It’s that time of the year when you may be planning a company-wide volunteer service day, week, or month with the hopes of pulling high employee engagement and centering your focus around a cause that matters to your company. Or maybe you’re looking to recenter your year’s goals to more achievable objectives after falling short mid-year. But, where to start?
We want to help you fledge out a new plan with help from our findings from our first quarterly VolunteerMatch Network Report. The report provides insight into the actual volunteer needs of over 120,000 community engagement organizations across every sector and size. It assesses exactly what organizations are looking for, the cause areas that need the most support, the volunteer skills in high demand, and how you can help.
After generating our report, we’ve come away with some takeaways to help you create a new pathway to achieving your program goals.
ℹ️ Takeaway #1: Energize your employees with the option to choose personal projects
According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Culture Trends Report, “professionals say they are proudest to work at companies that promote work-life balance and flexibility (51%), foster a culture where they can be themselves (47%) and have a positive impact on society (46%).” 71% would even take a pay cut working in a company with shared values and a mission they take stock in. That means in order to recruit and retain talent, your company needs to invest in the wellbeing of your employees. And with 46% of professionals wanting to make a positive impact on society with their company, it’s imperative to offer an opportunity for them to do so.
VolunteerMatch’s nonprofit network is in need of more than 4,000,000 volunteers for a variety of opportunities. Over 60,000 opportunities are skills-based, offering employees a platform to share or develop a skill. Moreover, if you’re looking to volunteer with a group—maybe the IT department’s helping out at a nonprofit event as part of a team-building exercise—there are 46,000 group opportunities available in the network. Now, I know what you’re thinking: These numbers are great and all but I’m sure this need is spread out throughout our geographical reach. It’s true that local opportunities are unique to their area, but VolunteerMatch has opportunities in every zip code, so your employees are bound to locate an event or ongoing opportunity that interests them.
ℹ️ Takeaway #2: Craft corporate projects with popular in-demand skills and cause areas in mind
We’ve identified the top skills and causes that nonprofits in our network are consistently in need of. While the causes are centered around helping kids, animals, and seniors—the top cause being community, the focus as a whole seems to be on helping vulnerable populations. The top in-demand skill? People skills, and we don’t think this is a coincidence. Harvard Business Review found that “In a recent ManpowerGroup survey of 2,000 employers, over 50% of organizations listed problem-solving, collaboration, customer service, and communication as the most valued skills”. The top ten in-demand skills reflect the same need for employable attributes as verbal/written communication, relationship building, and customer service all make the report’s list.
Opportunity descriptions featuring in-demand skills include:
- Help managing various stations at walk events
- Help to beautify or restore parks
- Help washing cars
- Help with event planning & management
- Help seniors stay connected
- Help to provide a supportive ear at a crisis line
ℹ️ Takeaway #3: Work along with an organization to set up projects
Organizations are eager to pair up with companies to help them coordinate service days because it means they have a dedicated and skilled group of volunteers coming in, as well as great press material. Take advantage of volunteer managers’ knowledge and contact an organization in your area to see if they’d be interested in partnering with your corporate office. Once you’ve developed this relationship and organized corporate volunteer projects, ask them if they’d agree to be featured as your benefiting organization, so you can share with the public how the nonprofit aligns with your service day mission.
The full VolunteerMatch Network Report is now available for download! We recommend taking note of the in-demand causes and skills that align with your company’s focus to help you think through the impact your service day projects could have on your employees and your community. Achieve your year’s program goals with a focus on meeting current volunteer needs by volunteering for skill-based opportunities. Think about the impact you’d like to achieve first and you’ll be able to trail that back to your project orienting and ultimately hitting year-end goals.
Check out the full Network Report and let us know what you think. What would you like us to report on? Your feedback is valuable!