automated system. This means you can easily manage and keep track of your volunteers and their projects.

Optimy also helps you to easily measure the impact of your volunteering efforts post-project with our secure data collection and data organization features.

Interested? Get a demo today.