Challenge your employer to go above and beyond by suggesting a corporate volunteering day at work. Mixing employee team building with making a positive impact in your community will be an instant success. As they say, many hands make light work!
Several years ago, I helped businesses organize day visits for a local non-profit therapeutic horseback riding organization. The employees would roll up their sleeves, help tend the flower gardens, brush the horses, and share lots of laughs along the way. It was interesting to watch relationships form, fears melt away, and helping hands abound.
By the end of each visit, the volunteers were usually thanking me for letting them come out and help spruce up the farm. They understood how appreciative I was of their assistance and how a day in the fresh air is just what they needed to iron out wrinkles among the staff and get recharged for the rest of the work week.
Setting up a corporate volunteering project doesn’t take much planning and is the perfect way to give back to the community while inspiring your staff to try volunteering.
Where to Volunteer
Pick up the newspaper, and you’ll find several organizations and businesses that would love to host a corporate team of volunteers for an afternoon. Is there a house-build going on in the neighborhood? Is there a playground cleanup project coming up? Or, maybe there’s a 5K fundraiser making headlines? The coordinators of these community outreach events would love to get a phone call. Simply ask how you can help!
You can also reach out directly to any non-profit organization or school. They operate on limited budgets and are happy to have the assistance of volunteer groups to push forward in day-to-day operations, set up for fundraisers, assist at events, and complete projects at their facilities. You can also search websites like Volunteer Match, GiveBackTime, or Global Giving to find the perfect opportunity for your employer.
How to Get Started
After you’ve figured out where your employees might like to spend an afternoon volunteering, reach out to your human resources department to set up the behind-the-scenes plans. The questions to discuss include:
- Will employees be paid during their volunteer hours? Usually, outreach programs are scheduled during a typical work day shift and are considered hours on the clock.
- Does the company insurance cover employees when they are off-site?
- How can we transport everyone to the volunteer site? Should they drive or take public transportation themselves or can we rent a bus?
- How will we handle a meal break? Can we have food catered to the volunteer site, or should we tell everyone to pack a lunch? Does the facility have a place to accommodate a lunch break?
- How will we communicate the day’s needs (packed lunch, site-appropriate clothing, bottled water, special tools) to the staff?
After you’ve made sure the company as a whole is onboard with the program, get in touch with the organization you wish to assist. Ask for the volunteer coordinator or program director to get the ball rolling on a plan that’s both helpful for them and fits into your workday schedule. They can offer a list of volunteer ideas for companies based on successful partnerships in the past.
Finally, be sure to take lots of photos and share your experience in the company newsletter and on social media. Let your business inspire others to reach out and do good for the community too!
We’d love to hear about your volunteer work. Tweet us @TomsOfMaine to show us how you make a difference!
Image source: Angela Tague
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