Guest post by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation
As more and more companies recognize the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR), they’re looking for the best avenues to engage their employees in charitable giving. Corporations that want to make the most of their philanthropic efforts need to consider their employees that are already giving to nonprofits.
Since those employees are already donating to organizations, getting them to participate in your matching gift and volunteer programs isn’t too far of a stretch and can help you raise additional support for nonprofits in your community.
While your employees are supporting nonprofits through monetary donations, there are plenty of other ways you can get these donors involved in local organizations.
For instance, volunteering allows donors to be on the front lines, directly helping the people and communities local nonprofits strive to serve.
Employee donors that also participate in volunteer opportunities are much more likely to continue supporting a cause, develop stronger relationships with nonprofits, and advocate for your philanthropic programs to other employees, so it’s a win-win situation!
If you want to turn your company’s donors into dedicated volunteers, we’ll provide four tips to help you get started:
- Promote volunteer grant programs.
- Identify potential employee volunteers in your organization.
- Show current donors that volunteer work is just as important as donations.
- Recommend peer-to-peer fundraising.
1. Promote volunteer grant programs.
If you want current employee donors to explore volunteer opportunities, the obvious way to promote volunteering is through volunteer grant programs. (Need a refresher on volunteer grants? Check out Double the Donation’s comprehensive guide on the topic.)
It’s likely that your company is already promoting matching gifts to your employees. So if you know donors that are putting in the time to submit matching gift requests, it makes sense to let them know about volunteer grants.
Knowing that their time can be matched with a donation might motivate donors to volunteer in addition to their monetary support.
Luckily, marketing volunteer grants isn’t difficult. The same strategies that you use to market matching gifts can be used for volunteer grant programs:
- On your website or employee portal, cover the basics of volunteer grants so employees are more familiar with these programs.
- On your social media accounts, share upcoming volunteer opportunities from nonprofits you partner with and mention volunteer grants.
- In your philanthropic newsletter, remind employees that your corporation rewards grants for volunteer hours.
It’s important to send your employees specific information about your volunteer program, including information about the number of hours they have to volunteer along with any submission deadlines. Additionally, you should provide the contact information of someone in your corporate philanthropy or human resources department that can answer any questions that might arise.
The easier it is for employees to learn about and apply for volunteer grants, the more likely they are to take advantage of these programs.
2. Identify potential volunteers in your company.
If your company uses a philanthropy grants management system, it’s likely that you have a lot of information about employees that are already submitting matchings gifts. For instance, you’ll be able to know:
- Nonprofits they support
- Average gift size
- Giving frequency
- Causes they’re passionate about
You can use this information to help you pinpoint potential employees that would be interested in volunteering.
In fact, nonprofits use a similar process to cull their donor base with the information they’ve gained from their donation software to look for possible volunteers.
Put your employee profiles to use by looking for key indicators that can pinpoint corporate donors who might be interested in volunteering.
For example, donors that have submitted a matching gift request for more than one donation tend to be more philanthropically minded. As a result, they might be more inclined to volunteer if you ask them to.
During your research, use the following indicators to discover which employees might be more motivated to volunteer:
- Past volunteer work. If an employee donor has volunteered in the past, they might be willing to start donating time again if you make a good case.
- Involvement in online and offline fundraising campaigns. An employee that has given to an organization’s crowdfunding campaign or participated in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign might be interested in supporting organizations in other ways.
- Regular contributions to organizations. When an employee contributes regularly to a nonprofit, it shows that they’re invested in that cause. They might be ready to commit to a volunteer opportunity.
Keep in mind that just because an employee fits all of these indicators that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be interested in volunteering. How you ask is just as important, and we’ll talk more about this in the next section.
3. Show current donors that volunteer work is just as important as donations.
Now that you’ve pinpointed potential volunteers, it’s time to connect them with volunteer opportunities.
While there are several ways you can let your employees know about ways they can get involved (e.g., on your philanthropic website, in a newsletter, via email, and getting them access to the VolunteerMatch Network), the most important part is to show employees why volunteering is important.
In Bonfire’s guide to asking for donations, they recommend letting donors know how their donations will impact a nonprofit’s cause, and the same technique can be used when corporations ask employees to volunteer.
Let them know that volunteering their time can help local nonprofits realize their mission by directly helping those that are in need. Plus, supporting nonprofits also helps build a community where your company can thrive.
No matter what causes you support, there are several universal tips you can use to let employees know just how important volunteering is:
- Let employees know where their help is needed. If an employee isn’t volunteering, one of the reasons could be because they don’t know which nonprofits are in need of help. Providing employees with access to the VolunteerMatch Network can show them where their time is needed.
- Provide examples and testimonials from other employees that have volunteered. It’s also important to show employees how rewarding volunteering can be. Send them visuals of your last corporate volunteer project and include testimonials from coworkers that participated to show employees that volunteering is both fun and worthwhile.
When employees see the benefits of volunteering, they’re more likely to respond to your requests and explore the many other ways they can support your mission.
4. Recommend employees start with peer-to-peer fundraising.
Let’s face it: volunteering requires a time commitment, especially for those who want to put their all into helping an organization. You can help ease employees into the idea of giving their time by recommending they participate in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a popular nonprofit fundraising idea that engages supporters. To put it simply, peer-to-peer fundraising is when supporters fundraise on an organization’s behalf.
The nonprofit’s fundraisers will create their own fundraising pages, set a goal, and ask their peers to donate. Since participating in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign requires a lot of time, employees get a chance to see what it’s like to volunteer for a nonprofit.
Additionally, the way a nonprofit handles their campaign and fosters their fundraiser can be a great indication of how their volunteer programs are managed.
The best way to get your employees interested in participating in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns is to lead by example.
Conduct a survey to see which causes your employees are most passionate about and participate in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that aligns with your employees’ passions. That way, your whole company can participate in a peer-to-peer campaign.
In order to participate in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, your company will need to:
- Set a fundraising goal.
- Create peer-to-peer fundraising page.
- Ask for donations from your employees and patrons.
- Encourage employees to set up their own peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Your company can play an integral part in encouraging employees to participate in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Even if you don’t reach your fundraising goal, participating in a peer-to-peer fundraising has a whole host of benefits. Just think about all the employees that might explore volunteer opportunities because of your company’s participation in a campaign.
Using these four tips, your company can motivate corporate donors to become active volunteers. So what are you waiting for? Put these strategies to work to help convert employee donors into volunteers!
Adam Weinger is one of the leading experts on corporate giving programs. He’s the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps organizations raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Have questions for Adam Weinger or Double the Donation? Email Adam or connect with Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.