You want to get your employees more involved in the volunteer opportunities available to them through your nonprofit partners. But you keep running into obstacles: a lack of motivation, time, or participation.
How do you solve these issues and successfully engage both the nonprofit and your employees?
We asked questions like this on Monday, January 20th, the National Day of Service commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Volunteering came to VolunteerMatch when twenty New Sector fellows lent their time to help create a strategy to better engage volunteers, nonprofits, and business leaders in the new year.
But before we answer the question of employee volunteer engagement, what is New Sector?
At the heart of New Sector Alliance’s mission is empowering young leaders while strengthening the social sector. Partnered with Americorps, New Sector’s Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) fellowship program allows 25 talented individuals to hold full-time positions at nonprofits of their interest. The fellows also meet as a group to learn how to professionally apply their unique skills to address social dilemmas. This Service Day event at VolunteerMatch was an example of the diverse activities that the young leaders get to experience for the duration of their fellowships.
Identify Your Needs
The idea to invite twenty New Sector fellows for a Day of Service arose from VolunteerMatch’s need to design a strategy to engage skilled volunteers in 2014. Unlike past Service Days spent going out into the community to serve, we decided to take an innovative approach and bring volunteering to us. By gaining the perspectives of talented young leaders, we spent the holiday refining our strategy in order to better execute our goals in the new year.
Listen to the Nonprofit’s Needs
Maintaining a dialogue with the nonprofit at which your employees will be volunteering is crucial. By understanding what the nonprofit seeks to accomplish, you can align your employees’ skills and unique qualities with appropriate volunteer roles that will benefit both parties. Your employees will be motivated to serve because of their interest in the volunteer work, and the success of the event will reflect highly on your leadership.
While the Service Day event was designed for tackling future goals, it was a great model for the benefits of listening to a nonprofit’s needs. With New Sector seeking a professional environment for its fellows, VolunteerMatch was able to provide a hands-on experience addressing the need to get people to volunteer.
The participating VolunteerMatch staff members were able to facilitate discussion groups relevant to their specific departments: big picture engagement, global expansion, technology, and marketing. The event thus exemplified the rewards of employee volunteering, where the VolunteerMatch team members were provided fresh insight into improving their strategy to engage skilled volunteers.
Fill Those Needs with an Event
With so much to be learned from an event like this, why not try it yourself? Invite a nonprofit to the office and with your employees create a strategy to better engage with that nonprofit. Not only will your employees be exploring skills that can be applied to their actual work, but you will create a stronger and more personable relationship with that nonprofit.
Held a similar successful event with a nonprofit? Have additional ideas to engage employees in volunteering? Please share your thoughts and comments below!