Q&A: How Can My Company Set up A Volunteer Program?

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Americans volunteered over 8 billion hours in 2010. Encouraging employees to volunteer in the community is a win-win for any business. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose to volunteer for a cause that resonates with your employees or tenants. This might mean a cause related to your area of business or something involved with the local community. While Great Forest has fielded volunteers for programs related to food and poverty, many of our efforts also focus on sustainability and the environment, from cleaning up local rivers to raising money to fight pollution.
  • Select one or several organization to work with, and contact them to learn what kind of help they need. Do they have an upcoming event or project that needs some additional hands? Do they already have a volunteer coordinator who is familiar with the ins and outs of coordinating large groups?
  • Develop the resources needed for the volunteer program. This could include financial, logistical and administrative support for coordinating and raising awareness about the program to make sure it succeeds.
  • Consider offering an additional incentive. For instance, the nonprofit Double the Donation supports businesses that wish to match employees’ volunteer efforts through grant incentives.
  • Share the satisfaction of volunteer work. Ensure someone is documenting the volunteer efforts on the ground with photos, and recognize volunteers through company newsletters, press releases, or other avenues.
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