Great Examples of Social Media and Employee Volunteering

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

Examples of social media and employee volunteeringIt’s unfortunately pretty hard to find examples of companies using social media as part of their employee volunteer programs, and even harder to find any that empower their employees to do so.

I managed to unearth a few for you that provide a look at how you can take advantage of this powerful tool and the difference it could make for your EVP.

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

Discovery Communications

The team at Discovery realized earlier than most that people are going to tweet about them, anyway. So they figured they might as well join in. They formed a team that deals with inappropriate employee tweets, but other than that, they’re able to just have fun with it.

For their first annual global pro bono event, Discovery Impact: Creating Change, they sent out a “tweet” guide including what hash-tag to use to talk about the event and encouragements to employees in all countries to post pictures. Erin Dieterich of Discovery talks about how it was inspiring to follow the thread of tweets and see fellow employees across the globe volunteering in the same T-Shirts.

Erin says that the key is to let employees know what kind of things you want them to post (and what is NOT good to talk about – especially for publicly traded companies). For example, spell out that they shouldn’t talk about restructuring or fear of losing a job, even if they think they’ve disguised themselves well online.


What strikes me about Sodexo’s use of social media is that while they’ve done a great job positioning links to all of their social media accounts on every site from their homepage down, it’s their use of online video that really shines. Check out their YouTube channel and you’ll not only see promotional messages and PSA’s regarding their annual Servathon, but dozens of Employee Stories. What better way to give your employees a voice about your employee volunteer program than to record them speaking?

Even better, this channel is managed by the company, so the issue of “control” is deferred while the employees still feel like they’re participating in Sodexo’s social media efforts.


Sometimes, engaging employee volunteers via social media is as simple as opening one Twitter account. While it’s hardly the only way GM uses social media, the @FacesofGM Twitter handle provides a unique opportunity for members of the public and GM employees to see behind the brands and learn about the people working at GM – and the good work they’re doing.

Follow the Faces of GM Twitter account, which often links to the Faces of GM blog, and you’ll learn how various departments in the company helped out in Joplin after the devastation. You’ll read about how Chevrolet was able to support one of the largest tributes to our military men and women in uniform before the Indy 500. You’ll meet a member of the GM Social Media team who uses some of her vacation each year to help a group of medical personnel from Michigan hospitals provide services to villages in Guatemala.

With just this blog and Twitter account, a picture emerges of GM employees as engaged, community-oriented, and globally conscious. And who doesn’t want to tell that story?

Do you know of some great ways companies are using social media as part of their employee volunteer programs? Share them in the comments or in the LinkedIn group described below!

(Click here to read more articles in the “Social Media & Employee Volunteering” series.)

Your New Hub for Social Media Questions

Has this series created more questions for you? Do you have a specific question you want help with? Do you have a story or best practice to share?

Contribute to the new “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion in our LinkedIn Group. Here are the steps to take to join in:

  1. Go to the VolunteerMatch Linkedin Group.
  2. Join if you’re not already a member.
  3. Once a member, click “More” in the navigation menu under our logo, and choose “Subgroups.”
  4. Join “VolunteerMatch Solutions.”
  5. Navigate to the discussion “Social Media and Employee Volunteering,” browse what’s been asked and answered, and contribute your own thoughts.

See you there!

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