Corporate Volunteering: 5 challenges and how to overcome them
June 22, 2021
Corporate Volunteering, CSR
Corporate volunteering is an excellent tool to increase work productivity. It also helps create a better work environment. We have indeed seen that the past few years. Then what keeps you from implementing yours in the office?
Businesses that implemented volunteering programs benefited from positive impact. When it comes to recruiting and retaining their employees, volunteering programs are a gem. It is even more efficient for teamwork collaboration.
But with new times come new challenges. There has been a shift in volunteering project trends. This was the subject of the Corporate Volunteering around the world’s research. Indeed many organizations pivot from aligning their corporate volunteering projects to their primary business models. Now, many institutions work on projects that help employees. Mostly, they aim at helping them get new skills.
It goes without saying that there are challenges. Social good and corporate volunteering also have their downside. Many HR professionals and community investment managers try to overcome these challenges. “How to measure the impact?” is probably the most common question they ask themselves everyday.
For this and for the other concerns, though, we’ve thought about everything. Dive into our best tips to overcome your biggest corporate volunteering challenges.
#1 – Matching the right volunteer to the perfect project
SocialStarters is an organization that aims at mobilizing corporate workforces to share business skills with social entrepreneurs. Its CEO, Andrea Gamson, thinks that many employees don’t use their volunteering hours. “A topic that often comes up is not feeling like they’ve got the skills to do it,” explains Andrea.
Undoubtedly, keeping track of what skills are needed for which project can help you. Because as a volunteer manager, you need to recruit the right people. Plus, it can also help employees to feel confident. And then they’re more willing to apply for those projects.
Luckily, there are tools to help you get through this challenge. Our volunteering solution provides tools for employees to search for the best-matching projects. In Optimy, front-end users can filter missions by country, city, theme, and skill. Without effort.
Employees can also sort and filter missions. According to various factors – by the newest, oldest, as well as lowest available seats, highest available seats, and by favorite missions and registration deadline – employees can “do their shopping” and get involved in what suits them most.
#2 – Measuring the corporate volunteering benefits to the community
As mentioned before, measuring the real impact of any social good project is a big challenge. You keep wondering: How to ensure the benefits of a project? How can you feel and see the results of the project? Is it even possible or do you start doubting that you did it all for nothing?
The first thing to keep in mind is that there are two different ways of measuring impact. As for everything, quantity and quality are connected. So let’s go with the quantitative impact. To use this metric, just ask yourself various questions. Take a deep breath and reflect on these.
How many employees take part in the project?
How many people are benefiting from the volunteering activity?
What is the volunteering retention for this project?
How many hours should be spent on this mission to ensure the team can reach the main goal?
All done? Good. Let’s move on with the qualitative impact. Here, the question you want to ask yourself is how “good” was the mission. An excellent way to do this is to ask volunteers for feedback via forms. Remember, feedback is a gift. It will enable you to do even better, to improve your process and the efficiency of the project.
You can do the same with communities affected by the project. Same goes for the nonprofit organizations involved in the process.
“I think people sometimes don’t do corporate volunteering projects because they are stressed out, doing several people’s jobs,” evaluates Andrea Gamson. It is true that many employees feel like they already have too much on their plate. They don’t need any extra work in their daily life. Getting internal support is vital for the success of the volunteering activities, though.
Of course, this is a huge obstacle. Who should tackle it? The management team should keep this challenge in mind when creating a corporate volunteering project. Nonetheless, nothing is impossible. There is always a relevant work-around that helps you get through it.
Did you think about promoting volunteering projects during summer? This period is rather ideal as businesses usually slow down? People are less stressed out, they welcomed the occupation, the newness of the project.
Or maybe the time argument is too powerful. Then, especially today, online volunteering is there to offer an alternative. This is a safe and flexible way to impact local communities. A survey done by Personnel Today in the UK showed that 54% of front-line community partners would like to develop remote help. The remote activities are quite diverse. Marketing, website development and management, fundraising, and social media, for instance.
#4- Choosing the right nonprofit partners
Creating healthy and lasting partnerships is a real art. Nonprofit organizations are in contact with the local community. They will also be coordinating your employees on their volunteering activities. Thus, it is crucial to choose wisely your nonprofit partners, don’t you think?
Then, don’t procrastinate on that. You should get the right information from the institution before establishing a partnership.
A great way to get such information is via forms. It is indeed an easy tool to use but be wise! The questions you ask should always benefit you and your needs. Ask about the time and resources that are necessary for the project. Ask for the main goals of the activities, and reports from past projects.
As always, feedback is key. Be concerned about your employees: their input could be valuable. Their feedback will give you tips on the type of organizations and missions that suit you best. If you select wisely, there is no reason why your employees shouldn’t be interested.
#5- Increasing engagement and participation
Increasing engagement is a challenge itself, especially when it comes to management. A simple way to solve this problem is to recognize volunteers. Employees got involved in corporate volunteering projects? Maybe it could be a good idea to reward them. Coupons and gift cards are always welcome.
But it might not be enough at times. You can also give them the opportunity to get involved in the “after” part. Encourage those who are already active in the program to share their stories.
Make them ambassadeurs, give them a voice as they have one!
It is no news that storytelling is a powerful instrument. This simple but efficient tool can connect us to a deeper issue and unite people.
That is why our volunteering product has a ‘Stories’ feature. With it, employees can publish articles about their experiences during their volunteering mission. They can even add images and videos to bring readers closer. The act of sharing experiences will trigger social goodness in other team members.
Putting in practice a corporate volunteering project implies many different challenges.Still, Optimy can help you to remove any walls your organization might have when giving back to society. Effortlessly.