There are many ways to give back — and many benefits to doing so. According to VolunteerMatch Solutions, the positive benefits of corporate volunteerism include improved employee retention, enhanced employee recruitment, skills development, and a greater sense of purpose among employees.
Once you have resolved to share your team’s time and enthusiasm with a worthy cause in your community, it’s time to determine how best to allocate these resources. These seven ideas are popular with companies of all sizes, across all industries. Try them on your team after applying these best practices for employee volunteering success.
1. Run An Auction For A Chosen Charity
An auction — silent or traditional — is a great way to raise funds for a worthy cause and draw attention to your own organization. Work with local businesses to source donated goods or services, then hire an auctioneer or use a confident employee to stand in. If you lack the resources to organize the auction yourself, look for charity auctions nearby and consider donating your own company’s goods and services.
2. Support Youth Sports Teams
Consider coaching youth sports teams, supporting their fundraising activities, or simply donating money to their booster funds.
“Supporting youth sports is a great way for employees to build stronger connections with the communities they live and work in,” says Miami entrepreneur George Otte, “and young players feel validated by higher attendance at their games.”
3. Adopt A Highway Or Park
“Adopt” a stretch of highway or city park and volunteer your team’s time for maintenance and upkeep: litter removal, cosmetic repairs, mowing, landscaping. Getting your entire office together to pick up trash on a weekend morning may not sound glamorous, but it’s a great team-building exercise that makes a difference to the community.
4. Plant Or Tend A Community Garden
This is a smaller-scale alternative to tending an entire city park or mile-long stretch of highway. If you plant vegetables in your garden, consider selling them at a farmstand and donating the proceeds to a worthy cause.
5. Volunteer At A Local Shelter Or Food Bank
Schedule regular blocks of time for your team to volunteer at a local homeless shelter or food bank. You can also help these organizations by running canned food drives around the holidays or at other points throughout the year.
6. Organize A Team For A Charity Race
Encourage your more active employees to form a team for a charity or nonprofit race, such as Race for the Cure or Relay for Life. In smaller organizations, you can open up membership to the entire company. In larger companies, consider raising multiple department-based teams. Regardless, each team member is responsible for reaching a set fundraising threshold and running or walking for part of the event.
If you have the resources, consider increasing your buy-in and organizing a charity run or race on your organization’s own terms. This is a more daunting prospect than simply getting a team together and raising funds, but its positive benefits for workplace morale and organizational visibility are enormous.
“First estimate how much the event will cost to run and then determine your possible return on investment,” says Chelsea Alves, of Classy. “This will help you gain a better understanding of whether or not it will be worth your time, energy, and funds to host a charity run.”
7. Teach Night Or Weekend Classes
Encourage your team to share their knowledge and experience with students in the community. They can volunteer to teach night classes at local community colleges, hold scheduled skills workshops at community centers or union halls, or even demonstrations at business accelerator or incubator events. Classes can run the spectrum from specialized, position-specific subjects to more general ones, like English or Spanish language courses.
How Will You Give Back?
The term “giving back” has many meanings. There is no correct or incorrect way to give back to your community or share your prosperity with the less fortunate. Simply resolving to make your contribution is an important first step. What you do with your time and resources is up to you and your team.
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