Tips for Nonprofits
How to Leverage Corporate Volunteering for Your Nonprofit
Ron Yakar
February 22, 2022

As a nonprofit executive, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You need to fundraise, make budget decisions, manage employees, recruit volunteers, and above all, help people in need.

But your busy schedule may be preventing you from leveraging one of the most valuable tools at your disposal: corporate volunteering. A recent Deloitte survey found that 69% of respondents (all of them working Americans) aren’t volunteering as much as they’d like to.

We’re here to help you seize this opportunity. In this article, we’ll explain:

Why do corporate teams volunteer?

  1. To increase their social impact
  2. To increase employee retention
  3. To act on their values

How corporate teams can help your nonprofit grow:

  1. Connect them with your community
  2. Collaborate on larger projects
  3. Address your nonprofit’s needs

To build long-term corporate partnerships, emphasize the following:

  1. Volunteering empowers employees
  2. It increases their loyalty
  3. It boosts their trust
  4. It’s a constructive break from work

Why do corporate teams volunteer?

Corporate volunteering is volunteering performed by employees of a for-profit business during work hours. There are many reasons why business leaders encourage their employees to volunteer. Let’s examine the 3 main reasons below.

Increase social impact

There’s been an explosion of socially conscious businesses in recent years. In the past, most business leaders were focused only on the bottom line: profits. But today, many of them have shifted their focus to the “double bottom line”: profits and social impact.

When businesses seek to increase their social impact, they may choose to focus on human rights, climate action, community infrastructure, or other fields. You may hear them mention terms including corporate social responsibility (CSR); environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals; or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals.

Whether businesses are talking about CSR, ESG, or DEI, one thing’s for sure: volunteering must be a pillar of their impact strategy. That’s where you come in.

Increase employee retention and attract top talent

Corporate employees tend to find volunteering experiences meaningful and memorable. Volunteering is a unique and engaging break from their usual routine.

Human resources departments may use volunteering as a perk to retain current employees and attract new ones. (This is often why they share photos of their volunteering activities on social media.) Along the way, they also boost their employees’ sense of belonging and well-being.

We’ll expand on these concepts in Part 3 of this article, “How to build long-term corporate partnerships.” When you better understand why corporate teams send their employees to volunteer, you’ll have the tools to keep volunteers coming over and over again. And Vee makes managing these volunteers easier than ever.

Act on company values

Any company worth its salt has a set of social values. These values may include terms like equity, transparency, or accountability. The question is whether they act on these values.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t. But those who do, know that volunteering is a crucial part of staying true to their word. When companies make good on their promises, they earn their customers’ and employees’ trust. Your nonprofit holds the key to this trust.

How corporate teams can help your nonprofit grow

Corporate teams are an invaluable resource for your nonprofit. Professionals can volunteer not only their time and energy, but also their hard skills in IT, design, sales and marketing, or other fields.

You can take advantage of these skills in 3 ways:

  1. Connect corporate volunteers with people in need
  2. Collaborate with corporate teams on larger projects
  3. Address your nonprofit’s needs together

Let’s break down each of these scenarios.

Connect them with people in need

Your bread and butter is recruiting volunteers to help people in need. Whether you work at a soup kitchen, animal rescue, or public library, volunteers are always in demand. But corporate volunteers are often busy, and at times, it may be tough to schedule events with them.

We recommend you offer some remote activities for professionals with tight schedules. While in-person activities are most effective, a few remote options could go a long way. For example, volunteers could mentor kids in math over video chat, call seniors once each week to hear how they’re doing, or lead virtual resume-editing workshops for formerly incarcerated people.

Collaborate on larger projects

If you’re planning a larger initiative, like a park cleanup or a 5k race for athletes with disabilities, you may need several volunteers at once. These big projects are the perfect opportunity to host an entire corporate team for a few hours, or even a whole day of volunteering.

You can define these opportunities as team events on the Vee dashboard. Team events are coordinated with teams at the date and time that works best for them. When you post an event, you’ll let teams know how many people and how much time you need, and they’ll coordinate with you.

Address your nonprofit’s needs

Let’s face it: nonprofit professionals are stretched thin. You work long hours and your community needs you now more than ever. Corporate volunteers can help relieve some of the stress by helping your nonprofit staff.

If you work at a refugee resettlement organization, for example, corporate volunteers could translate your website into different languages, run online fundraisers, or design digital ads for you. When you address your nonprofit’s underlying needs, your community will benefit.

There are countless corporate professionals who are eager to volunteer their hard skills to help you. With a little creativity, you can leverage these skills to change the world.

How to build long-term corporate partnerships

Building long-term corporate partnerships is no small feat. It’s one thing to coordinate a one-off activity; it’s another thing to keep corporate teams coming on a regular basis.

Building a strong relationship requires more than a meaningful mission. You’ve got to ask, what’s in it for them? Beyond convincing partners that your nonprofit’s work is important, you must convince them that regular volunteering will benefit their daily operations.

To accomplish this, we recommend that you emphasize the following 4 benefits of volunteering when speaking with corporate teams. You can speak about these while coordinating a team event, while your volunteers are on-site, and in the follow-up after an event.

Empowered employees

Volunteering days boost employees’ self-esteem and sense of agency. This carries over into their work, where they more confidently take initiative on projects. When employees take more initiative, everyone at the company benefits. To further boost employees’ independence, team leaders can let their members take turns selecting their own volunteering opportunities through the Vee app.

More loyal employees

When a company gives its employees time off from work to volunteer, the employees feel that the company sees them as a whole person. Through volunteering, employees can bring their best self to the table—not just their professional side. This feeling of recognition will increase employee loyalty and, as a result, employee retention.

Building trust with employees

Many companies say that they value doing good in the world, but most don’t act on this. When companies act upon their stated values of social impact by organizing volunteering days, they build trust with employees. In turn, employees feel more motivated to give their all at work.

Constructive time off of work

Volunteering is a constructive break from work. While volunteering, employees have time to recharge and bond with their team. Teams can even select their own volunteering opportunities, based on shared interests, on the Vee app. And once they’re back on the job, they can tackle their tasks with a fresh pair of eyes.

The bottom line

By emphasizing how volunteering will improve your partners’ bottom line, you can build corporate volunteering partnerships that last years to come.

Take advantage of teams’ hard skills to achieve your impact goals

Corporate teams depend on nonprofits like yours to achieve their social goals—and with Vee, you can take advantage of their hard skills to achieve your goals.

Vee empowers you to recruit qualified volunteers for your cause, track your impact over time, and grow together with other nonprofits around the world.

Vee is 100% free for nonprofits. Let’s change the world together—sign up today.

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