How to Increase Your Employee Volunteer Rates through Word of Mouth

Editor’s note: In honor of VM Summit 16, which is all about corporate/ nonprofit collaboration, this series of volunteerism-related blog posts will take one topic and explain how it’s relevant to both groups. Today’s topic? Word-of-mouth volunteer recruitment. Check out our other blog, Engaging Volunteers, for the same topic from the perspective of nonprofit volunteer managers.

Word-of-mouth recruitment can increase your employee volunteer participation.For me, there’s nothing quite like the rush of recruiting a new volunteer! Having a conversation, chatting about my experience, and seeing someone take the leap to volunteer… I love it so much that I’ve made my career out of it! Here at VolunteerMatch, I help lead the effort on growing the base of our volunteer, nonprofit, and corporate ‘members.’

For some, however, this is a terrifying idea. That’s why I wanted to share some ways to enhance your word-of-mouth recruitment efforts to increase employee participation in your volunteer program!

Here are 3 reasons (and ways) to enhance your organic word-of-mouth efforts.

Reason #1: Employee Retention

77% of millennials prefer to volunteer in a group, and studies (including the Millennial Impact Report) show that a key indicator of whether a millennial stays in a job for more than three years is connections with others.

What You Can Do: Help all of your employees build relationships by encouraging them to invite others to volunteer with them! Provide easy-to-share content that they can use internally whether it be email copy, chat post, or even a postcard.

Reason #2: Employee Engagement

Looking to get a department or team on board with volunteering? Not only will volunteering help increase employee engagement, but building internal networks will also help increase engagement.

What You Can Do: Seek out employees and managers who have found volunteerism to be a key to their team’s engagement. Empower them to share their experience with decision makers,whether it be through an internal webinar, all staff meeting, or other way that fits in culturally with your company

Reason #3: Scaling Your Program

You work so hard to create a meaningful program, and you want to scale its impact. This could mean having more volunteers, having more volunteer opportunities, or tracking more hours.

Read how Groupon scaled their employee volunteer program.

What You Can Do: Use positive peer pressures to get more employees to volunteer. You know that feeling you get on election day when everyone has their “I Voted” sticker? This type of positive peer pressure can help move your program forward. Imagine having a coveted “I Volunteered” sticker, or consider hosting a ‘wear your volunteer shirt’ day. Also consider incentives to help build scale. For example, ask an employee to recruit five volunteers and provide them additional volunteer time off or a badge for their desk.

Word-of-mouth recruitment can help you build additional layers of benefits on top of the existing benefits of your volunteer program. By engaging employees in unique ways, you can broaden your CSR team. What are you waiting for? Go get started!

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