Cultivating a volunteer culture

Volunteering hasn’t always been a part of a corporate culture, but we’re slowly seeing a change; companies are gathering employees from ground floor to C-Suite to participate in charitable events together. Whether the goal is to engender a feeling of camaraderie, cultivate a spirit of giving, or create social media awareness, stepping outside of your company’s normal group activities will yield many rewards.

There are lots of ways to volunteer; regularly scheduled charitable events in your city will take many forms that you can choose from. Once the event is selected – whether volunteering or donating – let your colleagues know!  It will start a chain reaction of people wanting to take part.  This, in turn, will create a culture of good will and teamwork; long after the event is over and the work done, people will fondly remember working together successfully.

Schedule events and broadcast them

It can be something as small as monthly volunteering at the homeless shelter to serve a meal, or taking part in a larger event that benefits a cause, such as a Diabetes Walk or Ride to End Cancer. The key is to provide an option for staff to either donate their time or resources. People will want to contribute in different ways, and this allows them to do so.

Make sure to take pictures at the event and then send a corporate-wide update afterwards. Employees want to see what their colleagues are doing, and feel like a part of the act – even as sponsors. Let Employees not only know where donations are going, but also show them the effects.  And go a step further; when possible, don’t simply provide a dollar figure of the donation, provide information as to what the donation did.  Did you send a make-a-wish child to Disneyland? A picture of his/her smiling face is worth much more than the monetary value. You feel much more connected to a cause when you actually see the tangible outcome of your contributions.

 Talk about your volunteer culture during interviews

During interviews, you always let candidates know about the position, culture, and management style. But do you talk about the volunteering your company does? What about the fact that every employee has $5 taken off their cheque for every casual Friday,  and that money goes to the charity the company has selected to sponsor that year; do your managers conducting interviews even know about your volunteering and charity works?

If not, you are missing a critical selling point that makes your company great. Many people prefer to work for companies that give to charity. In fact most surveys have found that community engagement has increased employees investment in their companies. It is win-win for all involved.

 The role of social media

Social Media provides an excellent platform for companies to broadcast what charities they support. However, most companies still only use Facebook and LinkedIn pages to notify people of available jobs, when they can do much more than that! Let prospective and current employees know about your charitable efforts.

Twitter hashtags such as #fundraising or #charities have gone viral in the last couple of years as people use various social media platforms to talk about the charitable works they are doing. It is not boastful to talk about your company’s good work – as long as you focus on the volunteering. This is not the time to talk about the great deal you have running that month. Focus on your charitable work in one post, and talk about your sales in a separate one.

Whatever you do, small or large, know that every charitable act is worthwhile. It demonstrates that fact that your company cares about more than just the bottom line and it’s a truly great way to show it.

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