How to Get Employees Engaged in Volunteer Work

by Maya Black

Would you like to raise your company's profile? Send your employees into the community to volunteer. While you shouldn't expect to receive anything in return for your company's efforts, the more hours your employees offer the community, the more community members will know about the goods and services you offer. To engage your staff in volunteering makes it possible for them to benefit from the experience.

Choice of Opportunities

Offer your employees a range of community service opportunities in which to participate. Partner with various nonprofit organizations in your community, such as those that provide education, health care and social services. This allows employees to volunteer with organizations closely aligned with their personal interests. For example, some employees might prefer the physically labor-intensive tasks required by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity compared to coordinating a March of Dimes community activity. You can allow employees to select the organizations where they prefer to volunteer.


Hold awards ceremonies to celebrate your workplace's community service efforts. Ceremonies can be as casual as relaxing picnics or formal evening affairs. Give plaques and certificates to employees who volunteer the most, but avoid limiting accolades; every employee who volunteers should get a certificate. Consider providing corporate perks, such as increments of time off for every hour of volunteerism. Give away low-cost items such as T-Shirts, tote bags or mugs as prizes; however avoid offering cash or expensive gifts since these type of incentives contradict the spirit of volunteering.


Form teams of volunteers. Some employees, who might not wish to engage nonprofit associations on their own, may be more willing to donate time if participating alongside their coworkers. Require teams to have leaders and rotate the leadership position. This strategy allows nonmanagement staff members to experience leadership, which may boost morale significantly.


Determine how you plan to engage employees in community service before launching a volunteer program. Form committees that include all levels of staff and community members to get everyone engaged in your business's social responsibility goals from day one. You might find it helpful to hire a consultant who specializes in employee volunteer programs to help you get such a program up and running successfully.

About the Author

Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.

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