As celebrations are approaching, it'll be time to acknowledge the importance of a CSR strategy and volunteering opportunities within your organization. Employees now expect more from their company. You know it. We know it too. We've seen various scenarios already.
1. A candidate in a job interview is eager to know about the CSR and corporate social mindset that you have as an employer.
2. As you want to increase brand awareness, you turn to CSR and social impact activities. This strategy even helps attract top-notched talents or start HR conversations with Millenials for whom environmental and social issues matter a lot.
3. As employees, your teams also want you to take action and get involved in corporate giving activities. µ
Ok. But what happens if you want to start a volunteering program but struggle to generate interest and participation internally? Yes, we thought about this scenario too. And just as for the other ones, we also came up with ideas to face this obstacle.
It all begins with the “why”. If things prevent your teams from participating in volunteering and giving activities, it makes no sense to rush into other strategies to force them to get involved. You first need to understand where the blockage is coming from.
The well-known excuses
First of all, you should be aware of what is keeping them from getting involved.
- They have obligations after work hours,
- They don't feel interested in the cause you chose to support,
- They don't understand what you expect from them,
- They have prejudices towards volunteering,
- They don't know what is in it for them,
- They don't feel it matches the corporate mindset of your company.
There. That's it. These are the most common reasons that keep an employee from getting involved in corporate giving and volunteering activities inside their company. Luckily, there are ways to reply to each one of these elements. And yes, we will guide you through them.
They have obligations after work hours
That's fine, we all have things to do, whether it is private activities, family dinner, friends quality time, children to take care of, or just me-moment to have after a long day of work. It's understandable; we shouldn't blame them.
Why not offer the possibility of spending one hour every week, every month, to give some time and effort to a volunteering cause that matters to them?
The advantage would be that, as they're at the office, other colleagues can join them and they can all get involved together at the same time. Spending time with colleagues while doing some good activity is a win-win situation.
Well-being is also taken care of. Offering your team a break, spending some time with a local community, and getting things done to benefit them is a great way to make them feel good and mentally healthy about their day.
To do? Start small: a frequency of once a month is good enough. You'll get to see if they're responding to the activities, and only then can you suggest spending more time on volunteering initiatives. Make sure they know they can also offer causes themselves, whether closer to their hometown or relate more to the initiative to support.
They don't feel interested in the cause you chose to support
Well, it goes without saying that if you suggest they participate in some action to which they don't feel connected or concerned, they will be less motivated to participate.
Talk to them, find out more about their interests and preoccupations. You might have environmental activists or passionate feminists among your teams, and you don't know about it. You are probably surrounded by local groups and non-profit communities that need help, support, time, materials, or donations, and you might not have found them yet. Take a look at your surroundings and offer diverse choices and options to your employees.
To do? Ask them to list the causes and topics they feel more concerned with and how they would love to get involved.
They don't understand what you expect from them.
Corporate giving and volunteering is a vague concept.
Some might think they will have to get involved many hours and don't want this volunteering project to take up too much of their free time.
Some might think it involves financial donations and don't feel like investing that much. For that, matching gifts is a great idea to understand that their employer supports their initiative.
Others might think they need to rummage through their attic to find the materials that the chosen community needs.
To do? Let them know that volunteering is an individual initiative: they give what they can and are willing to share, whether it is time, money, materials, service, or efforts, wherever they want. Tolerance is key.
They have prejudices towards volunteering.
It depends on the people, of course. But volunteering is often linked to the images of delivering food or cleaning parks, and that's it. There is more to that. And you know it.
It's up to you and your CSR team to let them know more about the richness of volunteering initiatives and how they can get involved. People are different, and some might be less comfortable with socializing activities and prefer to collect materials on their side and bring them back to the office of the local communities directly. In contrast, some others might like to connect with people and witness the needs and the ways they can truly help.
To do? People are different, so make sure to hear what they fear about volunteering and tackle them by discussing them openly.
They don't know what is in it for them.
It is linked to the previous point. As they might have a picture about volunteering and giving activities in their head, they don't understand how they could relate to them. How could they know if they never tried?
It's your chance to challenge them kindly to make a move and try it once. As for the benefit, many studies have already proven that many volunteers have acquired self-confidence, a boost in self-esteem, and a substantial increase in life satisfaction when involved in causes in which we believe. As some activities encourage socialization, it also benefits meeting new people and building a network. Hence, social support can decrease stress and teach or acquire new soft skills like adaptability, communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, etc.
To do? Share thoughts, studies, or testimonials from volunteering groups. The Internet is packed with information related to volunteering benefits and advantages for the individual. Let them know that the time they give is worth gold both for themselves and those they are helping.
They don't feel it matches the corporate mindset of your company.
If you choose a cause that goes against what your company does or believes in, they might doubt the sincerity of the project and feel like they're being considered fools. Make sure to stay true to your values, your corporate mindset, your company culture.
As said previously, there exist tons of causes in which you can get involved and for which you can all give time, effort, support. Find the ones that connect with your company values and make more sense, whether because they need what you are producing/offering as a service or because the majority believes in the cause.
To do? Come back to the basics: your company holds values and culture. And your employees know it, so make sure to stay aligned and clear.
Ready to start? What about being able to manage it all for one single platform? Get in touch to know more!